Asking who the ultimate client is for a house (or building) Energy Rating Report is a question we ask all prospective Floyd Energy® employees in our selection process. And, it usually leads to some blank looks and very interesting responses.
Before we continue, you might be asking the relevance of this question for an employee. But, understanding who will benefit from the assessment of a house’s thermal performance is a key question for us to ascertain if prospective employees align with the company’s values and ethics – energy ratings that deliver long-term sustainability, comfort and energy savings for homeowners.
So, who do prospective assessors believe is the ultimate client of a house energy rating report? These can easily be summarised as follows.
1. The person who asks us to undertake the assessment
This may seem a reasonable answer, but we need to look further into their needs and desires. As it could be someone, say a purchasing manager, with no interest other than how much the rating will cost and how can we minimise the specification.
2. It may be the builder who is not looking for alternative specifications or advice on how to improve the thermal comfort level of the design.
Their only desire is to have a 6 star rating so they can tick off that requirement and get on with building in “the same manner as they have done for years”.
3. It may also be a builder or developer who demands we supply a rating in which the specification is in alignment with their stated materials specification and costs.Even though, we know there is a better way to obtain the 6 star rating
4. It may be a builder who receives the rating, then requests we redo the rating, because meeting the advised specification is “too expensive’’ or that their previous assessor did not ask for such a “high” specification.
5. It may be a building designer or architect, who will not allow any design changes or modifications.But, we know the thermal comfort of the occupants will be enhanced if, for example, the North facing windows in the living areas are increased in size, which then allows greater winter solar access and lower energy requirements.
You then receive a negative answer along the lines of, “if the house is too cold the occupants can put additional layers on”. That then allows you to open up further discussions on design changes or options.
Whilst all the above are legitimate conclusions to who is the ultimate client of the energy rating, it is actually the occupier of the home that needs to be the primary focus as they are the ones who have to live with the decisions of the house energy rating report.
Even though increasing energy costs are an increasing concern for Australian’s cost of living, a 6 star energy rated house can pass with a window specification that, at best, is “expedient” and uses generic windows. Whilst, this may meet the developer or builders requirements, it does not address the needs of the occupier to have a comfortable house in which to live without excessive use of heating and cooling devices all year round.
Subsequently the prime requirement of our employees is to consider if they have offered the client the best advice available and offered alternative specifications that will make the design more energy efficient and improve the liveability of the house for current and future generations.
And when we say the client, we mean the ultimate occupier – the homeowner – even if this is via a builder or architect.
So next time a Thermal Performance Assessors completes an energy rating, we encourage them to ask themselves the following questions.
Have I completed the rating to my best ability?
Have I taken into consideration the current and future generations that must live with my decisions?
Then you’ll be aligned with the Floyd Energy® values and ethics, and homeowners will know they are moving into a new home that’s been designed and built with long-term savings, comfort and sustainability.