There is a lot of complicated jargon when it comes to attaining a building energy ratings. From your standpoint, you simply want to start the build of your new home or commercial development project, and have been told you need to prove it has a 6 star energy rating.
Floyd Energy® will help you get sign-off on your planned new or existing building with an energy efficiency report for the various legislation across Australia. And we do this with as little jargon as possible.
What is house or building 6 star energy rating compliancy?
Put simply, an energy rating is a set of data that determines your planned building’s thermal performance (heating and cooling). The determining factors for building’s energy performance include building materials, site layout, environmental conditions.
Mandatory energy efficiency standards were introduced into the Building Code of Australia by federal and all state and territory governments of Australia in 2003. The minimum star energy rating for compliancy has changed over the years and currently sits at 6 stars, but we foresee this increasing in the near future and architects, builders and developers should be looking for new ways to increase energy efficiency into their building plans and designs.
Various software systems are used to determine a building’s energy rating. The program used is dependent on where the build will take place in Australia and what type of building is planned.
But, it is also important to note an energy rating is more than simply entering data for a program’s results. It is understanding how to analyse the outputted data to advise on ultimate thermal comfort and energy savings.
Below we detail the various energy rating application processes and tools used across Australia for different building types.
NatHERS (Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme)
NatHERS is used to assess the energy rating of new buildings and single and multi-dwelling residences across Australia. It provides a star rating out of ten for the energy efficiency based on your design and planning.
NatHERS is managed by the Commonwealth Government on behalf of all Australian governments, with a Steering Committee of representatives from the Commonwealth Government and all state and territory governments.
© Copyright 2017 Commonwealth of Australia
Why is NatHERS needed for your build’s energy rating compliancy?
NatHERS star ratings can be used by homeowners, builders, certifiers, councils and local, state and national governments for a number of purposes, including:
- To meet the mandatory energy efficiency requirements for homes and major renovations based on the National Construction Code.
- To advise home owners, architects and builders on the energy efficiency of various house designs.
- To advise prospective home buyers on the thermal performance of a home they are interested in buying.
Section J is used to assess the energy performance of alterations and additions of existing buildings Class 2 – Class 9. It is part of the Building Code of Australia.
Why is Section J report needed for your building’s energy rating compliancy?
The performance requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC) can either be met using the Deemed-to-Satisfy (DtS) process or the verification of performance method.
DtS is typically used for simple commercial buildings and involves assessing how the alterations of the existing building shall satisfy minimum requirements under the NCC with regards to Building Fabric, Glazing, Building Sealing, Air-conditioning and Ventilation Systems, Artificial Lighting & Power, Hot Water Supply and Maintenance/Monitoring.
In more complex commercial buildings or when thermal comfort and energy in-use are paramount to the building occupier, it is recommended that a commercial building is assessed by the JV3 approach. JV3 assesses the energy performance by a verification method using an approved modelling software for rating commercial buildings.
Why is Section JV3 needed for your build’s energy rating compliancy?
JV3 is used as an alternative to a Section J Deemed-to-Satisfy approach and is typically used for more complex building designs or if the building is not compliant by Deemed-to Satisfy approach.
Using this method is often more favourable for achieving enhanced performance requirements or to find cost savings in material specifications without compromising thermal comfort.
A JV3 assessment must be carried out using an approved non-residential energy rating software. At Floyd Energy the preferred software used is Design Builder.
Compliance is demonstrated where the calculated annual energy demand for the design is less than the estimated energy demand for a typical building of the same size and purpose.
BASIX (NSW only)
Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) is the energy rating application process for residential buildings in NSW. It is an online tool that crosschecks variants of your building design against energy sustainability targets. It aims to reduce energy and water usage in homes across NSW.
Why is BASIX needed for your build’s energy rating compliance?
In NSW, BASIX is compulsory for all new homes in addition to a NatHERS assessment and is an environmental tool aimed to assess three components of sustainable building design:
- Water Use
- Greenhouse gas emissions due to energy consumption
- Thermal Comfort
BESS (Victoria only)
Previously known as STEPS & SDS
Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS) is the sustainability (energy) rating tool for new domestic and commercial buildings in Victoria in the planning application process. Management of the tool is overseen by a Governance Board that is a sub-committee of the CASBE (Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment Steering Committee).
Why is BESS needed for your build’s energy rating compliance?
A BESS sustainability rating is may be required if you are designing and/or planning a new building development or alteration located in Victoria, Australia. Many Victorian Councils are making BESS assessments a requirement of the building planning process. Floyd Energy is qualified and experienced to assist in this new area of the planning process.
Unlike NatHERS that focuses solely on energy performance, BESS is a whole sustainability assessment covering:
- Building management
- Indoor Environment Quality
- Stormwater management
- Materials and innovation in buildings
BESS essentially encompasses the basics of Greenstar. The tool must demonstrate an acceptable score level for the planners and a commitment to implement certain sustainable measures within the BESS requirements.