Energy equivalence building standards (star ratings)

Update on the Queensland Development Code for energy efficiency of residential buildings

The National Construction Code 2019 (NCC 2019) contains changes for energy efficient buildings, including the introduction of separate heating and cooling load limits for new residential buildings, both houses (class 1) and units (class 2).

In Queensland, energy efficiency requirements for residential buildings are contained in the Queensland Development Code MP 4.1–Sustainable buildings (QDC 4.1) (PDF, 92KB). The QDC 4.1 requirements override the relevant NCC 2019 provisions.

Although the NCC 2019 energy efficiency requirements commenced 1 May 2020, the current QDC 4.1 (PDF, 92KB) (as dated 15 January 2013) continued to apply in Queensland.

QDC 4.1 with the separate heating and cooling load limits, has now been updated and this proposed version is available for viewing (PDF, 475KB). The updated QDC 4.1 is intended to commence on 1 March 2021.

For commercial buildings, the NCC 2019 changes made to Volume One (Section J) were not affected by this delay and have applied in Queensland since 1 May 2020.

The energy equivalence rating of new houses, townhouses and units is determined by the design of the building's shell: its roof, walls, windows and floors.

Dwellings that are designed to be more energy efficient are more comfortable to live in, and can provide ongoing savings to householders by minimising energy use for artificial cooling and heating. Energy equivalence is expressed on a star rating scale, with 10 stars being the highest and most energy efficient.

New houses and townhouses (class 1 buildings) must achieve a minimum 6-star energy equivalence rating.

New multi-unit residential buildings (class 2) must achieve an average 5-star energy equivalence rating for all units in the building, with no individual unit to be rated less than 4-stars.

This guide explains how energy assessments are undertaken, and how to achieve a 6-star and 5-star energy rating standard for new dwellings in Queensland.

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