6-star energy standard for houses and townhouses
Until 1 May 2024 when the new energy standards apply, new houses and townhouses (class 1 buildings and their enclosed attached garage (class 10a)) must achieve a minimum 6-star energy equivalence rating. This rating is determined by the design of the building's shell: its roof, walls, windows and floors.
A house that is designed as 6-star (or better) is more energy efficient and comfortable to live in, and can provide ongoing savings to householders by minimising energy use for artificial cooling and heating.
How to achieve the 6–star energy rating
There are many design features that can contribute to the minimum standard for houses, including:
- northern orientation of living rooms
- minimising the area of east and west facing walls and windows
- natural ventilation through windows and doorways
- shading with wider eaves and awnings
- insulation in roof space and walls
- high-performance glazing
- light-coloured roofs and walls
- ventilating the roof space via roof and eave vents
- ceiling fans in living areas and bedrooms
- well-designed outdoor living areas.
The design must account for the climate of the area where the house is located. Find design tips for a specific climate zone.
Optional credits for outdoor living areas and photovoltaic systems
Optional credits for outdoor living areas and/or photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems can be used towards meeting the 6–star minimum standard for houses and townhouses.
For an outdoor living area, it must meet minimum design specifications:
- ½-star credit for a fully-covered outdoor living area that is connected to an indoor living area (such as a lounge, kitchen or family room) where it has:
- at least 12m2 in floor area
- a minimum dimension of 2.5m in all directions
- an impervious roof with an insulation R-value of at least R-1.5
- 2 or more sides open or capable of being readily opened.
- 1-star credit when an outdoor living area:
- meets the above requirements
- is fitted with at least 1 ceiling fan that has a speed controller and a blade rotation diameter of at least 900mm.
For a solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system, it must have a minimum of 1 kilowatt capacity to gain the 1-star credit. However, the optional credit for installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system will cease on 30 April 2024 as solar PV systems are included in the Whole of Home assessment.
The design must achieve a minimum baseline rating for the building shell when using the optional credits:
- a minimum 4½-stars in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate climate zones
- a minimum 5-stars in the hot arid climate zone.
Flexible design options can be used to achieve a 6-star house. For example:
- 6-star building shell rating only
- 5-star building shell plus 1-star credit for the inclusion of an outdoor living area
- 4½-star building shell plus 1-star credit for the inclusion of a photovoltaic (solar) energy system, plus a ½-star credit for an outdoor living area.
Marketing houses higher than 6 stars
Optional credits are provided for regulatory purposes only to assist in complying with Queensland's 6-star standard for houses. They do not extend the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) star range beyond 10 stars.
A house cannot be promoted as having more than 6–stars if those additional stars rely on optional credits. For example, if a house achieves a 6-star building shell rating (as per its NatHERS Certificate), the inclusion of an outdoor living area with fan and a photovoltaic (solar) energy system does not increase its rating to 8 stars.
The 6-star standard for houses is regulated through the Queensland Development Code 4.1—Sustainable buildings.
- Read the 6-star energy equivalence rating for houses and townhouses fact sheet (PDF, 328KB).
- Learn more about the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).
- Read the National Construction Code for the construction of buildings.
- Read the Handbook for Energy Efficiency (NCC 2019, Volume Two).
- Read about passive design on the Australian Government's Your Home website.