Energy assessments for new dwellings

An energy assessment predicts how much energy would be required to cool and heat a dwelling to maintain its comfort over a year, based on the thermal performance of its building shell (i.e. roof, walls, windows and floors).

On 1 May 2024, new residential energy efficiency standards commenced in Queensland. The new standards require an assessment of the thermal performance of the building shell and for the first time, account for the energy usage of household appliances and equipment, and energy produced by any on-site renewable energy e.g. solar photovoltaic (PV) system.

It has been more than a decade since the last change to the energy efficiency requirements for homes in the National Construction Code.

The 2 most common energy assessment methods used for residential buildings (houses and units) are:

Regarding a building’s thermal performance, the software assessment generates a star rating between 0 to 10 stars – where a 10-star dwelling would require the least energy use for artificial cooling and heating.

In terms of household energy use, the Whole of Home rating scale ranges from 0 to 100. A score of 100 represents a net zero energy value home, while a rating over 100 is possible where the home is producing more energy than it uses.

A NatHERS Certificate confirms the star rating of the building shell and whether the home meets or beats the annual energy use budget. More information on the software assessment method is available in Building and Plumbing Newsflash 548 (PDF, 422KB).

Other energy assessment options are:

Use of optional credits

In Queensland, a dwelling can use optional credits when it includes:

  • an outdoor living area (for houses, townhouses and units) – this option was expanded on 1 May 2024 to apply state-wide in Queensland.

The optional credits can continue to be used towards achieving compliance for the dwelling's energy rating.

The 7-star housing and multi-unit residential building requirements are regulated through the Queensland Development Code 4.1—Sustainable buildings.

Also consider...