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. It only deals with the thermal performance of the building, and does not include energy use from its fixtures and appliances (e.g. air conditioners and fridges).

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

  • software – using one of the software tools accredited under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (BERS Pro, AccuRate, HERO and FirstRate5), a house energy assessor predicts the design's thermal performance. The software 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. A NatHERS Certificate confirms the star rating of the building shell and provides a summary of the dwelling's energy efficiency features. More information on the software assessment method is available in Building and Plumbing Newsflash 548.
  • deemed-to-satisfy (DTS) – using the more prescriptive provisions of the National Construction Code (through the Building Code of Australia—Volume Two).

Other energy assessment options are:

Use of optional credits

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

  • a photovoltaic (PV) solar energy system (for houses and townhouses)
  • an outdoor living area (for houses, townhouses and units).

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

The 6-star housing and 5-star multi-unit residential building requirements are regulated through the Queensland Development Code 4.1—Sustainable buildings.

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