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:
- peer review by an expert (read peer review guidelines)
- using a reference building by comparing to a design that is already known to comply.
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.
- Learn more about the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).
- Learn more about energy assessments in Queensland (PDF, 422KB).
- Read the National Construction Code (NCC) 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.
- Learn more about Queensland's climate zones for dwellings and buildings.