The 2022 update to the National Construction Code (NCC) sees a change in the minimum required NatHERS rating from 6 to 7 stars. This new requirement will come into effect in October 2023.
The new requirements will influence the design of your home and its inclusions. Here is some helpful information to guide you through the process.
What is NatHERS?
The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) is the body that determines energy ratings for new dwellings. The calculations in the NatHERS rating tools are based on scientific research by the CSIRO.
Every new home is assessed and given a rating out of 10. The new minimum requirement for new homes is a rating of 7. This means that all new homes will need a higher level of thermal performance. Thermal performance is essentially how well your building uses and stores energy for heating and cooling. Thermal performance is not just a number; the higher the rating the more comfortable and livable your home will be.
As of October 2023, the NatHERS rating will also measure how much energy your home will consume from fixed appliances.
The main elements that impact your star rating are:
- How your home is oriented on your block
- The layout of your home including window sizes and placement
- How well your home optimises shading from the summer sun and local breezes
- The materials used in the construction of your home
- The building method used in the construction of your home
- Appliance and lighting selection
What does this mean for your build?
It will become very important to select a home design that suits the location and orientation of your block. A home with north-facing living areas receives more direct sunlight in winter, capturing radiant heat which warms the home naturally, whilst remaining shaded in summer.
Window sizes, window placement, glazing and wall insulation will provide a base rating. This rating will then be used to determine the cooking, heating and cooling appliances you can install to achieve a minimum 7-star rating. This will work like an energy budget.
It is worth noting that there is an emphasis on becoming less gas reliant for the purpose of energy efficiency. Consequently, gas appliances will chew up a lot of your energy budget so you may wish to consider building a gas-free home.
What if I really want certain appliances and they don’t meet the energy budget?
You can offset or add to your budget by installing other energy-efficient items such as solar PV or upgrading to a more efficient hot water system.
What are the benefits of 7 Star?
With this new government requirement, you will achieve a more efficient and naturally comfortable home with lower running costs for appliances. According to an RMIT study, the amount of energy required to heat and cool your home should reduce by an average of 24% and if you choose to go gas-free it will make the transition to a renewable future easier.
Would you like more information?
You can contact our NCC 2022 specialist via email: [email protected]
Some further reading: