Smart living: Get to understand the House Energy Star Rating


May 18

Updates / May 18

If you are considering building a new home you’ve probably already come across mention of energy rating. Here’s the low down on what it all means so you can get up to speed.

What does the rating measure?

New Australian homes are all evaluated using the National Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS), which rates a home’s energy efficiency using a star scale. The rating scale gives homeowners guidance on how efficient their home will be in heating for winter and cooling for summer. The higher the scale the more efficient the home is meaning less additional energy is required to keep it comfortable across the seasons.

Why is it important?

All new homes and renovations need to achieve a 6 Star rating to comply with the National Construction Code. Incorporated into this rating is the requirement to include either a solar hot water system or a rainwater tank for toilet flushing. A zero-star rating would mean the home design and construction materials on their own do not reduce the discomfort of hot or cold weather. A six star rating, and above, home indicates less reliance on artificial cooling or heating, which is better for your bank account in the long run.

What factors can contribute?

The rating consists of the following elements to consolidate into a whole home rating,

  • the layout/design of the home
  • the construction of the roof, walls, windows and floor
  • the orientation of windows and shading to the sun’s path and local breezes
  • how well these suit the local climate.

So, for example, large expanses of windows are a lovely design feature but also may affect the energy rating of a home, meaning additional upgrades may be required to compensate. It comes down to finding the right rating and design combination to suit your needs and budget.