THE Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme aims to give an energy efficiency star rating for all residential dwellings in Australia.
This means that a six-star building (the current requirement) is within comfortable living standards 60% of the time without any mechanical means for heating or cooling.
Of course, to achieve this rating will be harder in some areas with climate extremes, so the modelling for NatHERS contains weather data for 69 climate zones throughout Australia.
The Sunshine Coast happens to lie in a temperature zone, which is about as comfortable as it can be anywhere. This means that if the design is right then we don’t need to overly heat or cool our homes and the construction and materials can be simplified and cost effective.
This is called passive environmental design and it doesn’t necessarily have any extra building costs.
It is not that difficult to get to seven, eight, or even nine stars with good design, but it is even easier to stuff it up with bad design.
Sloppy design simply won’t perform as well and you will be uncomfortable more of the time.
Different programs are used to implement this system, such as AccuRate in NSW or the BERS (building energy rating system) used in Queensland.
More recently the energy rating system has also been applied to townhouses and units, and the energy requirements for commercial premises are far more complex.
With good design we have buildings that are more pleasant to be in and are more efficient so we pay lower power bills, which is all good.