Welcome to the NatHERS year in review!

The last year has been filled with significant milestones and major announcements for NatHERS. Some of which, are the culmination of a number of years of work.

In August, Building Ministers agreed to increase the minimum thermal performance rating from the equivalent of 6 to 7 stars (out of 10) under NatHERS. A new annual energy use budget to account for homes’ major fixed appliances and energy generated onsite has also been introduced in the updated National Construction Code (NCC 2022). These landmark decisions follow three years of consultation with industry, consumer and advocacy groups.

NatHERS has also been expanded and is supporting NCC 2022 with a new Whole of Home rating and updated climate files and starbands. The recent improvements to, and expansion of NatHERS will play a significant role in shaping the low energy homes of the future, ensuring a resilient energy system and lowering energy bills for homeowners.

We look forward to continuing our exciting work to expand and enhance NatHERS in the next year, providing world-leading measurement tools to support the move to net zero emissions by 2050.

Engaging with industry

The NatHERS Administrator is continuing to make sure assessors and other design and building professionals are ready for the transition to NCC 2022.

In November, three NatHERS assessor information sessions were held featuring expert panellists. Around 250 assessors attended the events. You can see the presentation here. Live Q&A sessions from the events are also available via Assessor Accreditation Organisations (AAOs).

To further support the transition, the team has also published a series of new and revised technical documents which have included:

Read on to hear more about our 2022 highlights and what’s in store for 2023.

Regards, The NatHERS Team

In this edition

  • Software updates – what’s available now!
  • Whole of Home training
  • New fact sheets, animations and videos available
  • NatHERS stats 2022
  • Looking ahead – 2023 and beyond!
  • Save the date

Get ready for NCC 2022 with these tools

The NCC 2022 energy efficiency changes are being adopted from 1 October 2023. The changes will require updates to all NatHERS tools and a phased approach has commenced to reaccredit tools.

Assessors don’t need to wait for the NatHERS software tools to be formally accredited to gauge the impact of updates and new inclusions. You can test designs right now and during the NCC transition period while tools become accredited.

AccuRate Home can rate a design with all the new NCC provisions. In addition, endorsed beta versions of HERO, FirstRate5 and BERS Pro illustrate the impacts of new climate files and starbands. When paired with the easy-to-use ABCB calculator or Sustainability Victoria’s FirstRate5 Whole of Home Pilot Tool, which will both help with appliance selection, you can see how well your designs perform against the new provisions.

Regular updates will be provided via the newsletter and this page on the NatHERS website as tools are accredited and available. Sign up for the newsletter here.

New suburb under construction in the Adelaide foothills. Photo: iStock

Whole of Home assessor training coming soon!

Training for assessors will be available from March 2023. Two comprehensive units will cover an overview of Whole of Home assessments and updates to the Technical Note.

Information to help guide assessors on how to complete a Whole of Home assessment for regulatory purposes will be included. The modules will outline the specific information needed for each appliance type and how to find it, and when to use default values. Software specific training will become available as tools are accredited.

We encourage you to read the Frequently Asked Questions and the updated guidance documents available on the NatHERS website.

Keep an eye on our newsletter and website for details on how to register for training.

You can also email admin@nathers.gov.au to register your interest.

This video explains the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS)

New fact sheets and videos available

A number of new NatHERS and Your Home resources have also been published during the year.

Two animated NatHERS videos are available now: an updated Explainer video posted just this week, and a consumer focused video which follows ‘Jan and Sam’ as they learn about home energy ratings.

A series of new fact sheets have also been published including ‘Information for Assessors’ and guidance on ‘Building for 7 Stars’. There is also a feature article on top tips for building for 7 stars on the ABCB website.

A media resource pack and a series of infographics featuring the introduction of Whole of Home ratings, and the benefits of NatHERS are also available.

A series of 8 expert videos published on the new Your Home You Tube channel feature architects introducing key Your Home topics. There is also an introductory video to explain what Your Home is and how it can help you. Plus, two new video case studies: an inner Sydney ‘passive house’ and a 10 star home in Adelaide.

To keep up to date with upcoming videos subscribe to the Your Home channel here.

A series of new fact sheets have been developed.

Stats for 2022

NatHERS remains the most popular pathway to meet the NCC energy efficiency requirements with a long-term average of over 90% of all building approvals.

A fall in home loan approvals (down 6% from January to October 2022) observed by the ABS has been reflected in the figures for 2022.  A total of 186,150 new houses and apartments were assessed using NatHERS between December 2021 and November 2022 a drop of 4% compared to the previous year.

The overall average star rating for new dwellings is 6.3 stars. A total of 93% of certificates were for assessments by accredited assessors. See state-by-state and local breakdowns on the Australian Housing Data portal.

Both the NatHERS and the Your Home websites continue to perform well.

Your Home remains one of the most popular specialist websites for the Department, with more than 736,000 visitors and over 1,700,000 page views this year. There has also been over 450,000 documents, guides, and home designs downloaded from the Your Home site.

The NatHERS website had over 71,000 visitors in the same time frame, with the most traffic around 12,000 visits at the beginning of September when the NCC 2022 was launched.

Photo: iStock

Looking ahead – 2023 and beyond

Introducing the National Energy Performance Strategy

The rising cost of inflation and energy prices has sparked a renewed national conversation about energy reform. We encourage you to have your say on the Government’s draft National Energy Performance Strategy a framework to guide Commonwealth action to assist with energy affordability. The consultation closes on 3 February.

Australian Building Codes Board webinars

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) will be presenting a series of industry webinars in in March 2023 to help improve knowledge and understanding of the NCC 2022. The NatHERS team will be supporting the ABCB with the events focused on the changes to energy efficiency requirements and how to comply with them. Find out more here.

NatHERS in apartments

A review of NatHERS performance for apartments will begin in 2023 to help refine software and improve assessments for the growing number of apartments constructed in Australia. This review will seek to validate or distinguish the assumptions used in relation to the way people live in a stand-alone house, compared to an apartment. This could include how often people are at home, when they turn on their heating or cooling, whether they can, or do open and close windows, and how often they choose to cook. We look forward to these findings improving NatHERS into the future as the number of apartment buildings and occupants continue to grow year on year.

National Disclosure Framework

The Commonwealth, states and territories are working to deliver a National Framework for the Disclosure of Residential Energy Efficiency Information by mid-2023. The Framework will help establish policy and the appropriate market environment to support the roll out of disclosure schemes across Australia. Disclosure will help home owners and renters understand the energy performance of their home, so they can make informed choices about upgrades.

NatHERS will also continue to expand in late 2023 to include voluntary energy assessments of established homes, which will not require house plans or building specifications. The new assessments will help householders better understand their home’s energy performance, while also identifying upgrades to improve comfort, and help reduce energy bills.

Keep across all the latest news in 2023 by subscribing to the NatHERS Star newsletter.

Your Home case study – Woodforde, Adelaide. Photo: Dan Schultz © SUHO

Save the date

  • Training for assessors – to be rolled out from March 2023
  • ABCB-NatHERS webinars – scheduled for March, keep an eye on the ABCB website for updates

About NatHERS

The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) provides reliable energy performance ratings and information to improve the comfort, design and energy efficiency of Australian homes. NatHERS is administered by the Department of Climate Change, Energy the Environment and Water on behalf of the states and territories.