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What is the NatHERS assessment process?

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Newly built houses must follow the National Construction Code’s (NCC) minimum energy efficiency standards. This measure ensures homes are more environmentally friendly while minimising energy costs, which is a boon for homeowners. 

In line with the NCC requirements, single- and multi-residential buildings must receive at least a 7-star rating (out of a possible 10) from the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS). Before you start building your home, you need to understand the basics of a NatHERS and how your home will be assessed. 

In this article, we provide a quick rundown of what NatHERS assessments are and what you need to look out for when constructing your new house

What is a NatHERS assessment? 

A NatHERS assessment is a way to examine a residential building’s energy efficiency. This government initiative focuses on reducing energy consumption and greenhouse emissions. It also helps improve the energy efficiency of Australian homes. 

The assessment analyses the home’s design, construction materials, and climate where it’s located. Thermal performance based on a home’s heating and cooling needs and the energy performance of household appliances, lighting, and the like will be considered. On-site energy generation and storage will also be taken into account. 

NatHERS assessment ratings 

NatHERS Assessors give homes a score based on a 10-star rating system. The more energy-efficient a home is, the higher it scores on the rating system. Assessors also use assessment software to calculate a home’s thermal performance throughout the year. A NatHERS Whole of Home assessment is also conducted and examines a home's energy usage. 

A home can garner a rating from zero to 10 stars for thermal performance. In the thermal assessment, a home with a zero-star rating has no insulation from outside temperatures. A house with a low NatHERS rating will require more energy to keep it cool in warm temperatures and hot in cold climates. Meanwhile, a house with a perfect 10-star NatHERS rating can maintain a comfortable temperature year-round regardless of the climate. 

The Whole of Home assessment has a rating that ranges from zero to 100. Similar to the thermal star rating, the higher your home scores on the Whole of Home assessment, the more energy-efficient it is. If a home generates more energy than it uses, it can score above 100. 

Importance of NatHERS assessment 

The NatHERS assessment acts as a standard method of measuring the energy efficiency of new residential dwellings in the country. By requiring a certain star rating for new homes, it actively lessens Australia’s carbon footprint, achieves national greenhouse gas reduction targets, and puts less strain on the energy grid. It also helps create more sustainable, eco-friendly structures. 

In addition to environmental benefits, the NatHERS assessment helps homeowners save on their energy bills. For homeowners who meet the NCC minimum energy efficiency requirements, they could save an estimated $183 annually on their power bills. The number of green loan options availabe has increased to help homebuyers meet the NatHERS standards. 

Step-by-step NatHERS assessment process 

For residential properties, the NatHERS assessors shall provide a thermal performance and Whole of Home performance ratings. Using NatHERS-accredited software, assessors will conduct the assessments by collecting pertinent information and entering the information into the software. When the assessment is finalised, the assessor will issue a certificate. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the NatHERS assessment process: 

NatHERS thermal performance assessment 

  • Step 1: The NatHERS Assessor will create a dwelling design documentation. 
  • Step 2: The NatHERS Assessor will review the information about the home’s design, construction, and other relevant information. 
  • Step 3: The NatHERS Assessor will draft a rating to be reviewed by the homeowner or builder. This includes design change suggestions based on the findings of the assessment. 
  • Step 4: If no changes are required or changes have been made to the house design, the thermal assessment is complete, and the NatHERS Assessor will provide a NatHERS Certificate. 
  • Step 5: Building work can begin, and once completed, an occupancy certificate will be issued. 

NatHERS Whole of Home performance assessment 

  • Step 1: The NatHERS Assessor will check the thermal performance rating. 
  • Step 2: The NatHERS Assessor will collect relevant information about your home’s energy usage. 
  • Step 3: The NatHERS Assessor will enter the data collected along with other important details into the assessment software. 
  • Step 4: If your home’s Whole of Home rating is not compliant with local regulations and standards, changes to the home design may have to be done by the homeowner or builder. 
  • Step 5: Once the home’s Whole of Home rating is deemed compliant, the NatHERS Assessor will provide a NatHERS certificate and stamp. 

Do you want to build a high-rated NatHERS home? 

At loans.com.au, you can find low-rate green home loans so you can build a great, energy-efficient home. Learn more about your options by calling 13 10 90 or apply online! Our friendly lending specialists are happy to help you with your home loan needs.

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