NatHERS in building regulations
Building regulations in all States and Territories set minimum standards for
energy efficiency in new houses. There are similar regulations for apartments (except
in the Northern Territory). A house energy rating is one way, but not the only way,
to satisfy parts of these regulations.
More information about state and territory regulations.
Building Code of Australia
The regulations for most jurisdictions are found in the Building Code of Australia (BCA), published by the Australian Building Codes Board. Parts of the regulations deal with the building shell - the roof, walls, windows and floor. Other parts of the regulations cover fittings built into the home - hot water systems and ducts and pipes for cooling and heating systems.
- Building Code of Australia
Except in the Northern Territory, achieving a certain star rating meets most of the requirements for the building shell. The star rating target varies between jurisdictions and is usually lower for apartments than for houses. An alternative to star rating is to construct the dwelling using methods described in the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions of the BCA.
The Australian Building Codes Board Protocol for House Energy Rating Software, Version 2006.1 describes the essential elements of house rating software used under building regulations. The protocol is available at: http://www.abcb.gov.au/.
New MOU recognises NatHERS in the BCA
On 11 November 2011, the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE), as the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) National Administrator, and the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), signed an MOU that sets out how both bodies will work together to ensure NatHERS accredited software is suitable for BCA compliance.
This MOU will result in the recognition of NatHERS accredited software in the 2012 version of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and remove the current reference to the Protocol for House Energy Rating Software, Version 2006.1, reducing confusion for industry and regulators.
The new arrangement will ensure that only software accredited under NatHERS is used for compliance with the energy efficiency provisions for residential buildings in the BCA – thereby maintaining the intended regulatory rigour of the provisions.
In recognition of the importance of this new regulatory arrangement, the MOU also establishes closer ties between the ABCB and the Australian, State and Territory government agencies responsible for NatHERS.
The MOU will remain in force until 30 April 2015 but can be varied at any time with the agreement of both the ABCB and DCCEE.
In New South Wales, the online BASIX system replaces most of the BCA energy efficiency requirements and adds other aspects of sustainable development. BASIX accepts certain NatHERS software results as one way of meeting its separate targets for the heating and cooling performance of the building shell.
- NSW Department of Planning - BASIX