What are energy ratings?
Rating schemes allow us to compare the environmental performance of similar products, whether they be fridges, cars or houses. This allows us to make more informed choices as consumers and provides a means to measure progress in reducing our environmental impacts. Rating tools are used as part of rating schemes designed to establish agreed levels of environmental performance. Australia is part of a growing international movement in the development of environmental rating schemes and tools for buildings. These range from single issue schemes, such as appliance energy ratings, to whole building environmental assessments.
Most people are familiar with the energy and water efficiency star ratings found on many appliances. These help purchasers choose the most efficient products in the marketplace and are examples of rating tools that measure a particular aspect of environmental performance. It is important to note that any rating scheme is a guide only and environmental impact will ultimately come down to how often the item is used.
What do building star energy ratings mean?
Australia has developed a star rating system for houses that measures the thermal performance of the building based on the model used by Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS). The higher the star rating the more thermally efficient the building structure should be and the less energy you will need to use to heat and cool your house. In a world of rapidly rising energy prices it makes sense to try and achieve higher star ratings on new and renovated buildings.
What is the standard in Victoria?
Currently all new houses in Victoria must meet a 5 Star Energy Rating performance level but on May 1 2011 Victoria moves to a minimum 6 Star Energy Rating. This effectively means that all new 6 star houses should require 20% less energy to heat and cool the living environment of the building when compared to a 5 Star Rated house.