Building Star Ratings

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.

Energy efficient for your new home

If you are planning to build a new home you have the ideal opportunity to make it extremely comfortable and energy efficient, resulting in lower energy costs, and adding value to your investment.

WHL Energy can assist you to carefully consider the best type of building materials, and room & window positioning, which have a big impact on the thermal properties and energy demands of your home.
WHL Energy has always recognised that those fortunate enough to build their own custom home have the ideal opportunity to make a positive long term impact by considering the homes energy efficiency, sustainability and conservation of design.

The owners of WHL Energy designed and had built their own first energy efficient home in 1973 and immediately recognised the benefits it provided.

An energy efficient home makes best use of building orientation, materials, wall & ceiling insulation, efficient heating and cooling, efficient lighting and appliances, all of which can reduce ongoing energy costs up to 40%.

All WHL Energy are custom designed to suit the lifestyle and budget of those who are going to live in the home.

​We can even help you choose a site where it is possible to maximise the use of passive solar design.

What are the basic principles to energy efficient design?

The basic principles of energy efficient design are to achieve the right balance between – maximizing heat gain in winter, minimizing heat gain in summer, and minimising heat loss in winter.
To achieve this result it is necessary to consider:
–  The size of the home necessary to accommodate the number of people who ae going to live in it.
 
–  The orientation of the block to gain the best passive solar advantage,
 
–  The type of building materials to be used,
 
–  The use of mass for thermal storage,
 
–  The best possible insulation to minimise heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer,
 
–  The overall location and size of windows and/or external glass doors,
 
–  The location of windows and/or glass sliding doors on the north side of the home to get ben from the sun in winter,
–  Shading all north facing glass in summer,
 
–  Minimising east and west facing glass, and where necessary ensuring that it is full shaded externally during summer,
 
–  Reducing south facing windows to cut back on excessive heat loss in winter, 
 
–  The use of double glazing or low-e glass for south facing windows,
 
–  Locating opening windows and/or sliding doors to allow cross ventilation to provide cooling effects in summer,
 
–  The efficiency of heating and cooling provisions,
 
–  The efficiency of HWS and other appliances, and
 
–  Efficient lighting provision.