Latest energy efficiency requirements for new homes in the finalised 2022 National Construction Code and getting to know NatHERS.

The National Construction Code 2022 is being released on the 1st of October. New residential dwellings will now be required to achieve the equivalent of ‘7 stars’ in accordance with the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS), up from 5 stars in the current scheme.

New homes will also have included an annual energy use budget applicable to major appliances such as space conditioning, hot water, lighting, pool and spa pumps, and any on-site renewable energy generation.

What is NatHERS?

NatHERS is both an Australian regulatory body and scheme which holds national authority to approve various types of software used to thoroughly and accurately assess dwellings’ thermal performance. Results from testing are then transferred onto a NatHERS certificate (image below) which includes their 10-star rating system. You can see samples of these certificates on the NatHERS website here.

Image source: NatHERS Certificate 2022, Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme

The 10-star rating system indicates how much heating and cooling is needed in order to keep a home comfortable. The more stars a dwelling has been rated, it is deemed to consume less energy and therefore reduced energy expenses required to keep the home comfortable.

Why is this significant?

It is estimated that the average Australian home has a carbon footprint of about 15 tonnes of CO2 per year. The recommended average in order to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius by 2050 is 2 tonnes. Evidently, the actual average is significantly much more than the target needed to be achieved. (Databank: World Development Indicators, The World Bank 2021)

“NCC 2022 will provide many practical solutions to reduce household energy use, especially during peak demand periods[…]coupled with the benefits of on-site renewables, these new homes will also support the transformation and reliability of the energy grid”

– Glenys Beauchamp PSM, Chair of the Australian Building Codes Board

Binding reforms like this in our construction industry are integral in order to achieve a sustainable future, which demands the reduction of emissions.

These reforms will also set a precedent for smarter and higher quality home design in Australia and synonymously, lowered costs and improved living conditions for occupants of these new homes.

You can read more about this on the Australian Building Codes Board website here.