Rating a new home with regards to its energy efficiency rating has become an official part of the Queensland Development Code 4.1 – Sustainable buildings (QDC).
In a competitive market, we tend to rate everything these days. Whether it be physically or sub-conscientiously, we all offer up our own opinions and judgements of products we buy and the services that we receive.
This article is the first in a series, which we will aim to provide you helpful information and guidance on how you can design your custom built home to meet the energy efficiency rating that is required. In this article, we will kick off with a little background about the rating itself.
What is a home’s energy efficiency rating?
An energy efficiency rating applies to the design of the shell, which is basically the cosmetic structure; flooring, walls, roof, and windows. The rating relates to all newly built class 1 and class 10a buildings, being applicable to homes, townhouses and enclosed garages.
The shell is a major influencer of the interior comfort, and subsequent energy efficiency within these dwellings. A rating is provided out of a possible 10 stars, based on the design of the shell and what is done to maximise the energy efficiency. The rating takes into account many factors including the building’s construction and materials, climate where the home is located, and orientation of the home.
During a certification process, Queensland Custom Homes engage a house energy assessor to use an approved software under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, known as NatHERS, to model the design and punch out a certificate for the star rating. It is essential that the home design meets the requirement to obtain a decision notice to move forward with the home build.
What is the energy efficiency rating required for new homes in Queensland?
The minimum rating required in the sunshine state for new homes and townhouses is 6 stars. This rating is reduced to a required 5 stars for new multi-unit residential buildings.
If during the assessment process the home design doesn’t “stack up” the energy assessor will nominate additional items that the builder will need to include in the building process.
What are some of the design features of a 6-star compliant home?
To meet the 6-star standard, custom home builders and designers use a range of effective styles and resourceful features. Some of these energy savvy ideas can include;
- North facing living areas
- Broader eaves and window awnings to create more shade cover
- Windows and louvers positioned to create a natural ventilation and flow throughout the home
- Glazing on windows, particularly for western-facing windows
- Light-coloured roofing and walls
- The inclusion of ceiling fans in living and bedroom spaces
The initial cost outlay to meet the standard can make your new home build more expensive, however as well as meeting the industry standards, the benefits of a 6-star rated home offer potential ongoing savings for the electricity running costs of heating and cooling the home, and will promote a more pleasant interior environment.
For further detail on how you can meet the industry requirements of a 6-star energy efficiency rating, make sure you check out our blog next week on how insulation in your home can value-add your rating. If you can’t wait that long, get in touch with our team at Queensland Custom Homes for further advice or a general catch up. We’d love to help get your custom home plans and energy rating underway today!