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Rated and Certified! Your Detailed List of Building Rating Tools
Learn the basics of building rating tools and certificates in Australia and get inspiration from already certified building projects.
Some of them are mandatory ─ you will need them to comply with state regulations. Others are voluntary to help you up your game in the market. But all of them lead to a healthier and more sustainable environment for all of us.
Building rating tools and certificates are designed to assess how well a building performs when it comes to energy and water consumption, waste management, carbon emissions, internal comfort, tenants’ health, and the well-being of entire communities.
The NatHERS rating scheme is designed to assess a home’s potential energy use. The more stars, the more energy-efficient is your home, and the less energy you need to heat and cool the building.
NatHERS uses a 10-star rating system, six stars being the minimum required rating for new houses and apartment buildings across most of Australia. This means that you will need to receive at least six stars energy rating to get a building permit.
The data about the building’s relevant features is run through specially designed software tools to calculate how much energy will be needed to heat and cool the home. Four accredited tools are on the list:
These software tools are referenced in the NCC 2019 and can be used to demonstrate compliance with the energy efficiency requirements for houses and individual units in apartments (Class 1 and Class 2 buildings).
Note that NatHERS rates the energy efficiency of the building envelope; appliances used in the house are not included. However, work is currently underway to include and rate the total building energy use under this scheme.
Take a look at the Hacksaw House that achieved a whopping 10 Star energy rating.
The designers opted for sustainable solutions that are also refreshing, innovative, and creative.
The Hacksaw House, which previously was a small brick veneer property, achieves a NatHERS 10 Star energy rating. McLeod, Victoria.
Transport, energy, indoor environment quality, water, materials, land use, emissions, management, and innovation.
Green Star looks at these nine aspects of the building to verify that a building or a community project is sustainable.
Green Star was founded in 2003 by the Green Building Council of Australia. It’s a voluntary rating system and is used nationwide.
Whether your building is a school or a shopping centre, an office building or a library, a hospital or a hotel, it can achieve a Green Star rating. Moreover, Green Star certifies not only buildings but also entire communities.
A Green Star rating may be used as a Performance Solution to demonstrate that a non-residential building is compliant with the NCC’s energy efficiency requirements outlined in JP1 and JP3.
Six stars are the maximum number your building project can achieve. You should aim for 45 points and above to be certified.
A project’s rating is determined by the awarded points in each category plus any innovation points. Green star certification fees can be found on the page Certification fees.
“When you build an entire Green Star Community the benefits are far-reaching. Curtin University has shown true leadership in ensuring that students, staff, and visitors will live, work and study in a healthy, resilient, and positive environment,” says the GBCA’s CEO Davina Rooney.
Curtin University was awarded a 5 Star Green Star – Communities rating. Perth, Western Australia.
As stated on their official website, 78 percent of Australia’s office space is rated with NABERS.
It’s a six-star rating system that provides scores based on the energy and water efficiency, waste reduction, emissions, and indoor thermal comfort. It then compares the generated score to those of similar buildings.
To issue a star rating, NABERS analyses the actual use of energy and water over the span of 12 months. This means that NABERS can be used only for an existing building to check if it performs as well as it was designed to.
A wide range of buildings can qualify for NABERS certification: apartment and office buildings, office tenancies, shopping and data centers, public hospitals, and hotels.
NABERS is recognised as a verification method in the NCC 2019 to help you meet the updated energy efficiency requirements. If you sell or lease an office space, NABERS ratings are required for spaces of 1000 square metres or more.
In most cases when you offer a commercial office space of 1000 square metres or more for sale or lease you are required to disclose to prospective buyers and tenants how energy efficient your building is to help them make an informed decision.
That’s why office building owners need to apply to get a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate or BEEC. To obtain the certificate, you should provide energy efficiency information to a regulatory program called the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD).
BASIX is a mandatory regulation for design and construction of residential developments (single and multi-dwellings) in NSW since 2004. The goal is to create more cost-efficient and comfortable homes.
In addition, if you’re undertaking renovations to an existing dwelling of $50,000 in cost or more, or installing a pool or spa of more than 40,000 litres, you are required to submit a BASIX certificate.
Use the online BASIX assessment tool to assess the energy and water use and thermal comfort of your residential development.
Software tools such as BERS (Building Energy Rating Scheme), AccuRate, and First Rate are used to score the building design on its potential energy and water use as well as thermal comfort performance.
Watch the latest webinar to learn further details about the process and requirements for getting certified by BASIX.
Here is an important note: NatHERS energy rating, being thorough and accurate, can be used for the thermal section of the BASIX.
We also have tools on our list that provide scores for specific parts of a building.
Being made up of over 1000 manufacturers and industry suppliers throughout Australia, WERS acts as a credible system for testing glass and window performance claims.
Surely, window and glass rating alone will not provide a complete picture, however, it can make a big difference if sustainability and energy efficiency are what you pursue in your project.
Rated windows in WERS earn from 0 to 10 stars for both cooling and heating, depending on how they rank against the alternatives. Used nationwide, WERS ranks windows for their energy performance in a typical house.
WERS rates the performance of a single window, not the performance of the total number of windows used in a design. On the other hand, the rating information can be used in energy rating tools, such as NatHERS, to estimate the actual impact on performance for any house.
Let’s take a tour to Western Australia and visit the Wandi Shed House – “a fully self-contained two-bedroom home” in the south of Perth. The windows and doors are certified by WERS for energy efficiency and protection against bushfire.
While most of the tools look into the environmental and social aspects of a building, there are tools that rate buildings for health safety, too.
Sustainable means you don’t do any net harm to the environment, while restorative takes it to the next level and addresses the damage that was done in the past.
Let’s wrap up!
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