Energy Efficiency

6 STAR ENERGY RATINGS

House energy ratings

House energy rating through the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) uses computer simulations to assess the potential thermal comfort of Australian homes on a scale of zero to 10 stars. The more stars, the less likely the occupants need cooling or heating to stay comfortable.

What is rated?

A dwelling can be rated before or after it is built. The rating depends on:

  • the layout of the home
  • the construction of its roof, walls, windows and floor
  • the orientation of windows and shading to the sun’s path and local breezes
  • how well these suit the local climate.

What the stars mean

  • Zero stars means the building shell does practically nothing to reduce the discomfort of hot or cold weather.
  • A 5 star rating indicates good, but not outstanding, thermal performance.
  • Occupants of a 10 star home are unlikely to need any artificial cooling or heating.

Typical ratings

Houses built in 1990 averaged about 1 star on the NatHERS scale. Before the introduction of national energy efficiency regulations for houses in 2003, less than one per cent of Australian houses achieved 5 stars.

Many well designed houses are now being built above 6 stars or more, and examples are available on the Your Home website at: www.yourhome.gov.au

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Energy consumption by hot water systems, lights or household appliances is not part of the rating because those fittings are usually replaced several times during the life of the building.

I would like my house to have an energy assessment, but-

  • I don’t want to take time off work for the assessment
  • I do not have time to open up the house
  • The last person did not turn up for the appointment
  • I don’t want someone looking around my bedroom or bathroom
  • How much is this going to cost?
  • Will I see a difference in my bills?
  • Will I be able to feel the difference in comfort?

Ththumbs-upe Solution

Together, lets build your home as a computer simulation to find out how it really performs.

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What information is needed for the assessment?

  • Number of rooms
  • Type/function of rooms eg. bedroom, living room etc.
  • Sizes of rooms
  • Size of windows
  • Window coverings (internal and external) eg. blinds, curtains or drapes
  • Floor coverings
  • House type eg. brick veneer or weatherboard
  • Roof type
  • Number of wall vents, exhaust fans or chimneys
  • Postcode (for climate location)
  • Adjoining properties (eg. tall buildings overshadowing)

What will the report provide?

  • A Star Rating certificate – out of 10 stars as per the HERS program (HERS – House Energy Rating Scheme)
  • Heating and cooling consumption for each room
  • Shows the performance of the building materials of the house
  • Shows the performance of the glazing on each orientation
  • Indicates rooms that will be above comfort level in summer
  • Indicates rooms that will be below comfort level in winter
  • Shows the impacts of air leakage
  • Shows improvements for possible changes eg. installing insulation, sealing air leakage, improved glazing etc.
  • Can approximate the dollar savings from improvements

What do I do now?

Step 1: Email an existing set of house plans.

Step 2: You will receive a checklist via email to complete the information gathering for the energy assessment.

If you do not have an existing set of plans please email for a “whole of house” checklist.

Email: wayne@nullconsulting-plus.com.au

Commercial Energy Efficiency

Consulting Plus has several trading names to cover the diverse activities of this company. The energy efficiency activities operate under the trading name of dwellings Energyman and has been servicing clients since January 2000.

Wayne Gorman provides energy efficiency ratings and documentation for new 5 Star energy ratings for residential dwellings, deemed-to-satisfy (DTS) energy efficiency documentation for residential dwellings contained in the Building Codes of Australia (BCA) Part 3.12.1 and energy efficiency analysis of existing residential dwellings. Wayne Gorman also provides energy efficiency documentation for commercial buildings under the J Section of the BCA that covers Class 5-9 buildings and NABERS ratings for Class 5 buildings.

Wayne Gorman is an accredited NABERS assessor, First Rate 5 assessor and can provide expert opinion on energy efficiency for residential and commercial buildings covering Class 1, Class 2, Class 4 and Class 5-9 under the BCA.

Wayne Gorman is an accredited Cert IV trainer for-

  • Residential Building Thermal Performance (RBTP),
  • First Rate 5 software,
  • AccuRate software,
  • NABERS rating scheme,
  • Master Builders Association Green Living Builders course
  • Home Sustainability Assessors Scheme – HSAS.

Wayne delivers training for –

  • Association of Building Sustainability Assessors – ABSA
  • Australian Institute of Building Surveyors – AIBS
  • Building Designers Association of Tasmania – BDAT
  • Housing Industry Association – HIA
  • Master Builders Association – MBA
  • private companies and specialised in-house training contracts.

Wayne’s best tips for winter

1.Use the sun when you can

If it’s a warm sunny day, open the curtains and let the sun heat your home for free and then close them at dusk so they help insulate your home and keep the warm air in.

2. Put on a Sweater, Jumper, Jersey, Windcheater, Pullover

Gone are the days (for most of us at least) when we can afford to lounge around in our underwear while it’s frosty outside. Roughly speaking, a light long-sleeved sweater is worth about 2 degrees in added warmth, while a heavy sweater (even the ugliest of ugly sweaters) adds about 4 degrees. So cozy up and start saving.

3. Dodge the Draughts

Draughts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. Start simple and adopt that old Great Depression fixture — the draft snake, which you can easily make yourself. Just place a rolled bath towel under a drafty door, or make a more attractive DIY draft snake with googly eyes, felt tongues and the like. You can use any scraps of fabric — even neckties — and fill with sand or kitty litter. Make sure drafts aren’t giving your thermostat a false reading too, and read on for more advanced solutions.

4. Use Caulking and Weather-stripping

Simple leaks can sap home energy efficiency by 5% to 30% a year. That means it pays to seal up gaps with caulking and weather stripping. Take a close look at places where two different building materials meet, such as corners, around chimneys, where pipes or wires exit and along the foundation. Use the incense test: carefully (avoiding drapes and other flammables) move a lit stick along walls; where the smoke wavers, you have air sneaking in. And heating or cooling sneaking out. In another method, have someone on the outside blow a hair dryer around each window while you hold a lighted candle inside. If the candle flickers or goes out, you need to caulk or weather strip around the frame.

5. Lock off fireplace flues.

Traditional fireplaces can be energy losers because they pull heated air out of the house and up the chimney. When not in use, make sure the lid to the flue is closed.

6. Eliminate wasted energy.

Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms and unplug other appliances at the switch when you don’t need them. Turn off kitchen and bath fans once they’ve done their job as they can blow out a houseful of heated air.

7. Use appliances efficiently.

Do only full loads when using your dishwasher and washing machine. Use cold water settings for clothes, clean your dryer’s lint trap regularly and if you have one, use the moisture-sensing automatic dryer setting.
These might seem like insignificant changes, but when used in combination, these energy saving tips can keep more of your hard earned money in your pocket.

8. Insulate Your Pipes

Pay less for hot water by insulating pipes. That can also help decrease the chance of pipes freezing, which can be disastrous. Check to see if your pipes are warm to the touch. If so, they are good candidates for insulation. (Use the same method to determine if your hot water heater would benefit from some insulation.)

You can get pre-slit pipe foam at most hardware stores. Cut it to size and fasten in place with duct tape. Ideally, choose the insulation with the highest R-value practical, which is a measure of its heat-blocking power.

9. Boost Insulation

It may not seem sexy, but insulation is one of the best ways to save energy and money at home. It can make a big difference to add more insulation between walls, and make sure your attic floor and basement ceiling are well covered.

10. Shorten showers.

Reducing shower time by a few minutes can save you money considerably over a month, particularly if the whole family abides by this change. Showers account for a decent portion of your water heating costs so cut down the time your shower takes to reduce your bill.

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