Since 2010, all new homes built in Australia have had to satisfy a minimum 6-star energy efficiency NatHERS rating, however, the Climate Council and the Property Council of Australia are now pushing to make a 7-star energy rating the new minimum. State and territory ministers will meet in July to review the 11-year-old laws that set the minimum energy efficiency standards in new home builds.
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The 2019 National Construction Code (NCC) is now imminent and if it seems like it’s been a while since the last major release, it has been a long but welcome 3 years since the Australian Building Codes Board shifted to triennial updates.
The proposed changes include a complete rewrite to the way the building fabric is assessed under Section J (Energy Efficiency). The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) committee working on this update claim to have “rewritten Section J in its entirety"  which is powerfully showcased through the 30% average increase to the energy efficiency stringency requirements.
So what does this mean to you, as a builder or an architect? How is this going to affect your project and does this mean an increased financial strain on your budget to comply with these new energy efficiency targets? In short it depends what climate zone you are building and to what extent how much renewable energy mix is within your local energy supply. The below table indicates the expected construction cost reduction or increased to comply with the new NCC based on your climate zone refer map below.
Dr Paul Bannister – Reviewer for Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings DTS Modelling Report 2018 by Energy Action