If you are building homes then you probably have heard about the National Construction Code (NCC) and NatHERS (Nationwide House Energy Rating System). And you may already know that the minimum energy rating will soon be changing from 6 star to 7 star. Meaning all of your projects will soon have to meet the 7 star energy rating threshold. Understandably, you will be worried about the extra costs associated with the extra star.

So here are our tips for upgrading to a 7 star energy rating while on a budget.

The first thing you should know is that it will be a lot more cost-effective and easy on your budget if 7 star energy rating plans are implemented at the beginning stages of your project. This is because a 7 star rating is much more specific and hence less forgiving if you were to make changes to the design plan at a later stage. 

6 star energy (left) rating vs 7 star energy rating (right). via NatHERs

The most effective way of starting your 7 star journey is orientation. This is a detail that will be hard and expensive to change after your build commences so it is important to seriously consider the optimum orientation. 

Typically you want a house to gain the maximum benefit of free warmth in winter while minimising heat gain in summer. For this to occur you will need to consider the position of your windows. Thus, it is important that you work with a designer that understands the logic of passive housing and they will be able to deliver an energy-efficient house that will definitely help your wallet later on.  

We also suggest adding retractable shadings like awnings or louvers, glazing, and altering your home layout to achieve the 7 star energy rating. If all of your design elements are optimized for a high energy rating from the early stages, it will be more cost-effective and easier to get a 7 star energy rating on your new build.

At Certified Energy, we work with a team of developers, architects, and sustainability consultants who can help you determine whether your home meets the necessary regulations, with a detailed and helpful 7 star energy rating report. If the homes you are designing already meet national energy standards, then our report can give you peace of mind on that matter. If your homes are falling short of some standards, our report can be a valuable tool to help you identify areas for improvement in design and build. Our certified ESD consultants will gladly help with any questions regarding upgrading to 7 stars energy rating.

Jamie Bonnefin

Written by Jamie Bonnefin

Jamie is the Director of Australia's leading ESD consultancy, Certified Energy. Jamie is a Green Star sustainability leader, NABERS assessor and accredited ABSA and BDAV Assessor. With over 15 years of experience in Sustainable Design in the built environment industry, Jamie is passionate about his work.