In this issue of the blog I thought I would elaborate on energy efficiency software and how it effects your next house, extension or addition.  As alot of us know, each new house requires software modelling if it does not fit in with the deemed to satisfy provisions of the BCA (Building Code of Australia).

Many designers and Architects are having this service done now without even attempting to comply with the Deemed to Satisfy because it’s normally alot harder to comply and the time it takes you might as well get an Energy Efficiency Rater to do the work.

Currently there are 3 approved NatHERS software ratings tools that accredited assessors use to rate new and existing homes. They are:

Accurate – This is the national government standard, developed by the CSIRO this software has been the benchmark that the other two (first-rate and bers pro) have been modelled off. Accurate in the past has been seen as quite complex in it’s workings, but mastered is by far the best solution in my opinion.
Firstrate – Up to version 5 now this is Second generation software that was developed by Sustainability Victoria, seen as probably the more simple of the 3 packages, it still provides a great rating solution for straight forward houses and extension.
BERS pro – Also Second generations software, Developed by solar logic, this software pacakge is considered the best of both worlds so to speak, it’s still well in development and has the ability to do things that you can’t do with firstrate 5 but is less complicated than accurate.

So what does this all mean.

Well if your energy rater is using one of these programs in Australia then chances are your onto a good thing.  But watch out, not every rating is the same, as the programs require people to input data & manipulate plans/decipher your house plans it can be left up to the rater to make the right decision for you.  With that being said, always use an accredited rater.  Accredited raters have to go through a rigorous program to be accredited and then have to show CPD (continued professional development) each year to keep their accreditation up to date, this can be in the form of learning courses, webinars and seminars so that they have the knowledge and understanding of the programs to give you.. the customer the best possible service.

If you have a rating completed by someone, don’t hesitate to ask them for the calculations, question the results, and understand the report for yourself.  That way you will know that you have been supplied a quality assessment.

The difference between a good quality report and a poor quality report could be up to and even over a star… the difference say between 6.5 star and 7.5 star, your house will perform the same, but you may not allocate heating/cooling correctly for the space and your resale could be affected badly because of the star figure when you go to sell.

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