As we all push toward a more sustainable planet with regards to the energy sources we use, we can achieve more for our homes by creating efficiencies in terms of our energy usage. The main global agenda is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and those that want to learn how best to improve their home to achieve this can start with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
An EPC gives the energy efficiency rating for the property, which can be identified at a glance. The purpose of this rating tool is to ensure that homeowners can identify where they can make improvements in different areas of their home, which can lead to savings on energy bills. Creating a much better insulated and heat retaining home will ensure that the comfort level experienced throughout the year is improved.
The ideal scenario for all homeowners is that they can get the best of results from their energy supply with the minimum amount of usage. While renewables are becoming increasingly popular throughout the world, there is still quite some way to go until the dependency on fossil fuels has been reduced to a level that has minimal impact on the environment.
Climate change is one of the major threats facing the human race and so while it may seem that politicians and key stakeholders in the global energy market have the power to make the necessary moves to limit it, an Energy Performance Certificate is the first step that we can all take toward making a very real difference in our private homes.
The National House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) is a good choice for new home occupants who want to take appropriate measures on moving in to create the most comfortable and energy efficient property and is run by the Department of the Environment and Energy.
Its 6-Star Rating energy efficiency assessment indicates the amount of energy that is required in order to cool and heat the property to a standard that is comfortable throughout the calendar year. Any home that achieves a high rating can expect to have to use less energy, whereas those with a low star rating have work to do in order to increase the efficiency of their building.
The rating is derived by Accredited Energy Assessors in Victoria through the use of software that was built specifically for this purpose and the final star rating provided is determined after key areas including the following have been assessed:
- The climate of the surrounding area
- What type of building materials were used in the floor, walls and roof
- Where windows are placed, their size, whether they are double glazed etc
- The ventilation and ceiling fans that are in place
- What kind of lighting is used
- Whether there are any floor coverings
- Insulation, with regards to where it is found and the materials used
- The colour of the walls and surfaces
A 6-star minimum efficiency rating is required in most of Australia and this rating method affords the fastest means of determining energy efficiency compliance. In terms of the information that is provided by this scheme, householders can expect to gain insight into the thermal performance of their property.
Despite the fact that the majority of Australians will refer to the 6-Star rating, the actual scale on which a house is assessed runs from 1 to 10. The term 6-Star generally refers to any home that is relatively economical to run and, therefore, this is the minimum passing grade of sorts required to meet the criteria. As such, an Energy Performance Certificate that attains or exceeds this result can be expected to deliver more comfortable living.
In terms of accredited assessors serving the Victoria area, these include:
- Certified Energy NatHERS
- CES Chapman Environmental Services
- Building Designers Association Victoria (BDAV)
- Graham Energy