Residential Mandatory Disclosure

Commencing with energy efficiency by May 2011, phase-in mandatory disclosure of residential buildings for energy, greenhouse and water performance at the time of sale or lease will be invoked. This scheme is being instigated by the Commonwealth Government and will unify the many existing State schemes that are now in existence. To put it simply if you are a home owner wishing to sell your house you must first acquire a certificate from a qualified assessor who will visit you in your home and conduct an energy efficiency survey of your home leaving you with a certificate that you can hand to a real estate agent who can then list your property for sale.

The details on your assessment will give all prospective buyers a window into your home allowing them a full picture of what they might be buying and would have a star rating for the energy effectiveness based along the same lines as for new homes. Unlike new homes that will have to be a 6 star rating in the future, an existing home will be given a star rating that is appropriate to the standard that is found by the assessor. From this the buyer will be able to decide on their preference to purchase a home with all the bells and whistles or something that might be less expensive but requires some upgrading work to meet a higher standard.

The assessment will cover the building envelope including roof, walls, doors and windows as well as the energy efficiency of key building services.

Star Ratings

A star rating is given as part of the Energy Efficiency Rating assessment of a building, it provides a simplified indication of how efficient the building is, ranging from 0 to 10 stars (initially the range was to 6 stars) in 0.5 star increments. This is similar to energy labeling of appliances, such as refrigerators. A 0 star rating is very poor and 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. People living in a 10 star home are unlikely to need any artificial cooling or heating.

Higher energy efficiency standards for both residential and commercial buildings got the tick of approval at last year’s Coalition of Australian Governments’ (COAG) meeting but builders and energy groups argue the scheme needs further changes and sustainability experts would like to see it go further.

COAG agreed that from 2011 the energy efficiency rating for houses will increase from 5 to 6 stars. Mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency for commercial buildings will commence in 2010 and for residential buildings by 2011.

Written by Michelle Hislop

and published by Henry Sapiecha 15th Jan 2010

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