A CRITICAL REVIEW OF HOME ENERGY RATING IN AUSTRALIA
Authors: Williamson, Terry
The design of houses to suite the Australian environment has been a preoccupation from the first day that Europeans
set foot on the shores of Botany Bay. During the mid to late 1970s the issue of energy resource use was added to the
design criteria. Efforts in Australia to encourage energy-efficient housing as a public policy can be traced to this
time and provided an impetus for increased research, development and promotion. Emphasizing energy savings in
the home was an integral part of the first public policy programmes. Since the late 1980s and early 1990s public
policy on energy-efficient housing has been motivated, at least in the rhetoric of Governments, by another concern.
In late 1992 Australia signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Council of Australian
Governments endorsed a National Greenhouse Response Strategy. As one response action of this strategy the
Australian and New Zealand Minerals and Energy Council agreed to the development of a Nationwide House
Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) and to examine the adoption of energy performance standards for new houses.
This paper traces the history of the development of NatHERS and its implementation. The paper deals critically with
the shortcomings of NatHERS. Referring to limited research data, the fundamental objectives to reduce household
energy consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emission are questioned.