Mandatory energy ratings
From July 2006 the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), which oversees the building of new homes, updated its energy efficiency provisions. These require new buildings to have a minimum five-star energy rating, which means a new building must reach certain standards for environmental performance. The provisions have been accepted by the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.
This mandatory rating will be part of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) from 2006. The ABCB has divided Australia into eight different climate zones, and the level of insulation and other energy requirements will depend on which one your home is built in.
While the ABCB is made up of representatives for all states, some states may decide to use their own provisions. For example, Victoria has its own five-star requirements, and NSW has a system called BASIX (the Building Sustainability Index), an online assessment tool for checking the energy efficiency of new homes.
Houses undergoing major renovations may also be required to follow these regulations — check with your state’s energy department.