Energy efficient community housing saves tenants, developers money

NAtHERS 7-star ratingNAtHERS gives community apartments 7-star rating

A new apartment complex for low-income tenants has achieved a 7-star rating under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).

The building in Liverpool, NSW, features high-performance glass, insulation to floors, ceilings and walls, and shade to windows. In addition, the six-storey complex also has rooftop solar panels installed, along with ceiling fans in every room.

The 31-apartment complex at 255 Hoxton Park Road, Cartwright was financed by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Community housing developer, SGCH, also said the 7-star NatHERS rating would reduce household costs costs for tenants.

“These environmental features help tenants reduce their household running costs and, for SGCH, saves building operation costs,” said CEO Scott Langford.

It’s the non-profit group’s latest project under the $1.1 billion Social and Affordable Housing Fund. Established in 2015, the SAHF aims to increase social housing capacity in NSW by 3,400 new dwellings.

Improving energy efficient design with NatHERS

Sydney community apartment complex receives 7-stars under Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).

NatHERS is a rating system which marks the energy efficiency of a building out of ten stars. The rating depends on:

  • the layout of the home;
  • the construction of its roof, walls, windows and floor;
  • the orientation of windows and shading to the sun’s path and local breezes; and
  • how well these suit the local climate.

Essentially, NatHERS scores the thermal performance of a dwelling. A zero-star rating means the building does little to reduce the discomfort of hot or cold temperatures. A six-star rating is a good, but not great, indicator of thermal performance.

Before the introduction of national energy efficiency regulations for houses in 2003, less than 1 per cent of Australian houses achieved six stars. Now, many well-designed homes are reaching 7-star ratings. And by adding simple and effective upgrades, it’s possible to achieve up to 9 stars on the NatHERS system.

Boosting energy efficiency with solar power

One of these ways is to install a rooftop solar power system. Solar power harnesses free energy from the sun, reducing the need for mains grid electricity and also lowering electricity costs.

These savings can be maximised even further by adding solar battery storage. Home battery systems, like the Tesla Powerwall 2, stores excess energy during the day for use overnight.