Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 August 2018) . . Page.. 2577 ..
We know that people renting their homes have just as much interest in energy efficiency information as people buying their homes. We previously undertook regulatory impact analysis on expanding the scheme to require all rental properties to disclose the current rating. It identified that the current rating provides limited useful information for tenants. It recommended that the scheme was not expanded in its current form.
The review is looking at options for applying the scheme to all rental properties in the territory and the type of information of most relevance to tenants. The review is also looking at compliance with disclosure requirements. When the current scheme was established there were not the same levels of community expectation or priority placed on these objectives. The current review is considering these.
The interaction with building standards can also be confusing. When the scheme first started there were no national building energy standards. The same rating tool was used for compliance with standards for new homes and for assessing existing homes for disclosure. Energy ratings for new homes were mandatory. The older standards and the energy ratings for sale and lease were all communicated under the banner of the ACT house energy rating scheme, or ACTHERS. ACTHERS was also the name of the first rating tool used in the ACT.
Since 2003 new building standards have been set under the national building code. While the current standard for houses is often referred to as “six star”, building standards have not mandated an energy rating for a long time. The code sets an overall standard and allows multiple methods of showing compliance. The energy rating pathway is only one way. Having a six-star-rated house also does not mean you comply with the code’s energy efficiency standards. The code also includes separate efficiency standards for air conditioners, lighting, water heaters and other equipment, and these are not included in the rating.
Since 2009 the building code has used different energy rating software. There are three nationally accredited software tools, not a single tool. The tools are configured for accessing new homes and they require a lot of detailed information to produce the rating. They include assumptions that do not apply to older homes. This means they are not necessarily suitable for assessing and comparing existing homes. There may be other changes in the future to these tools that make them different to what we want for existing homes. For example, one type of rating may include lighting energy use while the other does not. Some standards may not align with the rating system, and there may be good reasons for this.
Although we are looking at the interactions between the two systems, we have to remember the ACT’s rating disclosure system is unique. National tools for building standards will not necessarily be developed with this in mind. The review is considering how information from an assessment of a new building can be more easily used for future assessments of the building and communicating any differences between rating methods and systems. The review is not looking at the effectiveness of building energy efficiency standards and rating software used in the building code; they are not part of the energy rating scheme in the same way they once were. There