Information for householders

The Victorian Residential Efficiency Scorecard (the Scorecard) is a unique program that provides an energy star rating for your home. In the same way as a fridge or washing machine has a star rating, a Scorecard rating shows how much energy is used throughout your home. This allows you to compare your home’s energy use with similar homes and quickly see how to save money on your bills.

The Scorecard star rating program is the first of its kind in Australia. Assessments and information are tailored specifically for your home and are delivered by government-approved assessors.

The Scorecard also provides an easy-to-understand snapshot of how your home copes with hot and cold weather without cooling or heating.

Homes that achieve a high star rating can expect a lower energy bill than the average home.

A Scorecard assessment can help you by:

  • suggesting upgrades to reduce energy costs in your home
  • providing a hot and cold weather rating and upgrade options to protect your comfort and health in summer and winter
  • discussing ways to use energy more efficiently to reduce energy costs in your home with your assessor.

You can find further details about the Scorecard program and certificate here:

Interested in getting an assessment? Book an assessment or find an assessor.

Before you talk to an assessor, work out all the things you would like to achieve through having a Scorecard assessment considering your short- and long-term budget. Write down all the issues you are experiencing in your home so you are ready to talk with your assessor. Common reasons to have an assessment include when you:

  • have high energy bills or your bill has recently increased
  • have a draughty home or rooms
  • have an uncomfortable home because it is really cold in winter and/or really hot in summer
  • want to reduce your home’s impact on the environment
  • are thinking of selling your home and you want to use its energy efficiency rating in your marketing
  • are thinking of buying a home and want to find out what upgrades would be appropriate
  • are renting a home and want to reduce your energy bills
  • are a landlord wanting to upgrade a property to ensure your tenants are comfortable and want to stay in the house.

Many Scorecard assessors offer other services or products that can help you achieve your goals, such as coordinating your upgrades. Some specialise in complex problems, such as finding solutions for heritage homes. If you have a specific need or just want to find out what other advice is available, ask the assessor before you book your appointment.

The Scorecard program has been developed by government using information and evidence gathered from years of research. The Scorecard certificate gives an accurate, objective assessment of each home’s efficiency, regardless of who is living in it. You can have confidence in a Scorecard assessment.

Unless you have a nine- or ten-star house, it is likely the Scorecard will present several upgrade options for you to consider. This is where the discussion with your assessor comes in. Your assessor is skilled and trained to help guide your decisions based on your goals, priorities and budget.

There will be things that you can do straight away and things you can leave for later. It’s also about understanding which upgrade is going to have the biggest impact for you and how it fits in with your short- and long-term budget.

The Scorecard looks at your home’s fixed features rather than how you use the house. These features have the biggest impact on energy bills and comfort over time. This allows you to target home improvements that are a major driver of your energy costs. This also means you can use the assessment for comparison between houses or to design a renovation.

Assessors can also give you help on how to use the house better to reduce your costs and increase comfort. The assessment highlights where the issues are in your home, and there may be some things you can do that cost very little but make a real difference.

You might like to plan upgrades over several years so you can balance your budget or see the effect of each upgrade on your bills or comfort.

Here are some ways you could pay for upgrades:

Clean Energy Loans

Some banks and financial institutions offer lower interest rate loans for home energy upgrades or higher energy rating homes. You may also be able to pause loan repayments while you install upgrades. Ask your bank or search online for these types of products.

Read more about these types of loans: 

No Interest Loan Schemes (NILS)

No Interest Loans (NILS) provide householders on low incomes with access to safe, fair and affordable credit. This type of loan has no interest and no fees.

Loans may be available for essential goods such as household appliances or insulation for up to $1,500. Repayments are set at an affordable amount over 12 to 18 months and can be made from the savings in your energy costs.

For further information visit the NILS website: https://nils.com.au/

StepUP Loans

StepUP Loans provide householders on low incomes with access to safe, fair and affordable credit. This type of loan has low interest rates and no fees.

Loans may be available for essential goods such as household appliances or insulation for up to $3,000. Repayments are set at an affordable amount over one, two or three years and can be made from the savings in your energy costs.

For further information visit the StepUP website: https://stepuploan.org.au/

Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF)

EUF is an emerging loan product that involves a household, a lender and the council. Repayments are made through quarterly rates instalments to the council, then the council pays the lender on the householder’s behalf.

You do not need to pay upfront for the upgrade. The loan is repaid over several years to keep the repayment amount manageable. The loan is attached to the property rather than to you, so if you sell the house it transfers to the new owners or an adjustment is made during settlement, so the loan doesn’t come with you.

Currently this is only available to households in Victoria and the legislation that enables these loans is new, so talk to your council to see if they are offering them.

If you feel confident to implement your upgrade plan and choose your preferred products, you are completely free to do that. If you would like some assistance to decide on the best products or suppliers, your Scorecard assessor may be able to assist. Some assessors also sell products and services. If they do, they are required to let you know before starting your assessment and you are under no obligation to purchase these goods or service from them or any other supplier.

If you would like to understand how each upgrade impacts your energy use, you can use an electricity monitor. In areas that have smart electricity meters, some electricity retailers offer an online platform that will allow you to monitor your usage. The disadvantage with this type of monitoring is that you can usually only see past usage, not in real time. The advantage with this type of monitoring is that it is free and you can access it online at any time.

Real time in-home monitors usually need to be installed in the meter box by an electrician, but they can give you real time information either for your whole home or by circuit. These units are quite expensive to install but give you very powerful information. You can find a range of in-home electricity monitors by searching online.

You can also use your bills to get an idea of the impact of upgrades. Gas monitoring equipment is expensive and difficult to install. If you don’t have any monitoring for your electricity, you can compare your bills from one year to the next, noting the dates that you installed your upgrades.

There are usually some fluctuations in bills from year to year due to changes in the weather, but you can see overall patterns emerge pretty quickly.

If you have a smart electricity meter, you may also able to access what is called an “Interval Data Report” from your retailer. This report gives you your electricity consumption in intervals of 30 minutes and is obtained from your smart meter. Your retailer will have a way you can request this report and it usually comes to you as a Microsoft Excel or .csv file. Unless you are familiar with the terminology and layout, you may need your assessor’s assistance to work out what it all means. You can usually access 12-24 months data at a time which will allow you to compare year-on-year information.

Page last updated: 13/10/20