The Residential Efficiency Scorecard is a new tool that will allow Victorian households to obtain a star rating for their home that represents its energy costs. It will be impartial, consistent and voluntary.
The Scorecard will be the first purpose-designed home assessment of its kind in Australia. Victoria is leading the way in helping householders reduce their energy costs.
The Scorecard is currently under development and is scheduled for release in the latter half of 2016.
What is the Residential Efficiency Scorecard?
The Residential Efficiency Scorecard (the Scorecard) is an impartial house energy rating tool. The Scorecard will empower households to improve the energy performance of their house and save money on their energy bills. The Victorian Government is currently developing the Scorecard and it is scheduled for release in the latter half of 2016.
The Scorecard has been developed by the Victorian Government and is an extensively researched and tested assessment approach for homes. Once the tool is released, householders will be able to contact private providers and arrange for a Scorecard assessment.
All assessors who want to provide an assessment will need to complete training and accreditation to gain access to the tool. Householders will be able to trust the assessment because all private providers delivering Scorecard assessments will use the government supported tool.
Delivering assessments will be a new opportunity for businesses, and government will not directly deliver assessments. Just like any other professional service, householders choose if they want a home assessment, assessors develop their own business models to market and deliver assessments.
The assessor will collect data on site and provide a rating on the spot. The householder will receive a certificate providing:
→ an overall star rating that represents the average cost of energy for that house;
→ information about the performance of key elements of the house;
→ information about performance of the house in hot conditions; and
→ a range of options about how they could improve the rating of the house.
You have just undertaken a trial of the Residential Efficiency Scorecard - what were the results?
Moreland Energy Foundation has just completed a trial of the Scorecard where forty five homes were assessed. The trial ran from January to March 2016 and was primarily carried out in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.
The trial has been a success and showed that householders were very interested in the information provided. Some householders involved in the trial are already thinking how they can use the information to save on their energy bills.
Expert home assessors from Moreland Energy Foundation found the assessment approach easy to use. The Scorecard assessment uses a tablet computer (such as an iPad), and cloud based web application, allowing accurate and detailed assessments. Assessors could easily enter the information required, generate a certificate on site, and therefore have a conversation about potential home improvements to save on energy costs.
The successful trial means that we are on track to publically release the Scorecard later in 2016.
Further analysis of the pilot results is underway and minor refinements have been documented for action.
→ Homes achieved ratings from between 1 to 8 stars (10 stars indicates a home with no energy costs).
→ The largest cost for most homes was for heating, for about 20% of homes, hot water was the highest cost.
→ Many homes were assessed to be uncomfortable in hot weather.
→ Most householders could save money through improving the efficiency of their heating and sealing up gaps; the certificate provided suggestions on alternative heating systems with lower running costs.
→ Most householders could be more comfortable in summer if they installed external blinds and sealed up gaps and cracks.
→ Assessments found that halogen lighting can be a large cost in many homes. LED globes can now replace halogens and help save on electricity bills.
Why is the Scorecard being developed?
Victoria is leading the way in helping households save on their energy bills. The Scorecard will be the first purpose-designed home assessment of its kind in Australia. The Scorecard will deliver four major benefits:
→ It reduces energy costs to households by providing information on what parts of the house are driving energy bills, and how to improve them.
→ It facilitates better health and comfort in the home by providing clear recommendations on current and improved home features for hot and cold conditions.
→ It increases job opportunities by developing the energy efficiency sector, including house assessment, associated renovations, manufacture and installation of efficient appliances.
→ By supporting energy efficiency it provides a fast low-cost way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Now the trial has been completed, what happens next?
The next step will be inviting input from interested people on key features of the program. The Department will shortly be releasing further information and inviting input.
The Victorian Government will be releasing the Scorecard in 2017, after we have made improvements based on this feedback. Households will then be able to contact an assessor to arrange a home rating.
Interested people are encouraged tosubscribe to the Scorecard mailing list to receive updates about progress and opportunities to input.
How is the Residential Efficiency Scorecard leading the way?
There is currently no accepted way to obtain a star rating that represents the average cost of energy for a particular house. Households will now be able to understand how good their home is, compare between houses using the rating, and receive recommendations on how to reduce energy costs.
In addition, the Scorecard will rate how well a home performs in hot conditions and provide recommendations on improvements. This important new feature will be very useful to improving the comfort of homes in summer.
Homes in Victoria can perform poorly in hot conditions, and the state is seeing more regular and longer hot spells each summer. If the house has no air-conditioner, or it fails, then this can be very uncomfortable or even impact on householders' health. This can be particularly difficult for people who need to spend a lot of time in the home, or for those in poor health.
By better understanding and improving how our houses perform in hot conditions, we can support the comfort and safety of Victorians.
What house features does the Scorecard assess?
The Scorecard assessment identifies and assesses details of the key fixed features of a house such as;
→ Gas and electric fixed appliances including; heaters, air conditioners and hot waters systems,
→ The construction and design of the home, including wall and floor materials, insulation and windows, and;
→ Energy generation features present such as solar photo-voltaic power.
How much will a Residential Efficiency Scorecard rating cost?
The Government will not be setting a price point for this service. Just like any other professional service, assessors will set prices based on their business model and householders will be able to choose the service that fits their needs.
Why must Scorecard ratings be undertaken by a trained provider?
It is complex to properly assess the energy performance of a house; the house features must be accurately identified and recorded. Scorecard assessments will be delivered by accredited assessors, giving consumers confidence that an assessor has passed relevant training.
Relevant training requirements will be set shortly, after consultation.
Why would I have my house assessed?
The Scorecard is a great way for householders to understand how to save money on energy bills through understanding more about the features of their house.
The Scorecard will be particularly useful for planning renovations, and for anyone who wants to keep their energy bill low, or make their house more comfortable in hot and cold conditions.
Houses are complex and it can be hard to understand what features of the house drive energy costs. The Scorecard will clearly show how a house rates on a 10 star scale – the more stars a house achieves the lower the energy bill is likely to be.
The Scorecard will also report on the fixed features of the house that drive the rating and provide suggestions on how these features can be improved.
How can the Residential Efficiency Scorecard rating include my particular circumstances? I am very good at turning off lights.
Choosing how to use appliances is an easy way to save on energy costs. For some households this may not be an option because of their circumstances.
The Scorecard fills in a gap that is not so easy for households. The Scorecard determines the energy efficiency of the shell or fabric of the house including all fixed appliances (such as heaters, air conditioners and hot water systems) and assumes a standard usage. In this way the resulting star rating is independent of household habits and can be used as a method of direct comparison between houses, or before and after renovation.
With this 'standard use' households can be sure that a particular rating is not driven by one particular behaviour. The rating is driven by the features that are fixed in the house and therefore the features they must live with.
Does the Residential Efficiency Scorecard work on flats and apartments too? How about renters?
The Scorecard is designed to calculate the star rating of Victorian homes regardless of whether they are a freestanding house or a unit in a multi-storey block of flats.
As the Scorecard rating can be used to compare homes it can equally be used to compare rental properties. Landlords can share the results with tenants; it is a great way for tenants to understand the benefits of a particular property.
Does the Government guarantee the energy savings or the upgrade recommendations?
The Scorecard is designed to calculate a rating based on a set average behaviour of a household. This is important to make sure ratings can be trusted and compared. The ratings are provided as a 'star rating' as this allows them to be used as a comparison, rather than predicting an energy bill.
Just like the star rating on your fridge, use the star rating for comparison – for example before and after a potential renovation, or to check what house features may be driving a big energy bill!
The house upgrade recommendations are provided as suggestions – deciding on upgrades is a choice for the householder. There can also be other benefits and costs that a householder may want to consider in any purchase decision.
For example if noise is an issue, double glazing may be a priority, but if the windows are new this may not be a sensible option. These decisions are taken by householders who can access a range of quotations, as they would for any similar purchasing decision.