Why Do I Need Thermal Performance Assessors

Why should I contract the services of a Thermal Performance Assessor (TPA)?

Thermal Performance Assessors have a pivotal role in a successful NatHERS evaluation in Australia. NatHERS, or the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, was developed in 1993 as a way to standardize buildings and structures to be energy efficient. It is, likewise, a collective way to reduce energy usage in a massive scale, lower a structure’s operational cost, and most of all, create a sense of social responsibility among developers.

In a bid to promote responsible design and construction, the Five Star Design Rating (FDSR) scheme was introduced in the 1980s. It is an award given by the Glass, Mass, and Insulation Council of Australia together with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIDRO) Division of Building Research as a way to give recognition to responsible builders. Moreover, in order to campaign for energy efficient buildings, the Australian Building Codes Board introduced energy efficiency into the Building Code of Australia (BCA). The House Energy Rating was then initiated to measure a building’s thermal performance. It was then adopted by all Australian states – and a standard 5 star rating that increased to 6 stars was introduced.

Why is NatHERS important and what do the star ratings mean? A NatHERS assessment provides an overview of how energy efficient your structure is. Standing for Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, NatHERS serves as a ‘measuring tape’ characterized by one to ten star ratings to measure a structure’s potential energy usage. It is managed by the Department of the Environment and Energy. Assessments are done by professionals using a NatHERS accredited software. The software will simulate the heating and cooling requirements of the building given the size, location, number of rooms, number of occupants, dwelling orientation as well as the construction type, building materials, number of openings, and specification of openings. A high star rating means that the structure is thermally comfortable and requires little to no heating or cooling. The assessment excludes use of appliances as it is covered by the Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS).

The legislated star rating may vary but homes in Victoria are required to achieve a rating of at least 6 stars.

How can Thermal Performance Assessors improve my NatHERS star rating? TPAs offer energy assessments as well as consultancy services. Services would include project-specific strategies to optimize energy efficiency –. Bayside Energy Consulting is a Thermal Performance Assessor Consultancy accredited with the Building Designers Association of Victoria (BDAV) having extensive experience in minimising energy usage. The firm provides fast, reliable, and accurate NatHERS Energy Reports using FirstRate5 energy rating software and Energy Compliance Assessments using Deemed-to-Satisfy provisions of the National Construction Code.

Bayside Energy Consulting provides the following services: Energy Ratings/ Thermal Performance Assessments (Base TPA Package, Standard TPA Package, Advanced TPA Package), Deemed-to-Satisfy Energy Assessments (Part 3.12 Deemed-to-Satisfy Package, Section J Deemed-to-Satisfy Package), Artificial Lighting Assessments ( Artificial Lighting Assessment, J6.2 Artificial Lighting Assessment), and External Glazing Assessments (3.12.2 Glazing Assessment, J2.4 Glazing Assessment). The firm also provides recommendations on how to optimize a particular dwelling in order to achieve the required star rating. One of the best ways to turn a building into a thermally comfortable dwelling is through a Passive Solar Building Design.

What is Passive Solar Building Design? First and foremost, passive solar building design is by far one of the cheapest way to achieve the required star rating. Passive solar building design is a set of strategies that reduce the need for mechanical heating or cooling. The building’s features are designed to collect and distribute solar energy to provide heat during winter and reject heat during summer. The key to designing a thermally comfortable home is taking advantage of the local climate and accurate site analysis. Elements to consider include window specifications, glazing type, thermal insulation, thermal mass, and shading. Some of the passive solar building design strategies are:.

Thermal Mass. Thermal mass is the ability of a particular part of the building to absorb and store heat. It reduces heat influx by taking in and storing heat during the day. The structure’s materials absorb the heat thus the interior does not warm up as much. During the night, it gives up heat. One key component is the use of high density materials.

Eaves/Shading. Eaves improve thermal performance by providing shade to the windows in summer and only partially or not at all cover the windows in winter to allow the sun to shine through the windows and heat the interior of the building.

Thermal Insulation. Insulation reduces the heat flow in and out of the building in both summer and winter, hence improving the thermal performance of the building. Insulation batts also help to dampen noise coming in from the outside. Insulation includes the use fiberglass, rock wool, polystyrene foam, urethane foam and the like.

Bayside Energy Consulting at your service. We can provide project-specific strategies to achieve energy compliance. Bayside Energy Consulting have the knowledge, skill, and equipment to provide an accurate assessment of your home. The heating and cooling requirements of a structure can be assessed prior to construction – our expertise in data modelling and analysis provide designers, developers and builders with cutting edge design analysis at early stages of the project.

Aside from the goal of achieving the required star rating, an energy efficient household can greatly reduce homeowner’s electricity bill as it reduces the use of cooling and heating appliances. Furthermore, energy efficient homes are a monumental step towards a sustainable future.

author: Bayside Energy Consulting