Home Energy Audits Complusory – NZ next

7th February 2010

Could the Australian proposal be the harbinger of things to come here in New Zealand?

Under the heading “National Strategy on Energy Efficiency” on the Energy efficient buildings page of the Australian Governments Dept of Environment, Water, Heritage and The Arts website, is this published strategy aim;

Providing information to the housing market by requiring Australian homes to provide energy, water and greenhouse performance information to buyers and renters, starting with energy efficiency in 2011

A download of their strategy is available here.

7-02-2010 8-05-41 p.m.

Adelaide’s “Sunday Mail” today reports on a situation developing in Oz, where it will be soon be mandatory, to have such an audit .

According to the paper;

ALL Australian homes will have to undergo a mandatory energy-efficiency assessment – costing up to $1500 per property – before they can be sold or rented under new laws to tackle carbon emissions.

The Sunday Mail goes on to say;

The mandatory assessment – being drafted into law by the federal and state governments – will rate homes by an energy efficiency star system, similar to the ratings given to fridges and washing machines.

It will apply to all commercial properties from later this year and to all residential properties from May 2011.

Hmmm………. in light of the leaky home situation here in NZ…….this could be interesting.

7-02-2010 8-34-43 p.m.

One wonders out loud what future stricter standards could be applied to what has passed in the last 5-10 years regarding insulation installations, and/or cladding replacements, and what if any extra costs may get passed on to said home-owner / property investor in such a situation.

NZ presently has HERS (Home Energy Ratings) but the scheme at present appears just  voluntary.  Although they mention, via links, the process to follow if you want to become an assessor. With a pool of assessors building…….its quite logical to foresee a situation where this process steps out of the voluntary stage and moves to mandatory. Annual Warrant of Fitness’s for rental properties dare I suggest? Certainly could be another way the govt could tax property investors.

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The Property Council of Australia, are already lobbying the Australia Govt for tax concessions.

Already law in the ACT , the state govt there has already implemented this strategy and has made ACTHERS mandatory that if you are “about to sell a dwelling which you occupy, that has been occupied or rented to tenants”….then you need to be aware that the onus is on you to  “to disclose to prospective purchasers the current level of energy performance of the dwelling.”

From 1st Jan 2010 Queensland also has its own “sort of” scheme.

Go here for a sample Home Energy Audit report. Today when a buyer carries out their inspection of the property at an Open Home, the onus is mainly on them to note every single thing that may have to be improved to make the home more energy efficient and nicer to live in.

For example did you notice that caulking was not used correctly between the wall and roof, things that usually only a thermal imaging camera can detect. Did you notice that there is a 4mm gap under the back door on the hinge side – potentially in winter seeing warm air exit the home, or cold air enter.

This then would be a step up in terms of “peace of mind” for a buyer.

7-02-2010 8-19-01 p.m.

And based on the fact that this will become mandatory soon across the whole of Australia, its certainly food for thought downunder.

This 2009 clip from Texas also illustrates the USA perspective, especially the fact that out of 310 Austin area homes inspected, 86% failed the audit.

Although in a report a few years old, The Star in Toronto found caution was required.

Could house prices be affected? Well according to this from Canberra, the answer is………?

I think we’ll be hearing more of this. Come to think of maybe its time to check out this here to see how efficient your home is or could be? A bit more Kiwi perspective here too.

Image - NASA/JPL-Caltech

Image - NASA/JPL-Caltech

Or could this “just around the corner” future, as this article suggests, be ready to provide the solution for us?

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