The Victorian Government is working to improve the energy efficiency of new and existing homes. Energy efficient homes will be more comfortable, cost less to heat and cool and help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
Beyond 6-star Homes
Victoria is committed to raising efficiency standards for new homes under changes to the National Construction Code planned to take effect from September 2022. Proposed changes include increasing building efficiency from 6 to 7 stars and strengthening standards for fixed appliances such as heating and cooling, hot water and lighting.
These changes will make homes cheaper to run, more comfortable to live in and more resilient to extreme weather. Victoria will also remove barriers to installation of efficient electric hot water systems, helping households to capture further benefits from investing in solar panels, and supporting those who choose all-electric new homes.
Victoria is playing an active role in this national process, building on the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings signed by all State, Territory and Commonwealth Governments in 2019. An important milestone has been reached with the release of the NCC 2022 Public Comment Draft and a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) that assesses the economic case for change.
The RIS will help shape State and Territory Building Ministers’ decisions on whether to adopt the new standards.
Further information including a plain language guide to the RIS is available at https://consultation.abcb.gov.au.
The Victorian Government has publicly responded to the RIS expressing concern that it understates the health, climate and energy benefits of efficient homes, and reiterating the Government’s commitment to moving to 7-star building standards.
The Victorian Government has also made a submission (PDF, 278.5 KB) to the RIS arguing that strengthened national building efficiency standards are needed now to support the transition to a net zero emissions economy.
To inform this work, DELWP undertook an evaluation of the impacts of the current 6-star standard (PDF, 4.9 MB) in Victoria which provides evidence of substantial public and private benefits from the previous increase in the energy efficiency requirements for new homes (from 5 to 6 stars).
As-built Compliance Verification
DELWP has partnered with the Victorian Building Authority on the delivery of the Energy Efficiency Inspections Program. This program aims to establish robust evidence on compliance with the energy efficiency requirements of the NCC through 2500 energy efficiency audits of new homes under construction, to be completed by June 2020. These audit findings will be used to build industry capability and improve consumer confidence.
Improving the energy performance of rental properties
Renters face more challenges than home owners in managing their energy costs and achieving healthy and comfortable homes. Rental properties are often poorly performing, with fixed appliances that are expensive to run, and renters must either incur high energy costs or experience reduced comfort and health.
In 2018, DELWP commissioned market research to better understand the motivations and barriers, demand for information and decision-making processes that influence investment in energy efficiency upgrades in residential rental properties in Victoria. The research, involving surveys of renters, rental providers and property managers, is one of the most up-to-date and statistically representative surveys of the Victorian rental market in recent years. The full report can be found here.
Minimum rental standards
DELWP has provided technical and policy advice to Consumer Affairs Victoria regarding energy efficiency standards for rental homes under the proposed Residential Tenancies Regulations 2020. A Regulatory Impact Statement was released in November 2019 and closed 18 December 2019.
Under the new rental laws, rental providers will need to ensure that their rental property meets certain minimum standards. Heating was identified as the first energy efficiency related minimum standard because the vast majority of energy consumption in Victorian homes is spent on heating. A heating standard would provide a significant improvement in the circumstances of many renters.
Detailed information on the rental reforms process and proposed Regulations can be found here.
DELWP will continue to work with Consumer Affairs Victoria regarding the introduction of other energy efficiency standards to improve the comfort and affordability of Victorian rental homes.
Page last updated: 16/11/21