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Advice: Energy Efficiency Requirements for New Homes


All new homes and extensions built in Australia must meet the minimum energy efficiency requirements prescribed in the Building Code of Australia.

The extent of energy efficiency measures required depend on the climate zone in which a house is located. There are three climate zones in Australia and climate zone maps are available to help determine and illustrate the regions across Soth Australia.

An energy efficiency assessment must be undertaken to determine compliance with the requirements.

Energy efficiency requirements

Requirements for building thermal performance for occupancy comfort include:

  • measures to reduce heating and cooling loads
  • thermal insulation in roofs, walls and floors
  • adequate glazing performance
  • appropriate building sealing and draught proofing
  • adequate ventilation and air movement.

Requirements for services to reduce greenhouse gas emissions include:

  • insulation of services such as ductwork and piping
  • appropriate sealing of heating and cooling ductwork
  • performance of artificial lighting
  • efficient water heaters
  • use of renewable energy sources eg solar panels.

Thermal performance requirements and provisions for services are separate matters in the BCA and must be addressed individually. Further advice on addressing the energy efficiency requirements as individual elements is available in an information handbook Using onsite renewable and reclaimed energy sources published by the Australian Building Codes Board.

Buildings eligible for energy efficiency concessions

Certain requirements apply to all new elevated Class 1 buildings with a lightweight flooring system and are capable of being moved (including transportable buildings), regardless of whether they are constructed on or off-site:

  1. Houses with a floor area of 60 square metres or more will be eligible for a 5-star concession subject to a number of conditions:
    (i) they are located in:
    a) Climate Zone 4 as defined in the Building Code of Australia (see map reference below) and
    b) At risk suburbs(ii) the additional energy consumed by a 5-star transportable house must be offset by the installation of a renewable energy source, such as an appropriately sized photovoltaic system. The size of the renewable energy source required is determined by Minister’s Specification SA (a) – 24.6 KB.
  2. Houses with a floor area less than 60 square metres, regardless of their location, will be eligible for a 5-star concession and will not be required to offset the additional energy consumed.
  3. Houses not covered by 1. or 2. must meet 6-star energy efficiency requirements and must not offset the star rating difference with solar panels in order to achieve compliance.

A map showing energy efficiency concession areas – 2.2 MB is available to help determine if a concession is applicable.