What is NatHERS?

The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, commonly known as NatHERS, is an innovative program that seeks to assess the energy efficiency of residential buildings. The central idea behind this initiative is to assign a star rating to homes based on their thermal performance. This rating, measured on a scale of 0 to 10, plays a pivotal role in determining the energy requirements for heating and cooling a home, thereby promoting energy-efficient designs and constructions.

The higher the star rating a home receives, the less energy it will need to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. This, in turn, translates to lower energy bills, a reduced carbon footprint, and a more environmentally responsible approach to housing.

NatHERS made its debut on the Australian housing scene in 1993. Since then, it has continually evolved to adapt to the changing landscape of technology, construction, and sustainability. Its presence is more vital than ever, as it helps to meet the growing demands for energy-efficient homes in the face of climate change and increasing energy costs.

How NatHERS Works

At the core of NatHERS lies a sophisticated and dynamic system that involves NatHERS Assessors, house plans, building specifications, and accredited software tools. Here’s a closer look at how the scheme operates:

1. NatHERS Assessors

These professionals play a crucial role in the NatHERS process. They are responsible for collecting and inputting data into NatHERS-accredited software tools, which ultimately determine a home’s energy efficiency. Their expertise ensures that the ratings accurately reflect a home’s performance.

2. House Plans and Building Specifications

Initially, NatHERS Assessors relied heavily on house plans and building specifications to assess a home’s energy efficiency. These documents provided essential information about the design, structure, and materials used in a construction project. However, NatHERS is continuously evolving, and new assessment methods are on the horizon.

3. Accredited Software Tools

The heart of the NatHERS system lies in its accredited software tools. These tools take the data provided by Assessors and perform complex calculations to estimate the amount of heat that needs to be added or removed to keep a home comfortable. The result is a NatHERS star rating that quantifies the thermal performance of the home.

4. The NatHERS Star Rating and Certificate

The NatHERS star rating, typically ranging from 0 to 10, reflects a home’s thermal performance. A higher rating signifies better energy efficiency. The certificate, issued alongside the star rating, serves as an official document that can be used to showcase a home’s energy performance.

NatHERS and Compliance with the National Construction Code

One of the key functions of NatHERS is to facilitate compliance with the National Construction Code (NCC), particularly concerning energy efficiency requirements. The NCC sets the standard for building regulations in Australia, and adherence to these standards is essential for the construction of safe and environmentally responsible homes.

As of 2020-2021, NatHERS played a pivotal role in 94% of building approvals, demonstrating its widespread adoption and influence in the construction industry. In most parts of Australia, a minimum star rating of 6 or above is required for detached homes, ensuring that new constructions prioritize energy efficiency.

The Future of NatHERS

While NatHERS has played a significant role in shaping energy-efficient construction practices, the scheme is not resting on its laurels. It has ambitious plans to expand its offerings to further promote energy-efficient homes.

1. Whole of Home Energy Assessments

One of the exciting developments on the horizon is the introduction of Whole of Home Energy Assessments. This innovative approach will not require house plans and building specifications, making it more accessible to homeowners looking to improve their existing homes. Whole of Home Assessments will consider the energy performance of common household appliances, such as heating and cooling systems, hot water heaters, lighting, pool/spa pumps, and on-site energy generation and storage, including solar panels and batteries. This holistic assessment approach aims to provide homeowners with a comprehensive understanding of their home’s energy efficiency and the potential for improvement.

2. In-Home Energy Assessments

In-Home Energy Assessments will further enhance the accessibility and usability of NatHERS. Unlike traditional assessments that primarily rely on house plans and specifications, In-Home Assessments can be conducted within the existing living space. These assessments will incorporate real-time data collection, allowing homeowners to gauge their energy usage more accurately. This initiative aims to empower homeowners with actionable insights to make their homes more energy-efficient without the need for extensive remodeling or construction.

The Environmental Impact of NatHERS

The benefits of NatHERS extend beyond the individual homeowner. Energy-efficient homes contribute significantly to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In Australia, heating and cooling account for the majority of energy consumption in an average household. By encouraging efficient design and insulation, NatHERS helps lower energy consumption, reducing both energy bills and the environmental footprint of residential buildings.

In addition to reducing energy consumption, NatHERS promotes the use of sustainable building materials and construction techniques. The scheme encourages the adoption of solar passive design principles, which take advantage of natural sunlight and airflow to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures. These design strategies are not only energy-efficient but also environmentally friendly.

The Cost-Efficiency of Energy-Efficient Homes

One of the remarkable aspects of NatHERS is that it often promotes energy efficiency without incurring significant additional construction costs. Through thoughtful design and appropriate material selection, it is possible to achieve a higher NatHERS star rating without breaking the bank.

For homeowners, this means lower energy bills and a faster return on investment for energy-efficient improvements. For builders and developers, it presents an opportunity to meet increasingly stringent energy efficiency requirements without driving up construction costs.

The Role of NatHERS in Green Building Certification

NatHERS is more than just a compliance tool; it also plays a vital role in various green building certification programs. These programs, such as the Green Star rating system, award points for energy-efficient designs, which can contribute to achieving a higher level of certification. This is a win-win scenario for homeowners, builders, and the environment.

NatHERS is administered by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources on behalf of the states and territories in Australia. It receives substantial support from the government at various levels, reflecting its significance in achieving energy efficiency and environmental sustainability goals.


In an era where environmental sustainability and energy efficiency are of paramount importance, the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) serves as a beacon of progress. From its humble beginnings in 1993 to its future aspirations of offering Whole of Home and In-Home Energy Assessments, NatHERS continues to drive the construction industry toward a greener and more sustainable future.

By assigning star ratings and certificates to homes, NatHERS empowers homeowners, builders, and developers to make informed decisions that not only reduce energy consumption but also lower costs and benefit the environment. Its role in shaping compliance with the National Construction Code and its influence on green building certification programs make it a linchpin in the quest for more energy-efficient homes in Australia.

As we move forward, NatHERS will continue to evolve, adapt, and play a pivotal role in the pursuit of energy-efficient, environmentally responsible homes for all Australians. The scheme’s influence will extend well beyond individual homes, contributing to a more sustainable, energy-efficient, and environmentally conscious future for the entire nation.

If you would like expert advice on how you can improve your energy rating, give our team a call on 1300 457 700 or you can email us at info@ecocert.com.au.