Tips for Selecting an Energy Assessor
If you haven't used the services of a professional sustainability consultant before, then you may be wondering where to start. This article looks at the types of work such a consultant can help you with and then provides a simple checklist to consider when selecting your consultant.
When will you need a sustainability consultant?
Sustainability consultants can assist with a wide range of reports including energy rating, ecologically sustainable development (ESD) reports, compliance reports and audits. The most common ones are BASIX in NSW, EER in the ACT and star ratings in other states.
A BASIX Certificate (it stands for Building Sustainability Index) must be submitted as part of the development application (DA) for nearly all new houses and units in NSW. This Certificate has three sections - water efficiency, thermal comfort and energy efficiency. The thermal comfort section should be prepared by a house energy rating assessor.
In the ACT, an Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) certificate must be part of the contract of sale.
The software and procedures used throughout Australia are defined by NatHERS - the nationwide house energy rating scheme.
What does the sustainability consultant do?
The energy rating is prepared from the drawings (floor plans and elevations) that the architect or draftsman has prepared. The assessor builds a computer model of the proposed design including walls, floors, roof and glazing. The software then determines the performance of the building throughout the year and gives the result as a star rating and heating and cooling loads. The star rating is out of 10 with 6 being the target for houses in most states.
A house without insulation is unlikely to pass so the consultant recommends what more is needed. This will almost certainly include low-cost items such as insulation but higher cost measures like special glazing may also be required.
How to select who to use?
Selecting the right assessor will ensure that you receive the best advice. This is important for keeping construction costs under control and at the same time minimising the ongoing operating costs of the building.
Therefore the assessor you select should:
- Be accredited by the Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) as ABSA has minimum standards, a mandatory professional development program, a code of practice and regularly audits to uphold quality.
- Have several years energy rating experience as it takes many months to become proficient.
- Undertake at least 40 assessments each year - part-timers find it hard to stay current.
- Have worked on a similar project to yours.
- Have an engineering or building industry background.
- Have adequate professional indemnity insurance ($1 million for small projects; up to $5 million for large projects).
- Have details of recent projects and referees available.
If you're looking for a reliable energy assessor or environmental consultant that specialises in BASIX Certificates, contact Frys Energywise today!
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