Making DTS Elemental home approvals more efficient

New minimum standards for how homes are built are set to come into force in 2022.

Better household energy performance means better health, lower bills, less pressure on the electricity grid, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. But Australia’s current standards on energy efficiency are lagging behind other countries and leaving residents worse off.

The current review of the National Construction Code is a great opportunity to improve outdated standards and make homes more energy efficient.

Renew sits on the technical advisory committee that is informing how new energy efficiency standards are developed. Over the coming months, we will be making sure the voice of consumers is heard as we push for Australia’s housing standards to be increased to at least a minimum 7 star rating.

One way that new homes are approved is via the ‘Deemed To Satisfy – Elemental’ provisions of the National Construction Code. This means that instead of being given a NatHERS star rating like most new homes, the home just needs to meet a minimum set of criteria, including insulation, building sealing, and windows that don’t exceed maximum levels of heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer. This ‘check-box’ system of complying with the Code tends to be used where other systems aren’t practical.

Renew is arguing for:

  • Better alignment of DTS Elemental provisions with NatHERS ratings
  • A minimum of 7 stars equivalent rating for all new homes, with the possibility of a higher 7.5 star standard
  • Fixing loopholes that may lead to gaming of the system and worse energy performance
  • Improving provisions on orientation, fans, sealing, and thermal bridging

You can read Renew’s submission on DTS Elemental provisions here.