Home owners who have invested in a star-rated energy efficient home may not be getting what they paid for, according to building efficiency expert and a Director at the Association of Building Sustainability Assessors, Brad Hoad.

“Homeowners should check their electricity bills to see if they’re paying more than they should be – there may be simple solutions to excessive power bills,” Mr Hoad said.

“The star rating system is very accurate in projecting how a home may operate based on a set of criteria, however if corners are cut in its construction and operation then it won’t perform as well as it could.

“There are a few potential reasons a home might not perform as well as expected considering its star rating, such as poor design, issues with build quality or a lack of understanding of energy efficient operation.

“Poor design, planning and specification might mean that homes are incorrectly oriented to maximise energy efficiency or perhaps the wrong products are chosen, leading to excessive electricity consumption.

“Poor energy efficiency can also result from a lack of understanding of how to operate the home correctly, for example opening and closing windows at the wrong time.

“We would need to determine why the home is not performing as well as it should – whether it was failure in the planning system or it was incorrectly built and certified, or perhaps the homeowner needs to learn more about energy efficient practices.

“Although there may be a temptation to litigate in these situations, it’s likely to be cheaper and simpler to make the amendments required to the home in order to improve its energy efficiency,” Mr Hoad said.

Brad Hoad’s advice to homeowners with star rating performance anxiety should:

• Look at how you are operating the house and take simple steps to reduce consumption – for example closing the windows when it’s very cold or hot outside, or consider sealing downlights with an approved downlight guard to avoid leaking warm air.

• Talk to an experienced 3rd party, practical building consultant or an ABSA accredited assessor who can advise on where the problem might be, and how best to resolve the matter.


Brad Hoad is a builder and a Director at the Association of Building Sustainability Assessors.

About ABSA: The Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) is a not-for-profit national membership organisation representing building and design professionals who specialise in assessing the environmental impact of buildings. ABSA’s vision is to improve sustainability through the design and use of buildings.

For more information about ABSA visit www.absa.net.au