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Data portal to track Australia’s residential energy efficiency

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency, will track residential energy efficiency progress to support the next wave of sustainable homes via a new data portal.

According to a recent press release, the Australian Housing Data (AHD) Portal will centralise the vast amount of energy efficiency data, which will underpin key decision making, training and awareness.

Benefits of the AHD Portal

Households make up around 11.4% of Australia’s emissions. And with construction continuing at a steady pace, the AHD Portal can pinpoint where energy efficiency efforts are on track.

It will also show where more focus and attention should be given.

Moreover, the AHD Portal will be an important tool in tracking and supporting the progress of the national plan agreed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Ministers.

This plan sets a trajectory towards zero energy homes and zero carbon homes in Australia.

Key findings

Some of the key findings obtained from the data on apartments and houses are:

  1. 195,000 new homes were built in Australia in the past year
  2. Steady progress in building of high-performance homes is observed, especially in Tasmania and the ACT
  3. Overall, Australian homes are increasing in size, with an average floor area of 132 sq. metres
  4. Average dwellings were most likely to have a metal roof, brick veneer walls, and a concrete floor
  5. The average newly-constructed home had an energy rating of 6.2 stars. This is an improvement since the introduction of star ratings in 2001, when the average home was estimated at 1.8. This translates to an annual saving of approximately A$ 560 in energy bills and 2.3 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2-e) in greenhouse emissions per house.

Who are involved?

Most of the data is sourced from the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).

This is a measurement and compliance system for energy efficiency administered by the Australian Government.

Monitoring progress is crucial in order to meet the national challenges of sustainable energy and resilient cities.

The CSIRO Grids and Energy Efficiency Research Director explained that CSIRO is well placed to do this as it is an independent research agency that is driving innovation in energy, particularly residential energy rating.

Why is tracking important?

Tracking these changes is an important step to ensure emissions goals are met, while seeing where more attention is needed across the industry.

The portal contains data across states and climate zones and can be further broken down by design such as dwelling class and floor area; construction such as type of walls and roofing; and fixtures and appliances such as solar PV and heating/cooling systems.

The NatHERS software is very flexible since it gets to meet both the variations in climate and product availability in each jurisdiction, particularly since construction of homes varies among the states.

The updating of the dashboards within the AHD Portal will be done monthly, which guarantees that it is a relevant and accessible tool for the benefit of residential energy efficiency stakeholders, nationally.

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