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An update to the National Construction Code (NCC) will see minimum energy efficiency requirements for new houses and apartments increase, and a new annual energy use budget will include hot water systems, and swimming pool and spa pumps. 

The update comes after federal, state and territory Building Ministers agreed to raise the minimum energy efficiency standards for new houses and apartments, increasing the minimum energy efficiency requirements from the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) equivalent of six to seven stars. 

A new Whole of Home annual energy use budget – applicable to the home’s heating and cooling equipment, hot water systems, lighting, swimming pool and spa pumps, and onsite renewable energy systems – will also be introduced. 

This budget intends to make homes more comfortable, help households with cost-of-living pressures, and support Australia’s transition to net zero. 

In making this decision Building Ministers took advice from the Australian Building Codes Board, based on its extensive regulatory impact analysis and consultation over the last year.

Federal Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Jenny McAllister, said the new home minimum energy efficiency requirements will mean new homes are more comfortable and more affordable to heat and cool. 

“These measures have clear benefits for households. Energy efficient houses are more comfortable to live in, cheaper to heat in winter and cool in summer,” Ms McAllister said. 

“The new energy efficiency standards also support Australia’s transition to net-zero emission by 2050 by reducing the costs associated with new generation infrastructure.” 

To ensure industry is adequately prepared, the energy efficiency changes to the NCC will come into effect on 1 October 2023 but may vary by state and territory.

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