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Skip Navigation LinksDepartment of Housing and Public Works > Construction > Sustainability > Sustainable housing laws > Energy equivalence rating > 6-star standard for houses/townhouses

6-star standard for houses/townhouses

New houses and townhouses and major renovations to these buildings (e.g. additions, alterations or re-locations) must achieve a minimum 6-star energy equivalence rating. This requirement applies to the building's shell—its roof, walls, windows and floors.

Homes with a higher energy rating are more comfortable to live in. They can also provide ongoing savings on energy bills because they need less energy for artificial cooling and heating.

How to achieve the 6-star energy equivalence rating

There are many design features that can contribute to the 6-star energy standard for houses, such as:

  • northern orientation of living rooms
  • natural ventilation through windows and doorways
  • shading with wider eaves and awnings
  • increased insulation in roof space and walls
  • treated glazing
  • light coloured roofs and walls
  • ceiling fans in living areas and bedrooms
  • well-designed outdoor living areas.

It is important to consider the climate of the area the home is located in so that the design provides maximum comfort for occupants while minimising energy running costs. Find design tips for a specific climate zone.

Optional credits for outdoor living areas and photovoltaic systems

Optional credits for outdoor living areas and photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems can be used to meet the 6-star standard for houses. Houses that include a photovoltaic (solar) energy system and/or outdoor living area can use less energy and save with ongoing costs.

People with an outdoor living area tend to spend less time inside air conditioned homes and are more acclimatised to their local climate.

These credits reflect our Queensland lifestyle and climate, and provide:

  • ½-star credit for a fully-covered outdoor living area that is connected to an indoor living area (such as a lounge, kitchen or family room, but not a bathroom or laundry) of a new house or renovation and is:
    • at least 12 square metres in floor area
    • a minimum dimension of 2.5 metres in all directions
    • covered by an impervious roof with an insulation R-value of at least R-1.5, and
    • has 2 or more sides open or capable of being opened.
  • 1-star credit when an outdoor living area as described above is fitted with at least 1 ceiling fan that has a speed controller and a blade rotation diameter of at least 900 millimetres.
  • 1-star credit for a photovoltaic (solar) energy system with a minimum of 1 kilowatt capacity.

To ensure a minimum thermal performance and flexible design options, a minimum baseline rating for the building shell must be achieved when using these credits. In tropical (e.g. Townsville), subtropical (e.g. Brisbane) and warm temperate (e.g. Toowoomba) climate zones, a minimum of 4½ stars is required, and a minimum of 5 stars is required in the hot arid climate zone (e.g. Charleville).

Flexible design options can be used to achieve a 6-star house, for example:

  • 6-star building shell rating only
  • 5-star building shell + 1 star credit for the inclusion of a outdoor living area
  • 4½-star building shell + 1 star credit for the inclusion of a photovoltaic (solar) energy system + ½-star credit for an outdoor living area (N.B. not permitted in climate zone 3-hot arid).

More information the use of optional credits and minimum baseline requirements is contained in the Queensland Development Code 4.1 – Sustainable buildings Guideline.

Marketing homes greater than 6-star

Optional credits are provided for regulatory purposes only to assist in complying with Queensland’s 6-star standard for houses. The inclusion of optional credits for these design features does not extend the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS)​ star range beyond 10 stars.

A house therefore cannot be promoted as achieving greater than the 6-star standard where the additional stars are based on the inclusion of the optional credits. For example, if a house achieves a 6-star building shell rating (as per its Universal Certificate), the inclusion of an outdoor living area with fan and a photovoltaic (solar) energy system does not increase the house rating to 8 stars.

When marketing a house or townhouse above the required 6-star standard, any advertising material should not add any extra stars from the inclusion of optional credits. If an outdoor living area and/or photovoltaic (solar) energy system is included in the design, these should be promoted only as separate energy efficiency and/or lifestyle features and not be added to the house's star rating.

The 6-star standard for houses is regulated through the Queensland Development Code 4.1 – Sustainable buildings.

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Last updated 17 April 2018    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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