House energy rating company, Green Rate offers energy reports and advice on how to reach the new 6 star energy rating required in Victoria.

As of the 1st May 2011, 6 star for new homes, additions and alterations will be effective in Victoria. Designs that have begun prior to 1st May 2011 will be able to lodge a dispensation through the building surveyor to allow compliance with the old 5 Star standard.

All new homes, apartments, renovations and additions (class 1, 2, 4 & 10a) will be subject to the 6 Star energy rating. Simple work that does not require a building permit will not need a 6 star energy rating.  

A report prepared by an Accredited Assessor is required, showing the design achieves a 6 star energy rating. New homes also require the installation of a solar hot water system or rainwater tank for toilet flushing.   

The higher energy rating will mean that home owners have a house that is more naturally comfortable for longer periods of the year. It may also result in lower utility bills, a reduction in greenhouse emissions, and better resale values.  

A 6 star energy rating can be achieved a variety of ways, most likely increased roof insulation, walls and suspended floors will be required. Improved glazing may not be necessary if other elements are good, for example; orientation, insulation, and appropriate shading. However, many homes will require double glazing.  

Provided that the building has good design and orientation for its specific location, increased costs to reach 6 stars should be minimal. However, it makes good financial sense to seek the right advice from a reputable Accredited Assessor to ensure costs are kept to a minimum.   

Those performing alterations or extensions, and the amount is 50 per cent or more of the existing home, the whole house needs to be brought up to 6 stars.  Further information on energy rating is available from Green Rate.