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New research from the University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) has found homes with energy-saving features are worth 5-10% more on the property market.

It is mandatory for countries overseas for the seller to obtain and disclose a home’s energy performance rating. It has been standard practice for more than a decade.

However, in Australia only the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has a regulated scheme to disclose the energy efficiency rating of housing to prospective buyers.

While disclosing energy ratings is standard for Australia’s commercial building sector, it doesn’t apply to residential housing.

Previous research has shown that buildings with higher energy ratings get a price premium.

The SBRC decided to see if a similar effect exists in the residential sector.

The SBRC said the majority (23) of the 27 relevant studies reviewed found more energy-efficient homes fetch higher prices than less energy-efficient and it was generally in the 5-10% range.

“Price effects were considered in two ways. The first involved comparing rated versus unrated residences. The second compared higher-rated residences with lower-rated ones. In both cases, a price premium was found to exist,” the SBRC said.

“The reported price premium varied substantially by study, country and real estate market. For example, one study in Belfast, found a 27% price premium for higher-rated buildings. Another in the Netherlands found a price premium of 2.7% for similarly higher-rated dwellings.”

Only one study looked at Australia (the ACT scheme, which has operated since 2003). It found a 2.4% price premium for a six-star house and a 9.4% premium for a seven-star house compared to a 3 star home. For Australia, with a median house price of $773,635 in late 2019, the ACT results equate to potential price premiums of $18,500 and $72,721.

The studies the SBRC reviewed were published between 2011 and 2019, covering 14 countries and 10 energy performance rating schemes.  

Meanwhile, the second Australian Residential Energy Rating (ARER) conference will be held in Sydney at Doltone House from May 12–13, 2020.

With over 35 speakers, ARER 2020 will feature sessions that examine energy efficiency from the perspectives of builders and energy assessors, look at the future of regulations in this space, cover technical issues, and the rating of apartments and existing houses.

The conference, hosted by CSIRO and supported by NatHERS, will bring together energy assessors, builders, architects, regulators, researchers and academics, and will be a great opportunity for networking between all parties involved in delivering cost effective and comfortable housing for Australians.

Speakers include the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, who initiated Sustainable Sydney 2030, a long term plan to secure Sydney’s future as a leading green city. In 2007, the City became the first government in Australia to be carbon neutral, and in 2014 received the European Solar Prize for its Renewable Energy Master Plan. 

The City will use 100% renewable energy by 2020 and have reduced emissions by 70% by 2024. Other speakers include Jodie Pipkorn, director of Residential Buildings and NatHERS policy team in the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources as well as ClimateWorks CEO, Anna Skarbek, and Energy Efficiency Council head of policy, Rob Murray-Leach.

Assessors attending the conference will qualify for 5 technical and 5 non-technical CPD points.

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