Attention architects and built environment professionals! The National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 is finally upon us, and it’s bringing some major changes to energy efficiency requirements for residential and commercial buildings. The new standards will be in effect from May 1, 2023, with a five-month transition period until October 1, 2023 for energy efficiency and condensation requirements. It is important to prepare for these changes to make sure that your designs meet the new standards.
Here are some of the key changes in NCC 2022 and some tips on how to adapt to them:
Residential Energy Efficiency:
For Class 2 buildings, all units must achieve a minimum 7-star energy rating result with no unit below 6 stars. They also need to meet certain heating and cooling load limits outlined in the ABCB NatHERS Heating and Cooling Load Limits Standard. Each unit must achieve a whole-of-home rating of at least 50 out of 100.
For Class 1 residences, a minimum 7-star energy rating result is required, and they must not exceed heating and cooling load limits as outlined in the ABCB NatHERS Heating and Cooling Load Limits Standard. They also need to achieve a whole-of-home rating of at least 60 out of 100.
Tip: To meet the 7-star rating without increasing costs, consider orienting the main living areas towards the north to maximize passive solar gains. Limit south-oriented glazing by locating bathrooms, laundry, and other ancillary zones on this facade. Choose lighter or darker coloured roofs, external walls, and window frames based on the climate zone. Include suitable shading devices to north, east, and west oriented windows, such as overhangs or screens to the north and external operable shading or vertical elements to the east and west.
Commercial Energy Efficiency:
Certain buildings (Class 2, 3, 5, 6, 7b, 8, or 9) must have provisions for future on-site renewables and electric vehicle charging installation. New DTS provisions facilitate the future installation of electric vehicle charging equipment and solar photovoltaics and battery storage. NABERS Energy Verification pathway is expanded to include Class 2 Common Areas, Class 3 Short Term Stay Accommodation, and Class 6 Shopping Centres.
Tip: To comply with these requirements, consider designing buildings with future on-site renewables and electric vehicle charging in mind. Work with your clients to plan for these installations during the construction phase.
For sole-occupancy units of a Class 2 Building or Class 4 part of a building, the interior surface to water control layer and building surface must achieve a mould index less than 3 for compliance. Additional DTS provisions for vapor permeance are required where pliable building membrane, sarking-type material, or insulation layer is installed on the exterior side of the primary insulation layer of an external wall. Additional DTS provisions for increased ventilation in roof areas are also required.
Tip: To comply with these requirements, consider using materials and techniques that prevent condensation and mould growth, such as vapor permeable membranes and increased ventilation in roof areas.
It is essential to stay up to date with the latest building codes and regulations. With the NCC 2022 bringing significant changes to energy efficiency standards, it’s crucial to adapt your designs accordingly. By considering the tips outlined above and incorporating sustainable practices into your work, you can help create buildings that are energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, and compliant with the new regulations. Together, let’s build a better, more sustainable future.