Former chief executive of the Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) Rodger Hills is pushing for the creation of a new body for the verification of sustainability credentials in the wake of industry-wide frustration with the Nationwide House Energy Ratings Scheme (NatHERS).
According to its mission statement, the Building Verification Council will be a quasi-regulatory body with the explicit goal of enabling the as-built performance of residential buildings to satisfy the sustainability and efficiency goals set by their designs.
Hills has just resigned from the position of ABSA chief executive, citing difficulties in reconciling "incompatible views" on multiple areas, including sustainability as it relates to residential building and NatHERS.
The BVC's backers are scathing in their assessment of NatHERS, speaking of its "market failure and systemic limitations," as well as the failure of its administrator to "protect the NatHERS logo and brand from inappropriate and fraudulent use in each Jurisdiction, resulting in the market treating the scheme with disregard."
"It is generally felt that the current NatHERS scheme is not truly realising the potential of encouraging more sustainable building design," says BVC's mission statement. "The decision by several jurisdictions not to adopt the scheme, or to only partially adopt it, has also led to a piecemeal application of rating methodologies in each State and Territory rather than national consistency."
Problems cited include the inability of the scheme to check the ongoing performance of as-built dwellings, a limited assessment scope which focuses on space heating and cooling loads to the exclusion of energy, water and building sustainability issues; failure to include of the effects of fixed services and equipment, and shoddy appraisals by increasing numbers of unaccredited assessors.
The BVC's backers are pushing for its full establishment by November of 2014 at the latest, and have also proposed the creation of a new, self-regulating residential building energy rating scheme by industry over the upcoming 22 months.