The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, commonly known as NatHERS, which is applied through software tools such as AccuRate Sustainability, has become the predominant pathway for complying with energy efficiency requirements within the National Construction Code of Australia.
It is an increasing challenge for building designers in the 21st century to provide for thermal comfort at minimum energy cost by taking into consideration both the current and the future warming climate. Most previous studies have focused on thermal comfort in non-residential buildings under current climatic conditions.
This study analysed over 1.8 million measurements of air conditioner power consumption and indoor/outdoor air temperatures in 129 houses in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne from 2012 to 2014. It was found that the preferred indoor air temperature range, at which occupants are most unlikely to operate air conditioners, increases for warmer local climates.
Whole building simulation tools can play a significant role in energy savings through building design and operation, implementing building energy rating schemes, and demonstrating compliance with building energy codes. It is critical that any development of a tool be properly evaluated by state-of-the-art evaluation techniques.