If you buy a car, you can easily find out its fuel efficiency. But what about a house? The costs and eco-effects of existing buildings vary widely, but it's hard for buyers or renters to know what they're in for.
In early 2009, state and federal governments agreed the energy, greenhouse and water performances of a dwelling should be publicised at the point of sale and lease. Since then, however, not much has happened. The policy is known as ''residential building mandatory disclosure''. The name may be uninspiring, but if the reform is handled well, it could prompt a big change in household energy and water consumption.
While the details haven't been set, the approach will be broader than the current star ratings. As well as the building fabric, it is likely to cover heating, cooling and hot-water systems, together with lighting, clothes drying, rainwater tanks and water fittings, and a list of recommended upgrades.
Source: The Age Domain