FR5 Software

FirstRate5® house energy rating software

FirstRate5® is an easy-to-use interactive tool with a graphic user interface that enables designers and thermal performance assessors to generate energy ratings for a home by tracing over floor plans. The software integrates the AccuRate calculation engine to estimate the annual heating and cooling energy and can be used to rate an existing design or as an interactive tool to optimise the design beyond compliance.

Latest news

NatHERS Software Accreditation Update - Sept 2023

by Sustainability Victoria Energy Software Team | Sep 20, 2023

Outline of the NatHERS software accreditation process 

Every three years, all NatHERS (Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme) accredited software tools need to complete the NatHERS software accreditation process to align with the most recent National Construction Code (NCC) updates. This process ensures that all software tools maintain alignment to the benchmark tool (AccuRate) in regard to software functionality, thermal modelling results and certificate outputs.

In 2022, the NatHERS Administrator introduced the Whole of Home rating, which measures the energy use of the whole home including appliances, solar PV and batteries. This new inclusion has added additional requirements to the software accreditation process. 

Sustainability Victoria’s Energy Software team is currently completing the software accreditation process for the FirstRate5 thermal tool. The extensively updated FirstRate5 Whole-of-Home Pilot Tool has been submitted to the NatHERS Administrator for review and approval.

Update on the accreditation of the FirstRate5 Thermal Tool 

On 26 May 2023, the NatHERS Administrator granted FirstRate5 v5.5.0 (3.22) conditional accreditation under the NatHERS 2022 Software Accreditation Protocol. Refer to the NatHERS website for further information.

Sustainability Victoria (SV) has included further updates to meet some additional requirements set by the NatHERS Administrator. On the 28th of September 2023, SV plans to release an updated version of the FirstRate5 thermal tool which will be able to be used for demonstrating compliance with NCC 2022. Files created using the updated version will produce the new NatHERS Certificates on the FirstRate5 website.

Most software changes being made to the FirstRate5 thermal tool are minor in nature, with the more significant changes being:

  • The ability to specify thermal bridging for steel framed houses;
  • Updated climate files and star bands;
  • Updated ABCB heating and cooling load limits.

Further information about how the NatHERS Administrator has managed the impact updated climate files will have on star ratings can be found on the NatHERS website.

Update on the accreditation of the FirstRate5 Whole of Home Tool

SV submitted an updated FirstRate Whole of Home Tool for NatHERS accreditation, and we are confident it will pass the NatHERS accreditation process. The final tool is now planned to be released later in 2023.

In the meantime, assessors can use the ABCB Whole of Home calculator in order to meet the NCC 2022 requirements outlined in Part 13.6 of ABCB Housing Provisions and J3D14 of NCC Volume One.

Extension to NCC 2022 Transition Period for some States and Territories

SV would like to remind FirstRate5 users that the Victorian Government has announced an extended transition period for the introduction of the NCC 2022 energy efficiency requirements. In Victoria, requirements commenced on 1 May 2023 and will become mandatory on 1 May 2024.

More information can be found on the Victorian Building Authority’s website.

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) also has a useful resource on its website outlining the different NCC 2022 adoption dates by state and territory. 
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