From Michael Green, The Sydney Morning Herald, Domain: 16 February 2011 – Hundreds of thousands of new homes across the country are not performing at their promised energy efficiency rating.

The result is residents are using up to double the predicted energy required for heating and cooling, industry officials say.

Research by air-tightness testing company Air Barrier Technologies has shown that air leakage in new homes is five to 10 times worse than expected under the star-rating scheme.

This means that an average five-star home is likely to perform only to a three-star level, potentially doubling expected energy bills for residents.

The Victorian Building Commissioner says builders who deliver homes that have not been properly sealed or insulated to meet the set star rating could be sued by buyers.

About 40,000 homes are built in Victoria each year. All must meet the five-star standard. This will rise to six stars from May.

But a group of industry players, including Henley Homes, who have been lobbying state and federal government and building regulators to crack down on the air leakage problem, say unless more action is taken, customers cannot be confident their homes meet the stated star rating.

”At the moment there’s an assumption that houses are built to a far tighter standard than what we believe they are,” Adam Selvay, Henley Homes energy and sustainability specialist, said.

The question of builder liability was raised in a meeting with the Federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and the Australian Building Codes Board in April last year. Read the whole story