A thermal modelling software for NatHERS assessments, FirstRate5, is to be sold by its current owner Sustainability Victoria.

Sustainability Victoria will from tomorrow (22 April) call for expressions of interest from parties to own, maintain and distribute the FirstRate5 house energy rating software.

Interested parties will be encouraged to provide submissions to be evaluated by an independent panel that will seek to ensure the new owner will maintain and improve the software and continue to provide support to users.

The move follows the CSIRO last year announcing new fees needed to pay for a CheeNaTH engine (which FirstRate and other thermal assessment tools are based on) upgrade required by the NatHERS administrator.

Following the announcement FirstRate moved to a “fee-per-certificate” model where users of the now-free software paid $20 to generate a certificate for new homes, and $10 for existing homes and alterations.

A statement from Sustainability Victoria said the software presented “a viable opportunity for a new owner to take over the management and continue to develop and improve the tool”.

Expressions of interest will be open until 27 May, with a final decision expected December 2015.

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