Providing independent information and links to guidelines and tools to help design and construct sustainable buildings.
Energy Performance Tools
A number of New Zealand-focused energy performance and design tools are available to help you design energy efficient buildings and assess their performance.
Annual Loss Factor (ALF)
The Annual Loss Factor (ALF) software provides a step-by-step method of calculating the energy performance of conventional New Zealand homes. It is an alternative solution for determining the Building Performance Index (BPI) which can be used to show compliance with NZ Building Code clause H1 Energy efficiency. The software also calculates compliance with the Schedule and the Calculation Methods of NZS 4218:2009 Thermal insulation – Housing and small buildings. An updated version of the tool, ALF 4.0, was released on 19 February 2019.
NZS 4218:2009 Calculation Method Tool
This tool on the BRANZ website calculates heat loss for the Calculation Method of NZS 4218:2009 Thermal insulation – Housing and small buildings. Designers select the climate zone, wall construction type(s) and so on, and the tool applies the Calculation Method automatically, showing whether the details pass or fail compliance requirements. The tool may be used as an Alternative Method for demonstrating compliance.
This BRANZ resource provides actual cost and return data for performance improvements for new homes in the areas of comfortable temperatures, energy efficiency and water management. Figures are available for nine climate zones, from Auckland to Invercargill.
The performance upgrades are based on independent research and are region-specific where possible. Only the most cost-effective improvements have been selected. All figures are estimates and should be seen as starting points for discussions.
The resource can be used in conjunction with ALF and the Photovoltaic Generation Calculator. You can find more information here.
Toitū Envirocare (a subsidiary of Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, a Government-owned Crown Research Institute) provides information on independent carbon audits and third-party certification. Its carbonzero and carbonreduce certification programmes are accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) and were the world’s first carbon certification programme to be accredited under ISO 14065.
Monitoring the performance of a house is critical to ensure that all systems are running as they should be. BRANZ Senior Sustainable Building Scientist Roman Jaques suggests some ideas for getting started.
Photovoltaic generation calculator
A household can generate its own electricity from sunlight with a photovoltaic system on the roof. The Toolbox on the BRANZ website has a photovoltaic generation calculator that can tell you how much electricity a PV system can produce. Just enter a few facts about the size of system, whether it is flat or inclined, how far away from facing north it is and so on, and at the click of a button, you can find out how much power you can expect it to generate.
Window Energy Efficiency Rating System (WEERS)
The design and installation of windows has a major impact on a building's energy efficiency with up to 40% of heat loss being through glass. Windows affect how much energy buildings use, how warm or cold they are and how comfortable they are for the occupants.
When replacing glazing, one tool that can help is the Window Energy Efficiency Rating System (WEERS), a 6-star rating system. WEERS combines the thermal performance of the frame and glazing, together with the size of the window, to calculate an individual thermal performance rating RW for each window.
You can find more information in BRANZ Bulletin 579 WEERS – Window Energy Efficiency Rating System.
Updated: 12 November 2019
Thermal simulation tools
Simulation software can measure the impact that design decisions are likely to have on the thermal performance of a building. They can guide a designer to the optimal passive design for a project. Some of the main international software tools available are discussed on the thermal simulation page.
Updated: 29 June 2016