Home Sustainability Assessment - do you really need one?

By Eco Guy 4:36am 12th May 2010
Home Sustainability Assessments, are they actually assessing your home or assessing your ability to pay for more green modifications...

On the face of it Home Sustainability Assessments sound like a good idea, someone who has trained up to be an assessor comes round to your house, spends about 90 minutes having a look around and then goes and produces a report that tells you how to be more green. Sounds sweet and innocent on the face of it; but these Assessors, far from being individuals and experts with no vested interest are actually often people right in the thick of the Eco and Green building business.

The trouble here is that rather than getting an unbiased independent report, you will instead get a report which is more of a precursor to being led along to purchase certain green goods and services. This can even go all the way up to being introduced to green architects and housing designers as Assessors might conclude the best way for you to be green is to rebuild! Remember the Assessor is getting a minimum of $150 to maybe $200 for about 3 hours work (inc travel costs) on an ad hoc basis - this is not enough on its own to be solely employed as an Assessor - they will more than likely have other income sources related to the act of Assessment.

Remember, according to the Assessors Code of Conduct:

Assessors must not undertake professional responsibilities beyond their competence or authority nor offer services for which they cannot demonstrate the skill, knowledge and/or experience required by any of:

a) this Code;
b) applicable local government, State or Federal laws and regulations; and
c)  reasonable industry practice.

If Assessors are unsure of their competence to perform a requested service, they must seek advice and assistance from their Accrediting Organisation.

In other words, if the Assessor is a trained builder, building designer, architect, solar power expert, etc - they are able to discuss and talk with you on such matters and are not purely limited to the specifics of the Assessment.

So what can you do? We suggest the following:
  • Make it clear when booking the assessment that you want an 'independent' assessor, i.e. someone without a vested interest in the building or building design trades.
  • Ask for the business card of the Assessor, if they refuse, deny them entry. If the business card indicates vested interest, refuse them entry. Remember its your right to demand a fair and independent assessment!
  • Get educated. There are plenty of online articles on our website which will go a long way to helping your directly understand what is possible to be fixed with your house to make it more green.
At the end of the day its your choice, but do understand being green is big business now and that does not necessarily mean it is really all that green..

Related Content Tags: australia, green building

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