A fully integrated residential property sector specific sustainability assessment and rating system does not currently exist.
Until now, there has been no system that brings together all the diverse elements of residential properties - design, construction, materials, fitout, and locational aspects - into one assessment and rating framework. (Cold include images or a diagram of each of these)
In achieving this, LIVING KEY provides an integrated and unified rating assessment of not only the performance of each individual category of the property, but also the whole property. In doing so, this allows the property owner, and a broad range of industry professionals, such as building designers, developers, real estate agents, to understand the whole (or holistic) performance of the property, and how each of the elements of the property are inter-related.
There are individual systems that quantify and rate performance of certain elements or components of buildings and properties: e.g.
- the Nationwide Home Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) simulates the thermal performance of the base building,
- Energy Star measures/rates the energy efficiency of appliances and some fixtures,
- Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS) measures/rates water efficiency of fixtures and appliances;
- Windows Efficiency Rating Scheme (WERS) provide a rating performance of window glazing and frames;
- e-Tool calculates the life-cycles of properties
- Liveable House Design Guidelines codify universal access; and
- Urban design codes, such as Liveable Neighbourhoods describes best-practice in urban design.
All these are embedded in the Living Key assessment tool .
Living Key addresses a gap in the residential property sector by providing a rigorous, quantifiable and affordable performance measure of all key sustainability features and attributes of new or existing properties, and then describes the result in an easy to understand report whereby the consumer and industry professionals alike can understand and make an informed decision about the performance of the property.
In effect it provides a language that describes the social/community and environmental performance in a simple scorecard, but which is underpinned by technical rigour, thereby removing any subjectivity by the assessor.
Although there are a number of similar assessment systems operating in the property sector, none of these are targeted directly to the residential sector; nor do they describe the outcomes,benefits or attributes in a manner included in the Living Key reports.