Assessors Procedures Manual

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					         Home Sustainability Assessment Scheme




       Assessors Procedures Manual




                                July 2009




Prepared by Association of Building Sustainability Assessors for the Australian
                                Government
Table of Contents
Table of Contents .................................................................................................................................... 2
Introduction ............................................................................................................................................ 3
Background to the Home Sustainability Assessment Scheme ................................................................ 3
   Objectives ........................................................................................................................................... 3
Becoming an Assessor............................................................................................................................. 3
   Training ............................................................................................................................................... 3
   Security clearance ............................................................................................................................... 4
   Insurances ........................................................................................................................................... 4
      Public Liability ................................................................................................................................. 4
      Professional Indemnity ................................................................................................................... 4
   Contract with DEWHA ......................................................................................................................... 5
   To conduct assessments supported by the Green Loans Program..................................................... 5
Understanding the role of the assessor .................................................................................................. 5
Conducting an assessment - from start to finish .................................................................................... 6
   Prior to the assessment ...................................................................................................................... 6
   Initial phone contact with household ................................................................................................. 6
      Beginning the professional relationship ......................................................................................... 6
      Identify householder motivation .................................................................................................... 7
      Identify householder expectations ................................................................................................. 7
      Begin the risk assessment ............................................................................................................... 7
      Setting the ground rules of the assessment ................................................................................... 7
      Request further documentation ..................................................................................................... 7
   Arriving at the front door.................................................................................................................... 8
   Conducting the home inspection and assessment ............................................................................. 8
      Minimising risk of injury and damage ............................................................................................. 8
      Gathering data ................................................................................................................................ 9
      Additional services .......................................................................................................................... 9
   Conversing with the household .......................................................................................................... 9
      Engaging the householder ............................................................................................................ 10
      Communication ............................................................................................................................. 10
      Supporting your householder ....................................................................................................... 13
      Overcoming barriers of change..................................................................................................... 13
   The Assessment Report .................................................................................................................... 13
   After the assessment is complete ..................................................................................................... 14
   Submitting the invoice ...................................................................................................................... 14
The role of the Chief Auditor ................................................................................................................ 14
Appendix 1: Green Loans Audit Summary ............................................................................................ 15
Appendix 2: Valuable Resources ........................................................................................................... 16
Appendix 3: Glossary ............................................................................................................................ 17




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Introduction
This Assessors Procedures Manual contains procedures, guidance, helpful hints, essential background
and reference materials required to conduct a Home Sustainability Assessment recognised by the
Home Sustainability Assessment Scheme (the Scheme) managed by the Australian Government
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA). Assessments conducted
under the Scheme may be funded by the Green Loans Program.
The materials presented in this Manual are consistent with those developed for the Professional Home
Sustainability Assessment course and published in the Code of Professional Practice for assessors as
approved under the Scheme.
This Manual should be followed in conjunction with existing Scheme resources. A list of additional
Scheme and related publications is given in Appendix 2.
Please note that the materials in this document may change in line with the development of the
Scheme.


Background to the Home Sustainability Assessment Scheme
The Scheme has been established by the Australian Government to improve the quality of home
sustainability assessments through the development of minimum standards in the assessor education
and training, assessor national registration and assessor support provision, assessment scope and
quality, assessment tools, and the audit of assessment services.
Assessments conducted under the Scheme may be eligible for funding under the Green Loans
Program, a new Australian Government initiative managed by the Department of the Environment,
Water, Heritage and the Arts to encourage householders to improve their home’s energy and water
efficiency and to assist in addressing the challenges of climate change.
Objectives
The key objective of the Scheme is:
    •   to encourage the wide-scale improvement of energy and water efficiency in the existing
        Australian housing stock through the provision of high quality, independent home
        sustainability assessment services.


Becoming an Assessor
Before being able to deliver home sustainability assessments under the Scheme, all assessors are
required to complete the following steps:
    •   Training
    •   Accreditation
    •   Insurance
    •   Contract.
These requirements are described in more detail below.
Training
Before providing services under the Scheme assessors must be suitably qualified and experienced.
The Professional Home Sustainability Assessment course has been developed to assist relevant
experts to build their skills and knowledge. Participants new to the industry may be required by their
training provider to undertake additional (prerequisite) training prior to undertaking the Professional
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Home Sustainability Assessment course. A list of approved training organisations is available at:
www.hsas.net.au
Accreditation with an Assessor Accrediting Organisation
All Assessors must become a member of an Assessor Accrediting Organisation (AAO) recognised by
the Scheme. The Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) is currently the only AAO
to be recognised under the Scheme.
To gain accreditation each assessor must enter into an agreement with the AAO. Such an agreement
may include:
    •   the minimum level of qualification and experience required to be eligible for accreditation
    •   obligations to abide by the provisions of the Code of Professional Practice and comply with
        the requirements of this Assessors Procedures Manual
    •   the requirement to pay fees
    •   requirements to hold and maintain specified levels of insurance, including but not limited to
        Public Liability and Professional Indemnity cover
    •   requirements to maintain skills, knowledge and competence by complying with continuing
        professional development requirements
    •   the requirement to record all Home Sustainability Assessments undertaken and participate in
        audits
    •   terms governing disciplinary proceedings and action that the AAO may undertake
    •   terms governing the suspension or cancellation of Accreditation
    •   other terms and conditions as determined by the relevant AAO.
Specific requirements by for ABSA accreditation is available at: www.hsas.net.au
Security clearance
As part of the accreditation process each assessor is required to undergo a police check. These checks
help to determine if you are deemed to be a fit and trustworthy member of the community to conduct
services under the Scheme.
Insurances
Assessors are required to hold appropriate levels of suitable insurance cover including public liability
and professional indemnity.
        Public Liability
        This policy covers instances of legal liability to pay compensation for personal injury and/or
        property damage caused by an occurrence in connection with the organisation’s activities.
        This may be required if, for instance, a householder was injured tripping over the assessors
        equipment or if the assessor broke something in the house. Cover provides a level of
        protection if the householder was to sue and be awarded compensation for the loss.
        Professional Indemnity
        Households are likely to invest significant financial resources to undertake sustainability
        actions recommended by assessors. This type of insurance coverage is extended to
        professional staff who provide advice to householders, where there is some risk associated
        with the householder following the advice and being disadvantaged as a result. i.e.
        Householders may be disadvantaged if they purchase on a recommendation from an assessor
        and are dissatisfied with the results of their purchase.
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Contract with DEWHA
To conduct assessments supported by the Green Loans Program each assessor is required to sign a
contract with DEWHA. This can be in the form of a contract for an individual or a contract for an
organisation of one or more assessors. Details are available at:
www.environment.gov.au/greenloans


Understanding the role of the assessor
Clearly understanding your role as an assessor for the Scheme is vital to the success of conducting
assessments. The three main objectives for an assessor are:
    •   to conduct a home sustainability assessment as described by this Manual and associated
        materials
    •   to engage householders and provide them with information regarding specific ways they can
        reduce their energy and water use and decrease their greenhouse impact
    •   to provide information gathered during the assessment to the organisation funding that
        assessment.
As with any form of interaction with clients you may be asked questions that are not able to be
answered by you at the time of the assessment. You may also be asked questions that are not relevant
to the Assessment itself. It is essential that assessors recognise the limits of their professional
standing and do not provide advice beyond their expertise. It is always better to refer to popular
reference guides or to suggest seeking alternative expertise. The Scheme is not designed to provide
information on:
    •   architectural changes to the home. Note, if at a later date, there is an opportunity to do some
        value adding by way of a separate consultation then that is fine, but remember to keep within
        the boundaries of the Scheme
    •   any product or service that has not been duly authorised by the National Administrator in
        writing.
There is no doubt that assessors sent in to the community must have:
    •   great integrity, i.e. they will not steal from or harm the householder in any way
    •   a high professional capacity and work ethic, i.e. they won’t provide dubious advice or act in
        such a way that might lead to accidents
    •   a high level of sensitivity, i.e. they won’t offend the householder.




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Conducting an assessment - from start to finish
The assessment from start to finish includes:
    •   Prior to the assessment
    •   Initial phone contact with household
    •   Arriving at the front door
    •   Conducting the assessment
    •   Conversing with the household
    •   The Report
    •   After the assessment.
These requirements are described in more detail below.


Prior to the assessment
For assessments carried out for the Green Loans Program assessors will be notified of an appointment
via email. Those appointments may be changed from time to time due to unanticipated
circumstances. Once an appointment has been booked it is the responsibility of the assessor to
facilitate changes requested by the client. For assessments booked under the Green Loans Program
any changes must be entered into the official appointment booking service.
Assessors should consider the best for their day – allocate time for contacting clients, for completing
officework and in particular signing off Assessment Reports, and time for improving skills and
knowledge through continuing professional development opportunities and technical support services
provided by your accrediting organisation.
Initial phone contact with household
On receiving an appointment the assessors is responsible for contacting the household to:
    •   Confirm the booking
    •   Establish a rapport with the client
    •   Start the risk assessment process
    •   Establish a shared understanding of what the service will be.
This initial contact must occur no less than 24 hours ahead of the scheduled appointment.
Beginning the professional relationship
Your initial contact with the client is important - making a good impression is the first step to
conducting a successful assessment. The benefit of doing an assessment is that it enables the assessor
personal contact with the householder. We can learn so much from looking at the way other people
live, how they use energy and water and what they are prepared to do to reduce their consumption.
Lessons learnt can be used to strengthen approaches in future and help with policy making decisions.
The householder also has the opportunity to learn and gather information to become aware of their
“big ticket” energy and water use items. If they are to maximise this learning experience, and
ultimately their potential for adopting energy conservation measures, you as the assessor need to be
focused on the householder needs.
A good assessor needs to be technically credible in the eyes of the householder and adept at
communicating effectively. As much as a householder may be impressed by jargon, they will learn
far more if you use simple, descriptive language. For example, even though the general public is
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becoming more aware of the basic principles of energy consumption, many people still do not
understand the physics of energy or the relationship between energy and greenhouse gas emissions or
the difference between photovoltaics and solar thermal so using analogies from everyday life can be a
very effective tool to maximise learning.
Identify householder motivation
At this stage you do not want to have a lengthy discussion with the householder over the phone, but it
is wise to attempt to begin to understand the householders motivation so that you can begin to ‘set the
scene’ for your assessment.
Identify householder expectations
Get an understanding of who your client is and what aspects of the assessment service is most
relevant. For example, a renter is probably more interested in the things they can influence such as
appliances and their behaviour; yet an owner may be more interested in adding value to the property.
Ask the householder to be prepared for the assessment by:
    •   advising them that they need approximately 90 minutes for the assessment and that they must
        accompany you at all times
    •   encouraging them to undertake a self assessment if it is available
    •   asking the householder if they have any questions/concerns about the program.
If you wish to offer the household any approved additional services this is the time to seek agreement
and to explain what that will involve.
Remember the householder feels engaged early on if you have contacted them promptly.
Begin the risk assessment
Assessors must always be careful to avoid circumstances that put themselves or their clients at risk.
At this stage, ask about any hazards – are there any dogs at the residence? Or is this house
undergoing renovations now? Or is it a building site? Are there any restrictions to you looking
around the yard?
If during this initial contact with the client you become concerned about possible risks, either cancel
the appointment and report the issue to the appointment booking service, or consider having a suitable
person accompany you to that appointment. At all times consider your health and safety.
Setting the ground rules of the assessment
Communicate that it is essential that a responsible adult who resides or has resided in that household
accompanies you at all times. A neighbour is not going to be able to answer your questions about the
household’s interaction with the energy and water systems with accuracy.
Request further documentation
    •   Energy and water bills
    •   House plans or technical specifications (only if you are sufficiently skilled to use this
        information)
    •   Specifications of existing insulation




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Arriving at the front door
Timely arrival is vital when carrying out an assessment. Always be polite and on time. If you’re
going to be more than five (5) minutes late for an assessment ring ahead and let the householder
know. You can also use this as a strategy to ensure the householder is available at the agreed time.
Present your Assessor Identification Tag (badge) - this is extremely important. You must carry it with
you at all times to provide reassurance to the household that you are the person they have selected to
conduct the assessment.
Introduce yourself to the householders, and explain the Householder Declaration Form and the Terms
and Conditions for the assessment service. The service can not continue until you have obtained their
signature on the form and received their agreement to enter the home and conduct the assessment.
For Green Loans assessments the householder keeps the original (white page) and the assessor keeps
the copy (yellow page). Householder Declarations must be kept in a safe location by the assessor for
no less than seven years and be made available to the National Administrator or their agent upon
request.


Conducting the home inspection and assessment
To conduct the inspection (or assessment) of the key energy and water systems of the home, and to
identify the key interactions of the household with those systems, the assessor should consider:
    •   minimising risk of injury or damage
    •   data collection tools
    •   approved additional services.
Minimising risk of injury and damage
    •   Avoid moving large, heavy or fragile items. Take care when moving large appliances such as
        fridges, washing machines in order to take power measurements.
    •   If the householder is accompanying you, seek their permission to enter rooms or touch
        equipment, keeping in mind that there may be rooms householders may not wish you to enter.
    •   Assessors are not required to climb ladders or similar instruments to conduct the assessment.
        If conducting approved additional services try to avoid using step ladders to access dangerous
        areas such as roof spaces and, if it is necessary to do so, make sure the ladder is stable and a
        suitable person is holding it steady.
    •   Be aware of your own equipment and cables, particularly when there are small children in the
        house.
    •   Ensure your own equipment is kept away from water when assessing areas such as
        bathrooms, laundries, pools and other possibly hazardous areas.
    •   Take care when accessing appliances that may be elevated or mounted high on a wall – dryers
        etc.
    •   Be aware of pipes that may be hot when looking at hot water appliances and plumbing.
    •   Be aware of hot surfaces on heaters and stoves and hot water storage tanks, as well as
        excessively hot water.
    •   Be aware of any faulty or damaged appliances or leads and power points. Make your
        householders aware of hazards and advise them to have them repaired.


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    •   It may be wise to wear protective clothing in some circumstances such as work gloves or
        overalls. At minimum sturdy shoes should be worn.
If at any time during the assessment you feel that your safety is threatened or you are uncomfortable
with what is happening, leave in a courteous manner. Let someone know straight away. If you do
leave the house before completing the assessment it is important that you let the appointment booking
service know that you left and why. If the house is unsafe we do not want to send another assessor
into the same situation.
Gathering data
A trained assessor is always gathering data as they walk up to the front door and walk around and
through the house. With practice you will be able to arrive at a household and discover the
orientation, what type of roofing, garden structure etc. This gives you an advantage once you do your
outside assessment – you can use leading comments like; “I notice you have very large west facing
windows, external blinds will keep the sun off the glass and stop the room from heating up in
summer.” This is a good time to refer back to your discussion on windows when you were inside the
house.
An Assessment Workbook has been developed to assist gathering data. Alternatively an assessor can
take the Assessment Calculator on a PDA or laptop and enter data directly into the assessment tool.
The Assessment Workbook performs two functions. It acts as a guide for you to complete a
comprehensive assessment but it also serves as a valuable data collection tool. Every assessment will
be different and each household will have different priorities but we need to collect all the data from
all the households before a comprehensive assessment can be given.
Gather only as much detail as is reasonable. Remember the assessment calculator (tool) has default
values for most appliances and equipment so the data collection exercise should focus on which ones
are commonly used, and in particular on those that may be unusually large or small, very efficient or
very inefficient. Experience is the best guide, and it may take a few assessments to build a sense of
the most important bits of data to collect during the inspection process.
Additional services
Assessors are able to provide additional services beyond the requirements of the Scheme under certain
circumstances when approved in writing by the National Administrator. Those services must:
    •   be free to the household
    •   be relevant to the home sustainability assessment
    •   not detract from the original service
    •   not be conditional upon a commercial activity.
Typical additional services include the installation of low energy lights or low water use fittings, the
installation of draught proofing materials and fittings, and the installation of insulation.


Conversing with the household
Within the average 90 minute allocation to a home sustainability assessment no less than 30 minutes
should be dedicated to conversing with the household about their green aspirations and the
development of an Action Plan that the household can use to remind them of the strategies they have
determined to reduce their energy, water and greenhouse gas emission impact.
Below is some valuable guidance on conversing with the household.



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Engaging the householder
    •   First - seek to understand!
    •   Be positive and supportive
    •   Be relaxed
    •   Avoid being directive or pressuring
    •   Use plain English
Communication
When discussing windows a highly skilled communicator might say:
           “Do you find this room heats up in summer? That is because the afternoon
           sun strikes your windows directly. What do you do currently to reduce the
           heat? External blinds will keep the sun off the glass and stop the room from
           heating up in summer.”
           You could add a comment such as “when the west sun shines on this window,
           it’s like switching on x single bar electric radiators at the hottest time of the
           day (roughly each 1.5 square metres is equivalent to a single bar (1 kW)
           electric radiator) so outside blinds can cut out most of this heat.”
A less skilled communicator might say:
           “Since these windows face west they need blinds”
When discussing draft sealing a highly skilled communicator might say:
           “Using an incense stick around doorways and windows, let’s see how the
           smoke is being blown into the room. I bet you can feel the drafts in here in
           winter. When you add up all the spaces the air is moving in this room it
           would be about the same as having a hole the size of a basketball in the wall.”
A less skilled communicator might say;
           “Installation of draft blockers will improve your thermal efficiency by X%.”
How you present yourself to the community is critical to how well you (and the ideas you are trying to
convey) will be received. This is particularly the case when entering people’s private home. They
may feel vulnerable, and sometimes slightly defensive about what they will and will not accept in
their own home. An assessor needs to be sensitive to these issues.
When talking with someone in their home the assessor should always use plain English language and
explain any jargon which needs to be used.
Draw out information from the householder about how they use and conserve energy. Please note that
people may be a bit embarrassed about how much energy they use and therefore may underestimate
their consumption.
Make every effort to make the householder comfortable with having you in their house. This means
being relaxed no matter what the surroundings are like and not making disparaging remarks about the
house or the householders.
Use the time the householder is accompanying you on the walk-through to engage the householder in
energy efficiency practices, explain what the issues are and answer any queries they might have as
you go through the house.
Remember that everyone is different and what is likely to make one person feel uncomfortable or
annoyed may leave another unabashed. Comments about your views of the world or religion have the
potential to go down like a lead balloon. Sticking to the issue at hand is generally advisable.
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Beware of angry people who are looking for someone to blame if they perceive their energy bills are
too high, this could be anyone from a member of their household to their energy supplier or the
government. Provide them with the facts and your observations, but don’t get too involved.
Let householders set the agenda (after you have set the ground rules).
Householder questions – Open ended and W questions
What people say isn’t always what they do so while it is essential that the assessor exchanges
information with the householder, asking questions about their experience and their behaviour, what
the householder says and what actually happens may be two different things entirely. Asking open
ended question what, why, when and how often help the householder to think about other
possibilities. Sometime household dynamics may be operating which impact upon the integrity of the
information provided.
        For example, in homes with multiple occupants, there could be behaviour that is going
        unnoticed by the main householder but the bill data is showing you that the household actions
        are different then those stated. It is easy to underestimate the time spent in the shower, for
        instance, or over-estimate the amount of recycling that occurs.
People don’t always recognise their own habits. If the information being provided does not match the
actual energy usage the assessor can ask the householder additional questions to try and identify what
might be the problem. If the householder remains firm in their original view, it is a good time to test
some of the equipment for faults or to show how much energy is actually being used.
Being Positive
Be positive and supportive again we will use our highly skilled communication strategies by saying
“by implementing some of the strategies we discussed today in during your assessment you won’t
need to use your air conditioner as much and your rooms will still be comfortable and affordable”.
Try to steer away from comments like “This air conditioner is costing you a lot of money!”
Being positive means creating ‘good’ conversations, using phrases such as “yes and …” remembering
your manners and being polite. Even if you think something is ‘really bad’ it is not effective
communication to say so, particularly if the solution can be expressed in a positive manner.
Go with your gut instincts – they are often correct and finally try to make others involved in the
conversation look good! If someone is incorrect in their statements instead of saying ‘no you are
wrong’ try saying something like “I have different information …”
Active Listening
Active listening is a skill that needs to be developed in most people. Sometimes it is easy to get
carried away with the conversation so it is important to practice listening so you are able to participate
in the conversation but keep your personal views and opinions to a minimum and use facts and
anecdotal references that suite the situation.
Understanding motivation
It is important to discover early in your interactions with the householder their motivation for the
assessment. Often the assumption is made that because using less energy saves money, people will
participate in energy saving programs. This is not always the case.
Money as a motivator
People don’t see energy costs and are not able to relate them to appliance running costs. Energy is
still very inexpensive. Pleasure, convenience or status, may outweigh the cost motivator. Money
won’t necessarily be the ticket item that leads to substantial household change, so be careful not to
rely too heavily upon it. There are some instances where money may be a successful motivator such
as when the emphasis can be placed on avoiding the loss of money rather than saving money.

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Information as a motivator
Information on it’s own may not be the best herald for seeking behaviour change but coupled with
good advice provided using good communication styles may leave a lasting impression which
encourages change at a later date.
People need to feel good about themselves and what they do so they will rationalise their actions.
Sometimes they tend to ignore information that does not fit with their values and ideas.
It is important to discover the householder motivation so you are able to provide information which
will provide motivation to the householder you. Make sure the information you provide is accurate
and current. So much is changing in our information and knowledge base we need to be on top of
new developments all the time.
Comfort versus greenhouse gas emission reductions
A number of measures which are recommended in an assessment have the impact of increasing
comfort, and should lead to emission reductions if the householders then change their behaviour as a
result. For instance, in houses that are draughty or uninsulated, the heater may be turned up higher to
compensate for the heat loss. It cannot be assumed however that the householder will change their
behaviour once the original cause of their behaviour has been rectified. They may simply enjoy
feeling more comfortable and shed a jumper rather than shedding a few degrees on the heater
thermostat. One way to address this is to draw to the householder’s attention to the desirability of
reducing greenhouse emissions and hope that this goal will be reflected in their behaviour. Of course,
in houses where the heater hasn’t been used to compensate for the draughts (such as energy conscious
low income houses), the householder may actually be comfortable in their home for the first time.
If the assessor has succeeded in turning an uncomfortable home into one that is comfortable, albeit
without reducing greenhouse emissions, this is not in itself a bad thing. They may be more successful
with other elements of the assessment or provide the householder with knowledge which will prevent
future potential emissions growth.
Family and household dynamics
In a family or shared household you may have a number of people who all use energy differently. As
stated above, this can lead to incorrect assumptions about how the energy is being used.
Energy usage can also become a contentious issue within households, and the assessor could find that
they are being seen as the arbiter who will make rulings on who is right and who is wrong. This
situation is highly problematic as chances are the person who is most fired up about the issue has
invited the assessment in the first place. The assessor will have to deal with this situation most
sensitively, ensuring a balanced assessment of what the issues are and not buying into any domestic
battles.
Creating a vision with the householder – clear achievable goals
At this stage the householder may be very enthusiastic, depending of course on their motivation. This
is a good time to try and develop a plan of action with the householder. Developing an “Action Plan”
with the householder can assist them in moving forward by reminding them of the ideas they
generated, the values they thought worthwhile, and the practical targets they wish to reach. At this
stage you can develop a template for yourself with the following prompts:
        •   Ask
        •   Observe
        •   Measure
        •   Discuss
        •   Recommend
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        •   Record.
Renovations
Advice about major renovations is outside the scope of the Scheme. Assessors should direct
households to guide materials such as the Your Home Technical Manual and Your Home Renovator’s
Guide, and to other government approved or recommended advice services. Remember that assessors
must act as independent experts and can not provide advice that is commercial in nature. Once the
assessment is complete and the Assessment report has been sent to the funding organisation, assessors
are free to offer supplementary services appropriate to their background.
Supporting your householder
Encouraging words and a positive attitude will help you to support the householder whether they are
the tenant, agent or owner of the property. This is the perfect place for encouraging stories you hear
from the greater community. This is also the time to discuss expectations, such as what is a realistic
expectation and what could be misinformation which could lead to a dissatisfied householder.
Overcoming barriers of change
Although there are barriers to change there are many opportunities to overcome them. Understand the
key barriers to change and be ready to provide positive guidance and support. Typical barriers
include:
    •   Capital costs – known and hidden
    •   Not my responsibility (I’m not paying the bills)
    •   Hidden costs of consumption
    •   Lack of clear information
    •   I can’t make a difference
    •   Habits hard to break
    •   Service expectations are high: e.g. temperature, light levels, T.V. on at the flick of a switch
    •   Physical configuration makes conservation difficult
    •   Legitimate needs of different users: e.g. older eyes need more light than younger eyes
    •   I don’t believe in climate change.


The Assessment Report
The assessment calculator (tool) provided to accredited assessors generates the Assessment Report.
The assessor is responsible for checking that the report is a true and accurate assessment and that the
eligible items and recommended actions listed in the report are reasonable.
    1. Check the data
       During the course of your assessment you will have collected a lot of information, both first
       hand and from members of the household. Check that the data has been correctly entered into
       the calculator and that the report accurately describes the assessment.
    2. Prioritising recommendations
       The recommendations are automatically generated from the data you have provided. If the
       recommendations do not match your expert determinations, please check the data for errors.
       If you are convinced one or more of the recommendations is not reasonable, please advise
       your accrediting organisation of the problem.


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    3. Submitting your information
       Once you have filled out all of the data collection and answered all of the questions in your
       calculator (tool), you will need to submit the information via email to the funding
       organisation.
    4. Posting the report
       Assessors providing services to the Green Loans Program are not responsible for printing and
       providing the Assessment Report to the household. To ensure the lowest environmental
       impact, the Department will be responsible for providing Green Loans funded reports to the
       household.
After the assessment is complete
After each assessment it is good practice to get into the routine of evaluating the quality of service
provided. Considerations could include:
    •   Review what went well and what didn’t go so well
    •   Think about the questions you were asked: Could you answer them all? Do you need to do
        further research? When you have to do it again, what would you do differently?
    •   Consider any alterations to your script
    •   Congratulate yourself on taking another step forward.


Submitting the invoice
Invoicing procedures for Green Loans funded assessment services will be provided by the
Department.


The role of the Chief Auditor
The success of the Scheme is contingent upon consistent and reliable outcomes being achieved
through high quality standardised assessment services and the correct use of assessment calculator.
A team of Home Sustainability Assessment Scheme Auditors will conduct audits of the work of
registered Assessors who have carried out work for the Australian Government.
These audits will consider:
    •   the behaviour of the assessor in their dealings with the household
    •   the behaviour of the assessor in their dealings with the Australian Government
    •   the accuracy of the home sustainability assessment
    •   the quality and independence of the advice to households
    •   the fulfillment of obligations by the assessor to the Code of Professional Practice.
Auditors are typically highly experienced and qualified assessors or residential building
environmental performance experts. To avoid conflict of interest issues during the period of audit
service contract, auditors will not be eligible to conduct commercial home sustainability assessment
services or be associated with a company providing those assessment services under the Scheme.
To provide some guidance on the types of auditing services likely a summary taken mostly from the
‘Green Loans Audit Scheme’ scoping study is Appendix 1.
Please Note: The failure of the assessor to appropriately participate in an audit will result in the
referral of the assessor to the Accrediting Organisation for consideration of disciplinary action.
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Appendix 1: Green Loans Audit Summary
The role of an audit scheme is to provide the community and the government with confidence that
assessors will meet standards defined under the assessor registration, accreditation and quality
assurance schemes. Examination of existing relevant building industry schemes both nationally and
internationally revealed that transparency of the Scheme is vital to engender confidence in
government and the community. This requires that all assessors be registered and the list be made
available to the public. Assessors must be shown to be fit and proper, be technically qualified, and
conduct themselves appropriately.
Quality control must be demonstrated through the auditing scheme and rapid response to complaints
by the members of the public. Technical competence and personal/professional behaviour issues of
home sustainability assessors are recommended as the targets of the audit scheme - home owners
should not perceive that the Government is investigating them (other than in a situation where fraud is
suspected). Home owners need to have a sense that the Government is helping them through auditing
– directly when responding to a complaint, or indirectly by seeking feedback to improve the Scheme.
The scope of the audit scheme should include at least three audit steps, and be based on the original
Home Sustainability Assessment Report requested by the home owner. The maintenance of a Register
of completed assessments would be critical to the audit process. There should be three levels of audit,
each triggered by routine processes built into the data base for completed reports and complaints:
Level 1 Audit
This would encompass an objective desk audit of the Home Sustainability Assessment Report to the
householder by the assessor to ensure that it covered the necessary scope of energy and water systems
and behaviours. This would be the lowest level of audit and would be performed on all assessments
through a similar process to the ABSA Certificate Manager. This audit would not need to have a
‘tool’ but rather would be based on data entered into the database by the assessor. Those assessments
that do not pass at this level would be escalated to the next level of audit.
Level 2 Audit
This would encompass objective desk audits of the Home Sustainability Assessment Report and the
Loan Statement submitted to the Register after a home owner had obtained a loan and undertaken the
recommended improvements. This audit could also include telephone contact of the home owner.
This level of audit may arise upon receipt of a complaint (in which case both assessor and home
owner would need to be contacted) or as part of a more rigorous audit of an assessor because of
concerns over a Level 1 audit (in which case the home owner would be contacted in the first place).
Level 3 Audit
This would encompass an inspection of selected random features of a dwelling, and a short interview
with the owners to verify that the correct assessment had been made and that the assessor performed
his role professionally and in a courteous manner. This would be the highest level of audit and would
only occur in a limited number of situations:
    •   driven by complaints
    •   escalations from lower levels based on automatic flags in the Register
    •   suspicions of fraud.
To facilitate audits, the data base is expected to provide alert flags to detect simple errors, omissions
of appropriate actions, inclusions of inappropriate actions and identify possible fraud.




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Appendix 2: Valuable Resources
  •   Professional Home Sustainability Assessment course
  •   HSAS Code of Professional Practice
  •   Green Loans program materials (www.environment.gov.au/greenloans)
  •   Your Home Technical Manual and Renovator’s Guide (www.yourhome.gov.au)
  •   ATA Renter’s Booklet
  •   Green Loans brochure
  •   Green Loans Prospectus (communication guidelines for stakeholders)
  •   ‘Sustainable House’ by Michael Mobbs
  •   ‘Warm House, Cool House’, by Nick Hollo
  •   ‘Energy Efficient Building Design Resource Book’, by Renewable Energy Centre
  •   ‘The Green Technology House and Garden Book’
  •   “Motivating Home Energy Action – a Handbook of What Works“ by Michelle Shipworth




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Appendix 3: Glossary
Accreditation      means recognition by an Accrediting Organisation that a person has satisfied all relevant
                   requirements of the Scheme including undertaking to abide by the Assessor Code of
                   Professional Practice.
Accreditation      means the identification number assigned to an Assessor on registration by an Accrediting
Number             Organisation.
Accrediting        means an organisation approved by the Department under the Protocol for Accrediting
Organisation       Organisations.
Accounting         means standards of that name maintained by the Australian Accounting Standards Board
Standards          (referred to in section 227 of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act
                   2001 (Cth)) or other accounting standards which are generally accepted and consistently
                   applied in Australia.
Advisers           means:
                   (a) the financial or legal advisers of a party; and
                   (b) the respective officers and employees of those financial or legal advisers. Assessment
                   means a Home Sustainability Assessment.
Assessment         means the identification number assigned when a booking is made for each Assessment
Reference          under the Program.
Number
Assessment         means a report provided under the Program, describing the Assessment findings,
Report             recommending actions, and providing details of where to get further services or
                   information, which is generated in accordance with the Green Loans Program Assessor
                   Procedures.
Assessment         means the date of issue printed on the Assessment Report.
Report Date
Assessment         means any software provided by the Department for use in conducting Assessments, and
Software           available to Assessors on the Program Website as updated from time to time.
Assessor           means a person who is qualified and accredited to perform a Home Sustainability
                   Assessment and who is on a Register of Assessors.
Assessor Code of means the document that sets out the principles and standards of professional conduct and
Professional     competence that Assessors must abide by in conducting Assessments under the Scheme,
Practice         developed by the Department and available on the Program Website, as varied by the
                 Department from time to time.
Assessor           means an agreement between the Department and an Assessor under the Program, as varied
Contract           by the Department from time to time.
Auditor            means a suitably qualified person commissioned by the Department to review the quality of
                   Assessments and check that Assessors are abiding by the Code.
Australian         means any entity recognised by the Australian Taxation Office as being a charitable
Registered         institution, having regard to the description in the 'Income tax guide for non-profit
Charity            organisations' published by the Australian Taxation Office.
Business Day       means a day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, public holiday or bank holiday in the place
                   where the act is to be performed or where the notice is received.
Chief Auditor      means an Auditor appointed by the Department to co-ordinate audit services in relation to
                   the quality of Assessments and Assessors.
Code               means the Assessor Code of Professional Practice.


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Confidential      means information that is by its nature confidential or a party knows or ought to know is
Information       confidential, but does not include information that is or becomes public knowledge
                  otherwise than by breach of a confidentiality obligation.
Department        means the Commonwealth of Australia represented by the Department of the Environment,
                  Water, Heritage and the Arts.
Eligible Action   means any action recommended in the Assessment Report provided to the Householder.
Financial         means an authorised deposit taking institution under the Banking Act 1959 (Cth) and
Institution       recognised by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). A list of authorised
                  deposit taking institutions is available from APRA at www.apra.gov.au.
Glossary          means this document, as varied by the Department from time to time. Green Loan means a
                  loan subsidised by the Department under the Program to assist a Householder to undertake
                  Eligible Actions for their Home.
Green Loan        means a declaration in the form required by the Department from time to time which has
Declaration       been completed and signed by a person who is seeking a Green Loan.
Green Loans       means the telephone service established by the Department to provide information on the
Information       Program, available on 1800 895 076.
Service
Green Loans       the procedures for Assessors participating in the Program, developed by the Department
Program           and available on the Program Website, as varied by the Department from time to time.
Assessor
Procedures
Green Loans       means the promotional guide to marketing aspects of the Program developed by the
Program Style     Department and available on the Program Website, as varied by the Department from time
Guide             to time.
GST Law           has the meaning given to it by section 195-1 of A New Tax System (Goods and Services
                  Tax) Act 1999 (Cth).
Home              means a residential dwelling that is a principal place of residence.
Home              means an energy use, water use and greenhouse gas emission assessment and calculation for
Sustainability    a Home conducted in accordance with the Green Loans Program Assessor Procedures.
Assessment
Household         means an individual, or a collection of individuals, living in a Home.
Householder       means an eligible person who requests an Assessment in respect of a Home.
Householder       means the declaration completed by the Householder prior to receiving an Assessment
Declaration       under the Program.
Intellectual      means all intellectual property rights, including the following rights:
Property Rights   (a) patents, copyright, rights in circuit layouts, designs, trade marks (including goodwill in
                  those marks) and domain names; (b) any application or right to apply for registration of any
                  of the rights referred to in paragraph (a); and (c) all rights of a similar nature to any of the
                  rights in paragraphs (a) and (b) which may subsist in Australia or elsewhere, whether or not
                  such rights are registered or capable of being registered.
Law               means any applicable statute, regulation, by-law, ordinance or subordinate legislation in
                  force from time to time in Australia, whether made by a State, a Territory, the
                  Commonwealth, or a local government, and includes the common law and rules of equity as
                  applicable from time to time.
Losses            means claims, liabilities, expenses, losses, damages and costs (including legal costs on a
                  full indemnity basis, whether incurred by or awarded against a party).
National          means the Department.
Administrator


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Non Attendance    where the Assessor attends a Home to conduct an Assessment and the Householder is not
                  available, or becomes unavailable, and less than 50% of the Assessment can be completed
                  by the Assessor.
Non Attendance    the fee applicable in the event of Non Attendance as described in the Schedule of Service
Fee               Charges.
Online Booking    means the Department's online Assessment booking facility for the Program located on the
System            Program Website.
Personal          has the meaning it has in section 6 of the Privacy Act, which is currently: 'information or an
Information       opinion (including information or an opinion forming part of a database), whether true or
                  not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an individual whose identity is
                  apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion.'
Phone Booking     means the Department's phone booking service for Assessments under the Program
Service           available on 1800 895 076.
Privacy Act       means the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
Program           means the Department's Green Loans Program which gives effect to the Australian
                  Government's 2008/09 Federal Budget announcement that funding would be available to
                  assist Australian families to install solar, water saving and energy efficient products.
Program           means the document that sets out the guidelines, eligibility criteria, conditions for
Guidelines        participation and general information about the Program developed by the Department and
                  available on the Program Website, as varied by the Department from time to time.
Program           means the website accessed through the following portal:
Website           http://www.environment.gov.au/greenloans
Protocol for      means the document governing the operation of Accrediting Organisations developed by
Accrediting       the Department and available on the Program Website, as varied by the Department from
Organisations     time to time.
Registered        means an organisation that provides Assessment training courses and meets the standards of
Training          the Australian Quality Training Framework: 2005 Standards for Registered Training
Organisation or   Organisations available at: http://www.dest.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/15CC7417-1804-4592-
RTO               92FA-A86F582B30E5/10888/AQTF_2005_RTO_standards.pdf, as varied from time to
                  time.
Register of       means a database of accredited persons under the Scheme maintained by an Accrediting
Assessors         Organisation.
Schedule of       means the schedule of Service Charges for the Program developed by the Department and
Service Charges   available on the Program Website, as varied by the Department from time to time.
Scheme            means the national home sustainability assessment scheme.
Self Assessment   means the answering or completion of a series of non-expert questions described in the
                  Green Loans Program Assessor Procedures as the self assessment component of an
                  Assessment under the Program
Self Assessment   the fee applicable in the event of non- or insufficient completion of the Self Assessment by
Fee               the Householder as described in the Schedule of Service Charges.
Service Charges   means the charges payable to an Assessor under the Assessor Contract in accordance with
                  the Schedule of Service Charges as published by the Department from time to time and in
                  effect at the date the Services are performed.
Services          means the services to be provided by the Assessor under the Assessor Contract, as specified
                  in the Green Loans Program Assessor Procedures.
Subsidy Deed      means a deed between the Department and a Financial Institution in respect of the provision
                  of Green Loans under the Program.

A full copy of the Glossary is available at: www.environment.gov.au/greenloans

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