Vic govt to sell off bespoke energy rating software

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Vic govt to sell off bespoke energy rating software

Sustainability agency turns tech vendor.

Victoria’s peak energy efficiency agency is scouring the market for organisations to take the FirstRate5 home energy rating software off its hands.

Sustainability Victoria launched FirstRate5 in May 2014.

The internally-developed simulation tool allows building designers and assessors to run floor plans through the software, which then generates an annual estimate of the energy required to heat and cool the property.

It uses the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NaTHERS) to score each property, and generates the figures using the CSIRO’s ‘CHENATH’ engine, which models typical meteorological conditions over a 12 month period.

One year on from its launch, Sustainability Victoria is looking to privatise the platform.

“Sustainability Victoria’s interest in the development and support of FirstRate5 has been to support sustainability in the building industry, rather than as a commercial proposition," it said in its pitch to prospective buyers.

“As such Sustainability Victoria has focused on implementing strategies to support the use of the tool rather than generating profit."

The agency said the tool generated $1.1 million in revenue between May 2014 and March 2015.

Downloads of the software are free, but Sustainability Victoria charges between $10 and $20 to produce a recognised document certifying the results of each home assessment, which can be submitted with development approvals.

It produced 59,000 of these certificates in its first 14 months but predicts that the national market is closer to 110,000 a year.

“[Sustainability Victoria] has not actively pursued customers in interstate markets, and as such this potential customer base has thus far been largely untapped,” it said.

The agency is offering up all trademark and intellectual property rights to FirstRate5, plus the associated web domains and APIs. It will hand over obligations under its existing customer agreements to the eventual buyer.

The agency claims to hold a 95 percent share of the Victorian assessment market and 40 percent of the national market, where it competes against similar products like BERS Pro and the CSIRO’s own AccuRate.

Sustainability Victoria has not offered any indication of the sale price it expects to fetch. It has, however, talked up the future potential for the tool to be used to generate sales leads for building materials manufacturers who could use the input data to track areas of upcoming need (as longs as privacy obligations are met).

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