I find there is much confusion to the term 6 star energy efficient standard. We have in place a requirement by the Building Code of Australia (BCA), which sets out the minimum standards for sustainability.
It works like this on a scale 1 to 10, current minimum requirement is 6. Roughly equates to the amount of heating and cooling one will need to make the home comfortably for living. The higher the star the less you need to rely on energy to provide the internal comfort to your home. So when you look at it, 6 is not that great! Just over the halfway mark i.e. just over the pass park.
There is no text book per se. Honestly, there is no straightforward one-size fits all approach to design. An energy efficient house is underpinned by energy efficient features such as site orientation consideration, appropriate selection of windows and shading, right choice of insulation and correct balance of thermal mass together with extensive use of natural ventilation.
Design-wise the focus will be about the sun and garden, resulting in a distinctive design that visually connects indoor and outdoor living, utilising passive thermal design principles which will cleverly respond to the northern winter sun and addresses the harsh summer glare and heat.
It is really important to seek professional advice as it seriously does impact on your heating and cooling bills and the value of your investment.
A sustainable home is principally driven by design but it is also about finding ways which industry can collaborate to minimise waste and bring cost effective solutions to availability of alternative building materials.
People say to me green products are too expensive; and they’re too expensive because they aren’t being specified. Builders can play a major part to break this stalemate.
There are some very cost effective ways to make your house more energy efficient which I will discuss in further articles. Let’s not mince words but right now we are seeing poor performing homes being built in West Australia; ones that don’t win any medals.