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Green Smart Magazine : 2009_new
greensmart 9 77 WHAT'S YOUR RATING? There are two ways to check if your new house will meet the energy efficiency target, whether using the BCA or BASIX. The first option is to use a computer simulation program that quantifies how much energy will be used to heat and cool the home throughout the year. This calculation is then translated into an energy rating between 0 and 10 stars under the BCA, or between 0 and 100 in BASIX. The second option is to comply with a set list of minimum requirements for insulation, floor, wall and ceiling construction, window size and type and other matters. This is generally known as 'deemed to satisfy' under the BCA or 'do it yourself ' under BASIX. Depending on how complex the house design is and the climate zone you are in, you may need to use a computer simulation program. Your builder or building designer will be able to advise you on which option you will need. Some states have additional rules for energy ser vices. QLD, NSW, Victoria, SA and WA have minimum requirements for hot water, generally needing to be five stars. QLD and NSW also have a requirement for energy-efficient lighting, while NSW includes the rating of any airconditioning or ceiling fans in a BASIX score. Water efficiency Water efficiency also has two aspects -- reducing demand through water saving fittings, and capturing water to provide an alternate supply for uses such as garden watering. There are no national regulations. Instead the requirements are found in a mix of state and local council planning, building and plumbing regulations. Despite this, many of the states have similar minimum requirements for reducing water demand in the home, i.e. • toilets -- four-star toilets are mandatory in WA and QLD, and three-star toilets are required in all other states • showerheads -- three-star showerheads are mandatory in QLD, ACT and Victoria, and optional in SA • tapware -- three-star tapware is mandatory in ACT, Victoria, optional in SA, and WA requires four-star tapware • pressure limiting valves -- these reduce the water flow into the whole home and are mandatory in QLD, ACT, Victoria and Tasmania. For NSW, BASIX has a minimum water efficiency requirement, which is again based on the location of the home and can range from 0 to 100. The common choices to comply include three- or four-star toilets, and three-star showerheads and tapware. If there is an alternative water supply to the home, again, most states now have some kind of requirement. Rainwater tanks or an alternative water supply, such as reticulated greywater, is needed in QLD, NSW, Victoria (depending on the choice of hot water system) and SA. WA requires new homes to be capable of connecting to an alternative water supply and to a greywater outlet. Getting help The federal government and most state governments have a range of rebates available to help improve the energy and water efficiency of your home. Most of these rebates are only available to existing homes, but a few are available for new homes. These rebates change over time and are aimed at promoting the installation of energy efficiency appliances, such as high-rating hot water systems, or water efficiency, with rebates for rainwater tanks, water-efficient appliances, waterwise gardens, tapware and toilet replacements. In some cases, homes may be eligible for both a federal and a state rebate. Some states provide rebates for home audits or garden audits to help you find out what you can do to improve the performance of your home. From April 2009, the federal government's Green Loans program will be available to households, allowing people to have an energy audit of their home and then access a low interest loan to help pay for any changes suggested in the audit. A general summary of the rebates available is shown in the table opposite. More detailed information is available from the HIA GreenSmart website at www.greensmart.com.au. gs meeting the minimum energy rating in your climate zone: The top five considerations • Position the house in such a way that it takes advantage of winter sun and creates summer shade. This includes using eaves, awnings and window protection. • Use the right wall, ceiling, roof and floor insulation to suit the climate and orientation. • Choose the right windows and glazing to suit the orientation and room type. • Seal the openings throughout the house -- windows, doors and skylights -- for winter weather. • Use openable windows and skylights to create breeze paths between rooms in summer weather. Photo courtesy Solar Lord