Sustainability is a continuously evolving area of home design and construction. It encompasses homes that are water and energy efficient, and homes that are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – effectively, any home that is as ‘green’ as possible.
Most builders work to deliver homes that comply with a ‘Six Star Energy Rating’. This has been a requirement in most of Australia since 2010, however, variations of either 4 or 5 Star home standards have been in place since 2003.
To arrive at the rating, the assessment models a proposed building using thermal modelling software. The result is a star rating that identifies the amount of energy required to heat and cool the building to a comfortable temperature all year round.
In simple terms, the higher the rating, the less energy the building requires. If you are wondering what sort of items are assessed, it includes:
The good news is, in a lot of cases with most home builders the achievement of this rating is included in your price, designed and built for you by people who have an understanding of what is required.
A house achieving six-star standards will use approximately 20% to 25% less energy to heat and cool than a five-star house that is similar in size. This all helps to reduce your energy bills, freeing up your finances. Plus, of course, it’s better for the environment.
Some examples of items that help achieve a six-star energy rating include:
In most cases, you will be able to achieve the minimum standard. But there is no reason why you cannot increase the energy efficiency of your home if you wish. Be aware this is likely to increase build, purchase and installation costs, and you may have to conduct an assessment of the overall extra cost versus likely savings.
There is no reason why you cannot add sustainability items to your checklist. Remember, not all home builders and/or land developers have the same approach. Each company will have a different view on sustainability in general and deliver different sustainability initiatives in either their estates and/or homes.
But there’s no question, in the long run, it’s wise to ensure sustainability is a consideration with your new home. It will help with your ongoing energy bills and help protect our precious environment.