Development

Energy efficiency changes to home building code revealed

By Sasha Karen
Energy efficiency

New legislation regarding the construction of new homes has been opened for public commentary, which, in their current state, has been described as making a “significant change in the energy ratings for new homes across Australia”.

The Australian Building Codes Board has released a draft of the building code for 2019 regarding the construction of new homes, with one of the changes including new energy efficient construction methods.

“It is clear from the draft that the changes now out for comment will make a significant difference in the energy ratings for new homes across Australia,” said Kristin BrookfieldBrookfield, QLD Brookfield, VIC Brookfield, QLD, the Housing Industry Association (HIA)’s chief executive of industry policy.

Ms Brookfield said the changes have been in preparation for over two years in consultation with the housing industry and that opening the building code changes for update allows for other members of the housing industry to have the opportunity to provide their feedback.

The energy efficiency changes to the building code for 2019 include, according to the HIA:

  • Strengthening the way the reference building verification method is used;
  • Introducing split heating and cooling loads;
  • Introducing a new verification method for building sealing;
  • Enhanced prescriptive building sealing requirements;
  • Introducing condensation management provisions, including the adoption of substantially revised Australian Standard for building sarking, and
  • Providing enhanced clarity to numerous deemed to satisfy provisions.

Other proposed changes cover fire safety in general and bushfires, room heights and acceptable plumbing practices and manuals.

Concurrent to the public draft of the building code changes, the federal government is developing a new framework to measure energy efficiency of homes in conjunction with the HIA, according to Ms Brookfield.

“The current energy star ratings only tell homes owner’s part of the story. Home owners should be given a real idea of what their power bills will be based on all the energy used in their home,” she said.

“With cost of living and energy prices soaring average families and home owners need all the help they can get.

“The decision by energy ministers late last year to develop a new framework was welcomed by HIA and we look forward to working with the government over the next 12 months to decide how we can more sensibly rate the energy new homes will use.”

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Energy efficiency changes to home building code revealed
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