How 6-star Energy Ratings are a Challenge for Builders

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6-star energy ratings have already taken its effect in Australia, and these new energy efficiency regulations are one of the biggest challenges for builders since the whole concept of energy efficiency regulations were first introduced into the Building Code of Australia (BCA) way back in 2003. Sure, to some degree it’s true that the stringency of these regulations for houses has gradually increased over the years, but the fact can’t be denied that the change from 5-star energy efficiency regulations to 6-star is making designers and builders alter their compliance energy assessments in Perth significantly.

Initially, the Deemed to Satisfy (DTS) method was considered the easiest way of compliance but over the years a lot of surveys have proved that although this method was part of the 6-star energy rating regulations, it is not necessarily the best way of compliance; primarily due to the fact that it had several restrictions regarding compliance requirements. Compared to the DTS method, the use of House Energy Rating Software (HERS) to show compliance with 6-star regulations is considered to be far less time consuming and more cost efficient.

But what does energy ratings depend on?

  • The layout of the house
  • Construction of its walls, roofs, floor and windows
  • Orientation of the windows
  • Shading to the sun’s path along with local breezes
  • How well they suit the local climate
  • Energy consumed by lights, heaters and other household appliances is not part of such ratings

Some of the other items which will affect rating are:-

  • Colour of material: In warmer climates, light colours are better while in colder climates, dark colours are far more suitable.
  • Sealing: Gas vents and vented down lights will affect the ratings significantly
  • Floor coverings: In areas where there are high heating loads or full height windows, tiles show a performance gain since it allows solar access.

What do the stars mean?

Well, if it’s a zero star, it means that the building does practically nothing to reduce any discomfort of cold or hot weather. Although a 5-star rating indicates good thermal performance, it’s not outstanding. Ideally, the occupants of a home with 10-star energy efficiency rating in Perth are unlikely to need any artificial heating or cooling.

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