Importance of Achieving 6 Star Energy Rating in Australia
A lot of Australia’s existing homes are very poor when it comes to energy efficiency, even today. This results in huge amount of energy waste along with increases in greenhouse gas emission. Affordability is a key factor for a new home and it’s not just about construction cost. You build your home once, with a view to use it for a lifetime. Water, energy and other household expenses are always on the increase and an energy efficient home not only saves money but also saves you time.
6 Star Energy Rating?
Home energy rating is the index of a building’s thermal performance relating to residential homes in Australia. Just like other household devices, the energy efficacy of a home also needs to adhere to a nationally rated Star system. On a scale of 10, the higher the Star rating, the better thermal efficiency your home has. A less energy-hungry living space will reduce costs and increase comfort. A six Star rating is the minimum standard requirement your home should meet, as per government rules almost Australia-wide.
Benefits and Importance of Achieving 6 Star Rating
Let’s start with this, a six Star rated home is much more comfortable, energy efficient and cost-effective. Studies show, with a 6 Star energy rating, your house can save up to 25% more energy and up to $100 on your yearly energy bills.
Additionally, a house with better rating will be up to 5oc warmer in the winter and 10oc cooler during summer. Investing in a 6 Star house has far-reaching benefits; along with significant changes in overall running costs, it also improves the general quality of life and aides the community by saving energy.
Furthermore, as energy bills are increasing, and there is a dearth of energy, the benefits of an energy efficient house include future proofing; ensuring reduced energy consumption. Here is a small list of benefits you may not have thought a 6 Star energy rating could provide your home:
- The better lighting, ventilation and temperature control of your more sustainable home all positively affect common physical ailments such as headaches, eye strain etc.
- Attention to higher energy rating ensures improved air quality and reduced temperature fluctuations.
- A more energy efficient home makes better use of the winter sun. Surprisingly, this has a direct relationship with family unity. You all tend to spend a lot of time in the most comfortable part of your home, don’t you?
- 6 Star house emissions of greenhouse gases are very low, and leave a much smaller carbon footprint. Doesn’t it feel great when you do your bit to look after the earth?
- Last but not the least, achieving a 6 Star rating is mandatory in many States in Australia, and maybe mandatory countrywide in the future.
What About The Costs?
Surprisingly, for a matter of such importance, the costs are far less than one would imagine. In Western Australia for example, according to the Department of Environment & Energy Website, the average added cost of building your home to a 6 Star standard is roughly $1,750 - only adding 0.1% to the total cost of a new house and land package.
The cost also depends highly on the expertise of your builder. If they have a good understanding of the rating system, it could cost even less. It’s also a good idea to consider energy efficiency in the early stages of planning. Any attempt to alter an existing unsatisfactory design is not only costly but may provide additional setbacks.
How to Achieve a 6 Star Housing Facility?
Some general concepts are as follows;
- Keep the size of the room in mind; the bigger the room, the more complicated it becomes to achieve a higher ranking.
- Place less frequently habituated rooms (laundries, bathrooms) to the east and west, bedrooms to south and living or dining rooms to the north.
- Place more windows on the north side and reduce the number on the other three sides. Also, plan proper shading for the windows; you might want to consider for double-glazing.
- Consider wall cavity insulation, targeted to the east and west facing walls. Install floor tiles to living areas too.
- Ensure your lighting is energy efficient - use sensors if need be.
- Utilize ceiling fans. Studies show rooms with ceiling fans use air conditioners up to 20% less frequently.
- Most importantly, take into consideration your home’s geographical location. Different climate zones require different techniques to ensure better energy efficiency.
I Have Decided to Have an Energy Efficient Home, Who Can do The Assessment Process for me?
Building a new 6 Star home is an exciting prospect. Congratulations on your first step; making the decision. You may have a lot of questions, such as;
How do I know my home builder has enough knowledge about energy efficiency rating systems? How do I choose the right one?
The answer is to ask more questions! Make sure to question your builder early on, so that you can be sure you’re in good hands. Good questions to ask include;
- How long have they been in the business?
- Do they have any 6 Star designs ready?
- What are their experiences with sustainability?
- How long would it take to rate your home’s energy efficiency?
- What materials do they use and processes do they follow?
- Have they completed any 6 Star projects? Can they show it?
- Have they won any awards? Do they have any accreditations from any of the certified institutions? (For example, Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme rates the energy efficiency of your home based on its design)
Getting Rid of Common Misconceptions:
There are a lot of misconceptions about energy efficient buildings because of lack of knowledge or understanding. Here, we’ll try to dispell some myths.
- First is the belief that achieving a 6 Star rating has more cost than its benefits. This is not true, if you take into consideration the long-term effects. If you have read this article thoroughly, you already know about the benefits. And the way the energy expenses (gas, electricity etc) are growing, a house with more thermal efficiency has no way of being more costly!
- Sustainable designs will not make your home look odd. In fact, sustainability is one of the basic principles of good design. Any good designer can make intelligent use of the available spaces to design an attractive yet sustainable design.
- “What’s the point of having insulated walls?” you may ask. “Windows are enough for all the heat to escape!” This is a very common misconception. Though it’s true that windows allow some heat to escape, no investment in insulation is a waste. Insulated walls keep the room temperature stable, creating a more comfortable environment to live in.
- There are several tools, including software, which can rate your house based on its thermal efficiency. Some claim these tools give flawed results, but that isn’t true if you are using an accredited software. The accredited software is tested and will always give accurate results.
As per the new rules, minimum of 6 Star energy rating is a must for new buildings. So, the best idea is to embrace these standards to make your home more energy efficient, more comfortable and more liveable. Professional companies like Superior Energy Rating can help you to reach that standard.