May deadline for efficiency boost

From May 1 it will be compulsory for every new home in WA to have a minimum energy-efficiency rating of 6 stars.

The Building Code of Australia is implementing these measures to continue improving energy- efficiency efforts for new buildings across the State.

All houses will also be required to meet lighting efficiency requirements, including any renovations or extensions that require a building licence.

So what does this mean for you and how can you achieve a 6-star rating?

Joe Chindarsi, of Chindarsi Architects, said the main design principles used to achieve a 6-star-rated home were passive solar orientation and good cross-flow ventilation.

“Passive solar orientation maximises the northern aspect and at the same time minimises unwanted heat gain from the east and west-facing sides of the home,” Mr Chindarsi said.

“Maximise north-facing glass where possible with suitable overhangs or sunshades to keep summer sun out. Designing in high levels of insulation, and using LED light sources will help greatly as well.”

“Upfront costs might include things like rainwater tanks, solar photovoltaics (although these are coming down in value very quickly),” Mr Chindarsi said.

“In the longer term, by minimising the running costs associated with heating and cooling a home, the initial cost of these pay for themselves.”

Rob Skipworth, building designer at Eco Designer Homes, said insulation and cavity brickwork could further improve the thermal performance of your house, keeping it cool in summer and warm in winter.

“An energy-efficient house is about taking away the highs and lows and keeping a more constant temperature,” Mr Skipworth said.

“You want to reduce the operation of air-conditioners, so you need things like semi-opening windows to create natural air flow.

“An upgrade to double-glazed windows will keep out more heat in summer and keep the existing heat inside in winter.”

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