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Design and construction

Designing and constructing a new home or extension to be energy efficient will cost much less than attempting to refit an existing building.

Homes incorporating sound environmental design principles can minimise heating and cooling bills and have a lasting positive impact on the environment by reducing greenhouses gases. Some of these principles include:

  • site responsive design and appropriate house zoning orientation
  • well insulated wall, floor and ceiling
  • thermally efficient windows
  • northerly orientation to gain maximum advantage from solar energy
  • internal and external shading of windows and walls in summer.

Climate zones

The energy efficiency requirements depend on the climate zone in which a house is located. Climate zones are determined on climatic data and there are two Tasmanian zones:

  • zone 7 (covering most of the state including the Bass Strait islands)
  • zone 8 (covering only alpine areas above 900 metres).

House orientation

Good solar orientation of a house has the potential to achieve substantial energy savings when combined with an efficient design. Houses built with a north facing orientation for the main living areas are more likely to easily achieve the required Star rating.

Houses with large areas of glazing facing south, west or east may still achieve compliance but are then likely to incur higher construction costs and on-going heating costs for the occupants.

The envelope of the house

The design and construction of the house's envelope - roof, external walls and floors, will have an effect on the thermal comfort of a house. To achieve the required Star rating the design and construction will need:

  • insulation of roofs and ceilings
  • insulation under suspended floors
  • selection of appropriate glazing systems (windows and doors)
  • consideration of the number and size of roof lights (skylights) and ceiling penetrations including downlights
  • sealing of openings and gaps to prevent draughts and covering of disused fireplaces.

Enhanced Commercial Building energy requirements (in Volume One of the National Construction Code) applied from 1 May 2013.

More information

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