Energy Efficiency Compliance VS Sustainability

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Sustainable Development is best known by the phrase that “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. While there has been many interpretations of what sustainable development is, this notion of “Sustainable Development” is one that has been applied by many businesses that attempt to identify themselves as making an environmental difference. The goal for these businesses should be, to not only provide shelter complying with the minimum regulations, but also recognise the broader environmental affects of the processes taken.

Sustainability consultants such as EcoForm pride themselves in ensuring that each new residence or commercial project achieves at least an energy efficient standard that complies with the regulations demonstrated by the Australian Standards and Building Codes. The consulting actions that these consultants suggest based on the merits of each project.

The determining factors that can influence the necessary actions is location, orientation, design and materials used. Sustainability consultants can also assist builders, architects and designers to go beyond compliance and ensure that the projects they build meet the definition of a Sustainable Development.

Builders, Designers, Architects and the like can influence their clients to create something that can make a sustainable difference rather than just another building, or extension. By ensuring the above is well considered during the design stage this can be achieved at minimum cost. Greater knowledge and understanding about how to make adjustments and provisions to a project can make a difference to the clients ongoing costs in the long run.

Here is a brief overview of each point that can make a difference to greater energy efficiency and sustainability.

Location: Every individual makes a choice about where they would like to live and each location has its limitations and challenges. Understanding the climate zone of a given location where a proposed development is built can help determine the best design, construction method, materials used and orientation. As well as the broader climate zones there are also micro climates used in energy efficiency calculations, each with its own limitations and benefits.

Orientation: Together with location, the orientation of the residence plays a critical role in the efforts for a building to comply with the BCA. The best orientation for a residence is to ensure that the Living is facing north and the bedroom are facing south. Also to note is the distance of the north facing areas from the boundary, so that overshadowing of neighbours does not restrict solar access.

Design: Ensuring the Living spaces of your home face north may be well known but knowing this on its own will not guarantee a 6 Star residence. The other design principles that are to be considered is the amount of glass, particularly in the living areas along with the depth of eaves. There is a lot of weighting on the living area when designing a home, getting this right can make it easier to achieve a 6 Star residence. Too much glass and not enough eaves can make the living area hot, not enough glass and too many eaves can make the living room cold. Each climate zone will have its own results but the trend is generally the same.

Materials Used: When planning the construction of a new residence, there will be an idea or schedule of construction materials required for that design. Some builders have a set schedule of materials considered in building their clients homes, while others have can have the freedom to choose what materials they would like to incorporate into their dream home. When good design principles are encouraged, the need for changing a material selection is reduced, or less costly. It is possible to build a 6-Star residence throughout Australia without having to compromise on budget as long as the first 3 points on achieving an energy efficient house are considered.

If you would like more information on the above contact your sustainability consultant.

About the author:

David Barham holds a degree in Sustainable Development from Murdoch University and is a Sustainability Consultant for EcoForm.

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