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Paal will help with your BASIX assessment

27 October 2015

Efforts to improve the energy efficiency of new homes are regulated by the BASIX (Building Sustainability Index) in New South Wales, and 5 or 6 star energy rating standards in other states.

BASIX is intended to reduce water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent compared to buildings of 10 years ago or more.

Every new home plan must pass an assessment which looks at the heating and cooling of the home, ventilation, insulation, sun protection, water usage, electricity consumption, and whether alternative energy sources such as solar panels will be installed.

“The weight of these factors changes, depending on where you plan to build,” explained Paal housing consultant Michael Christie. “For example in a hot climate, deep verandahs will help you pass the assessment, whereas the reverse will be true in a colder region.

“If you intend using raised bearers and joists instead of a concrete slab in a cooler zone, you may need to offset this with additional thermal insulation such as double glazing.”

Targets to be reached

Your new home will need to reach numerical targets in all three categories of (1) energy usage, (2) thermal efficiency, and (3) water conservation.

Paal’s own BASIX consultant will evaluate your house plans, with the cost of this assessment already included in the price of the home. When successfully completed, a BASIX certificate is then attached to your development application for submission to local council.

“Some climates can present challenges,” Michael said. “A high-country location with low winter temperatures may require extra measures such as living areas facing north, a dark-coloured roof, or an insulating waffle pod slab.

“Achieving the BASIX targets is usually straightforward and, if you should be faced with a difficult climate zone, then we can give advice on design features that will create the best energy savings for your home.

“That’s why it’s good to talk to us early about what you have in mind. We can raise an alert if we see potential issues with a particular house design.”

Not just red tape

While the BASIX assessment may seem like just another piece of red tape to be untangled, it results in new dwellings that are water and energy savers, which is good for the homeowner in the longer term.

“In fact, it won’t take long before you see a cost benefit. Simple conservation features will pay for themselves in two or three years, while a more expensive measure such as double glazing should see a return on investment within five years.”

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