Sustainable Rebuilding Ideas

Sustainable Rebuilding Ideas
Sustainable
Rebuilding
Ideas
smarter choices for better homes
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> introduction
How can these fact sheets help
improve my new home?
These Sustainable Rebuilding Ideas have been
compiled to assist people to rebuild homes
that were damaged or destroyed in the 2009
Victorian Bushfires. The Sustainable Rebuilding
Ideas fact sheets include a wide range of
information about how to easily incorporate
smart features into your house that will make it
more comfortable, save you money and reduce
its impact on the environment.
Research to get it right
The fact sheets have been developed to help
you find the information you will need to design
and build a high quality home. They are intended
to give you sufficient information to have an
informed discussion with your designer, builder
or environmental professional.
Useful design principles
The fact sheets address a number of simple
design principles that will significantly improve
the performance of your new home. These
features are most cost-effective when they are
considered from the start of the design process,
rather than being seen as something to be
added in at the end.
human safety. It is a systematic way of using
home construction to provide better ways of
dealing with bushfire attack from:
>> burning embers
>> radiant heat
>> direct flame contact
>> wind effects accompanying bushfires.
We have included some general notes and
principles in these fact sheets to help you
consider the implications of incorporating
environmental features in your home, but you’ll
need to get specific advice about rebuilding for
improved bushfire safety and complying with
the Victorian Building Regulations.
In all cases, you must start with a Bushfire
Attack Level (BAL) assessment, with guidance
and typical requirements available from the
Building Commission. This sets the range
of mandatory requirements from within the
AS 3959-2009. You or your builder will need
to understand what this means for you and
your home before you finalise your rebuilding
contract. If you don’t do this in advance,
you could have some annoying and expensive
changes to your project. So get good
advice early!
Rebuilding for better bushfire safety
Victorian building regulations control the
construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas.
The regulations improve the ability of buildings
to withstand bushfire attack and help improve
Building Commission Bushfire Building Advice
Line 1300 360 320 (9–5pm Monday to Friday)
www.buildingcommission.com.au
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
What fact sheets are available?
What if I still have questions?
The information provided in the fact sheets is
arranged in topics or chapters. The fact sheets
that are most relevant will depend on the stage
of the design and construction process you are
in and on your specific situation.
These fact sheets cannot replace the faceto-face discussions and advice that you will
get from design, building and environmental
professionals. After reading these fact sheets,
we recommend you seek advice from specialists
who can give you more detail and explain some
of the principles that you will need to consider
before you start building. They will also be able
to help you with the more detailed decisions
that will need to be made throughout the
rebuilding process.
You may choose to read these fact sheets in
the order they are listed or just select the fact
sheets that address the issues that are of most
interest to you. Remember to use the reference
section to follow up any further information that
you need.
Where can I get copies of these
fact sheets?
Copies of these fact sheets are available from
VBRRA Information Centres, or by calling
Sustainability Victoria’s Information Line
on 1300 363 744.
The fact sheets are also downloadable
from Sustainability Victoria’s website
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas
ENV015 1.01 July 2009
For further information or for copies of these fact
sheets, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> contents
Passive solar design
> climate and comfort
> house siting and solar access
> windows
> insulation
> thermal mass
> draught proofing and ventilation
> material selection
> measuring your home’s energy efficiency
Appliance efficiency
> energy and water labelling
> choosing a heating system
> choosing a cooling system
> gas water heaters
> lighting
> dishwashers, fridges and freezers
> washing machines and clothes dryers
Renewable energy options
> solar photovoltaic (pv) systems
> solar hot water
Water
> water efficiency
> water efficient appliances
> recycled water and greywater
> rain water tanks
> water efficient gardens
Who should I talk to next?
> finding sustainable tradespeople, professionals and products
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Passive solar design
Passive solar design
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> climate and comfort
Included in this fact sheet:
>> Climate zones
>> Understanding your climate
>> Design and climate links
>> Heating and cooling requirements
>> Understanding thermal comfort
This fact sheet presents background information
relating to climate zones in Victoria, their impact
on residential energy requirements and factors
influencing our perception of thermal comfort.
Climate zones in Victoria
The climate of where you live needs to be
taken into consideration when designing a
home for comfort and energy efficiency. Across
Victoria, there can be considerable differences
between maximum and minimum temperatures
in summer and winter, as well as temperature
differences between day and night, and the
length of the heating and cooling seasons.
Good building design should account for these
climate variations and be tailored to the specific
area in which you live.
House design in different
climate zones
apply, with their application varying slightly,
e.g. different levels of insulation or thermal mass
or variations in window sizes.
In addition to general energy efficient design
principles, houses in cooler zones require
attention to higher insulation levels, winter
window protection, draught proofing and
summer shading.
Thermal comfort
Thermal comfort refers to the range of
conditions in which the majority of people feel
comfortable. This is a limited range, as we
need to maintain a relatively stable body
temperature of 37°C.
Our bodies produce heat mainly through activity,
and give off heat according to the surrounding
environmental conditions.
As shown in Figure 1, heat is lost from the body
in three main ways:
>> radiation 45%
>> convection 30%
>> evaporation 25%.
heat losses
Winter heating is the predominant concern
of householders throughout all of Victoria,
with summer cooling requirements being
less significant.
To achieve the best results, the choice of
housing design and construction materials
should be appropriate to the climate of a region
(macro-climate). While each climate zone has
different heating and cooling needs, the same
principles of energy efficient house design
heat gains
from solar
radiation
to cooler air
from warmer air
to cooler objects
from warmer objects
by evaporation
from radiant heaters
by contact with
cooler objects
from contact with
warmer objects
Figure 1: Main factors affecting body heat gains and
losses inside a building
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Thermal comfort variables
Perception of comfort
Comfort is influenced by the six main variables
listed below:
There are considerable individual differences
in perception of comfort. For example,
older people tend to have different heating
requirements. There are also differences
between the sexes. These differences are often
reflected in varying energy costs for homes.
1. air temperature (also called dry bulb
temperature): the most common measure of
thermal comfort
2. mean radiant temperature: the weighted
average temperature of all exposed
surfaces in a space. Discomfort may be
experienced when there is a large difference
between internal surface temperatures (e.g.
uncurtained windows) and the internal air
temperature, causing radiant heat to be lost
from the body to the cooler surfaces
3. relative air velocity: important in warm
weather, as air moving across the skin
increases heat loss by convection, lowering
the perceived air temperature
4. humidity: the moisture content of the air is
defined as relative humidity and may cause
discomfort when above 70% or below 30%
5. activity levels: lower air temperatures
are acceptable when users of the space
have higher activity levels, reducing their
heating needs
6. thermal resistance of clothing: lower air
temperatures are acceptable if users of the
space wear warm clothing or use enough
blankets to lower their heating needs (e.g. in
bedrooms at night).
Building design affects the first four of these
thermal comfort variables, while the last two
depend on the behaviour and actions of people.
With an understanding of the effect of building
design on thermal comfort, designs may
be manipulated to achieve particular
comfort levels.
ENV015 2.01 July 2009
The general rule for combining comfort and
energy efficiency is to aim for the lowest
comfortable temperature in winter, and the
highest comfortable temperature in summer.
For example, the recommended winter heating
temperature range for living areas in Melbourne
is 18–21°C, and 24–27°C for summer cooling.
Keeping thermostats to these settings can
considerably lower heating and cooling energy
needs and costs.
Further information
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
sustainability.vic.gov.au
www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au
www.buildingcommission.vic.gov.au
www.yourhome.gov.au
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Passive solar design
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> house siting and solar access
Included in this fact sheet:
Siting for solar access
>> How best to site your house
To achieve a high level of unobstructed winter
sunshine, it is essential to choose the correct
siting and orientation for your house (see Figure 1).
A house should be designed to respond to site
conditions to maximise free solar energy.
>> The benefits of the sun
>> The best use of natural light
>> Internal design maximisation
This fact sheet outlines the relationship between
site layout, solar access and energy efficient
house design. It also provides a guide to siting a
home on a block and internal planning for
maximum energy efficiency.
Diffuse and direct solar radiation
Solar radiation encompasses both direct and
diffuse solar energy. Direct solar energy is the
sunlight that falls upon the window, whereas
diffuse solar energy is the reflected energy that
still comes through the window on a cloudy day.
In Victoria, up to 40% of the energy contribution
from north windows in the colder months is from
diffuse solar radiation.
Solar access for lots
set
bac
space free
of major
obstructions
k
living areas
NO
RT
H
Figure 1: Unobstructed space to the north
for good solar access
Good solar access for new housing depends
very largely on the site. Energy efficient housing
can be provided more easily and economically if
the lot allows a home to be sited with good solar
access. Characteristics such as orientation,
slope, existing or potential overshadowing
from the north, and lot shape, size and width
are important considerations. For this reason,
correctly siting the home to utilise solar access
is a fundamental design decision.
Benefits of solar access
Solar access refers to the amount of the
sun’s energy available to a building. Ensuring
your home has good solar access results in
free heating from the sun, reduced energy
requirements, improved comfort levels and
environmental benefits.
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
su
n
NORTH
Figure 2: Distance between homes can be less on
north-facing slopes
Placing your home on the block
Ideally, your home should be placed on the
block so that its living areas and major windows
face north. Renovations and extensions to
existing homes should also use this principle to
make them energy efficient. If you cannot do this
on your block, a high level of energy efficiency
can still be achieved by turning your attention to
other higher cost, energy efficient features such
as extra insulation and double glazing.
Alternatively, your home can be specifically
designed to catch the winter sun even on a
block with otherwise poor solar access.
Design guidelines
>> Consider sharing walls with neighbours,
particularly on the east or west boundaries
(see Figure 3).
>> Keep north-facing walls and windows well
back from large obstructions to the north
(such as buildings, trees or fences) as they
cast shadows two to three times their height
in mid winter. A distance of at least 5.5 m
from a single-storey obstruction to the north,
or at least ten metres from a double-storey
obstruction, is recommended (see Figures
4 and 5).
>> If solar access is poor, consider alternative
methods to gain northerly winter sunlight
into the home, such as using high clerestory
windows (see Figure 6).
>> Consider building on the south, east or west
boundaries. If this is not possible, at least place
the home close to the southern boundary.
>> Avoid placing garages, carports and other
buildings on the northern side of the block.
This provision was created to simplify your local
council’s site plan approval process, enabling
you to then seek building approval and begin
rebuilding as swiftly as possible. This also
provides a great opportunity to maximise energy
efficiency in the early stages of your design
process. For more information please visit:
www.wewillrebuild.vic.gov.au
passive solar design > siting and solar access
living
living
NORTH
car
car
Local council approval process
5.5 m
5.5 m
living
living
car
car
street
A new planning scheme provision, Clause 52.39
– 2009 Bushfires – Replacement Buildings has
been produced to enable landowners to rebuild
houses without having to satisfy the normal
planning scheme requirements.
5.5 m
5.5 m
5.5 m
5.5 m
street
wi
r
nte
living
living
car
car
living
living
car
living
car car
street
Figure 3: Wise house placement close to east, west
and south boundaries maximises solar access
page 2 of 8
height
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
2–3 times height
winter sun
NORTH
height
winter sun
NORTH
2–3 times height
height
NORTH
2–3 times height un
te
win
rs
Figure 4: Objects cast shadows two to three
double
storey
single
times
their heightsingle
in winter
storey
storey
at least 5.5 m
at least 10 m
NORTH
win
single
storey
NORTH
su n
double
storey
single
storey
at least 5.5 m
ter
at least 10 mun
s
ter
win
Figure 5: Allow adequate distancedouble
from
storey
single to the
single
obstructions
north
storey
storey
at least 5.5 m
winter sun
at least 10 m
high windows
let sunlight in
winter sun
high windows
let sunlight in
NORTH
winter sun
Figure 6: Overcome problems of winter
high
windows
overshadowing
with
clerestory windows
let sunlight in
NORTH
Internal planning and room
placement
Rooms are used for different purposes at
different times of the day and their location will
influence energy efficiency and comfort levels.
Avoid large, open-plan living areas that have to
be heated at a time when only small areas may
be in use.
Creating zones by grouping rooms with similar
uses and closing off unheated rooms reduces
heating and cooling needs. Grouping together
rooms that use hot water (such as a laundry and
bathroom) also improves the efficiency of hot
water usage.
Daytime living zones (family rooms) with
northerly aspects are warm and bright during
winter and can be easily protected in summer,
improving energy efficiency and making them
comfortable all year round.
Stairwells and high ceilings can increase your
home heating requirements by more than 40%.
They allow heated air to rise, leaving cooler air at
the lowest floor level, and increasing the volume
of air that has to be heated.
Correctly placed windows and doors with
short distances between them encourage
cross-ventilation to help cool the home on
summer evenings.
NORTH
page 3 of 8
passive solar design > siting and solar access
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Design guidelines
>> Group rooms with similar uses together and
use doors to separate the various areas of
your home into zones. Use glass doors or
bi-fold doors to retain the open-plan
aesthetic where necessary.
>> Use doors to separate formal living areas
from other living areas, and heated areas
from unheated areas.
bedrooms
bathrooms/
laundry
kitchen/family
daytime living zones
on the north
doors between
living areas
>> Group together areas that use hot water
to minimise plumbing costs, heat loss from
pipes, and water wastage.
>> Use utility areas such as bathrooms,
laundries and toilets as buffer zones on the
west and south sides of the home.
>> Be careful not to place rooms or garages
where they will overshadow northern
windows during winter mornings or
afternoons. Avoid deep north-facing
courtyards (see Figures 9 and 10).
>> Locate garages and carports on the east,
west or south sides to protect the rest of the
home from summer sun and winter winds
(see figures 7 and 8).
>> Create airlocks at external doors to limit the
escape of heated air when the external doors
are opened.
doors between
living zones and
bedroom zones
formal living
garage/carport
NORTH
Figure 7: Zoning of a home for a narrow
north-south block
>> Place daytime living areas such as kitchens,
family and rumpus rooms to the north. Other
zones can be arranged around the daytime
living area depending on their use.
>> A northerly aspect for formal living and dining
areas is desirable, though not essential.
A westerly aspect should be avoided.
>> Avoid deep verandas on the north side of
your home, as these will remove the benefit
of solar heat gain in winter.
>> Keep ceiling heights low, preferably no higher
than 2.7 m. Voids and cathedral ceilings
are not recommended. If high ceilings are
essential to the design outcome, consider
using ceiling fans, which can run in the reverse
mode. This pushes warm air up against the
ceiling and then down the walls, gently
re-circulating warm air through the room.
>> Place doors at the base of stairwells to
prevent heated air being lost. Avoid ‘open’
stairways in heated areas.
>> Place openable windows and external doors
on different sides of the home. Keep paths
short and direct (less than 8 m) to encourage
cross-ventilation (see Figure 11).
>> Avoid a westerly aspect for bedrooms. An
easterly or northerly aspect is desirable for
children’s rooms and playrooms. Rooms with
a southerly aspect will be cooler all year round.
passive solar design > siting and solar access
page 4 of 8
s
north-facing windows
Sustainable
rebuilding ideas
afternoon
in shade for most of the
morning
winter morning
sun
NORTH
north-facing windows
in shade for most of the
winter morning
H
NORT
doors between
living areas
sun
north-facing windows
in shade for most of the
winter morning
bathrooms/
laundry
bedrooms
formal living
doors between
living areas
children’s playrooms
or studies on the
north side
bathrooms/
laundry
NORTH
H
NORT
NORTH
NORT
kitchen/family
day-time living zones
on the north
H
Figure 10: East and west-facing walls can shade
adjacent north-facing windows in winter
Figure 8:doors
Zoning
of a home for a narrow
between
living
areas
east-west block
bathrooms/
laundry
formal living
formal living
morning
kitchen/family
sun
NORTH
day-time living zones
on the north
afternoon
sun
NORTH
NORTH
NORTH
Figure 9: Deep north-facing courtyards are NORTH
overshadowed
by the side walls in winter
kitchen/family
Figure 11: Cross-ventilation can provide most
of your summer cooling needs
day-time living zones
on the north
north-facing windows
in shade for most of the
winter morning
NORT
page 5 of 8
H
passive solar design > siting and solar access
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Siting for better bushfire safety
Slope of land
Exactly where you build on your block within a
bushfire prone area can make a big difference to
your design, construction and building budget.
That is because the revised Australian Standard
3959-2009 is now mandated across Victoria.
Bushfires accelerate up slopes. In fact, they
double in speed with every extra 10° of slope.
Therefore it is safer from a bushfire perspective
to build on flatter land and with less vegetation
around, than upslope amongst woodland or
forest, where there is a greater risk of a faster
and more intense bushfire. In some cases, you
can cut your home into the land to reduce your
bushfire exposure. In other cases, you may
need to reduce and/or thin the native vegetation
nearest your home. A site-specific solution must
be developed that meets your needs with better
bushfire safety through your BAL assessment.
The relationship between your home site,
landscaping, native vegetation and your home
design and construction needs to be considered
as an integrated whole. You can site your home
for greater bushfire safety by following a few easy
principles. Where these can’t be met, there may
be a ‘trade-off’ with higher bushfire attack levels
(BAL) from AS 3959-2009. Effectively, this means
some increased restrictions on construction
and some higher costs in rebuilding. But this is
necessary both for your own protection and that
of others, such as fire fighters.
Vegetation types and proximity
Our native vegetation has adapted to bushfires,
better then we have. Areas of forest and
woodland will usually create a far more intense
bushfire than scattered bush, lawns and exotic
planting. So the Australian Standard requires an
assessment of the types of vegetation and their
distance to your home, shed or garage. The
higher the vegetative fuel load and the closer the
vegetation, the greater the bushfire risk.
To minimise bushfire risk and your BAL, assess
what types of vegetation are nearby, their
density and their closeness. The bigger the
separation distances from the vegetation to your
home, the lesser the bushfire risk. The closer it
is, the higher the risk.
Aspect
Whilst northerly facing buildings and glazing
are essential for passive solar design and your
personal comfort (see Figure 12), bushfires do
not respect orientation. Typically, northern and
western orientations will provide drier, more
flammable vegetation. Then again east and
south might have higher fuel loadings from
better growing conditions. Although the bushfire
threat may commonly be driven by the prevailing
summer wind pattern, local topography, dry
vegetation or flying embers often send the
fire in different directions. Hence the bushfire
regulations do not consider aspect, but you
should consider aspect and orientation – both
for solar design and better bushfire safety.
wind
highest
bushfire risk
bushfire
moderate
risk
safest
Figure 12: Bushfire risk and house siting on a slope
passive solar design > siting and solar access
page 6 of 8
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Bushfire safety considerations
Summary
Here is a brief overview of some of the key issues
for consideration for protecting your home against
radiant heat, flames and ember attack. We can’t
outline every matter covered by the Australian
Standard and building regulations so you will
need to seek specialist advice on how to comply
with the regulations and maximise your safety.
New planning requirements allow those
bushfire-affected to rebuild with minimal controls
but the requirements of AS 3959-2009 will
nevertheless apply.
House siting and landscape
>> Site your home to minimise bushfire risk
and BAL.
Siting, landscaping, vegetation, slope and
aspect all affect your bushfire risk.
All these matters must be considered
and assessed when planning to rebuild in
bushfire areas.
>> Appreciate native vegetation whilst at the
same time keeping the most flammable
separated away from your home (this gap is
sometimes called an ‘asset protection zone’
or ‘defendable space’).
Further information
>> Research which garden or landscape species
will thrive in your location without increasing
the bushfire risk. Some species with higher
leaf moisture content can help defend
your home.
www.buildingcommission.vic.gov.au
>> Remove overhanging trees
>> Where possible, cluster your home with
others and/or have access roads and
clearing between your home and the likely
fire front.
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
sustainability.vic.gov.au
www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au
www.yourhome.gov.au
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
>> Design a home of simple form so that embers
do not lodge in corners or around projections
and cause ignition.
>> Garages, carports, etc that are located near
your home will need to address bushfire
issues equally. (as explained in the Standard
AS 3959-2009).
page 7 of 8
passive solar design > siting and solar access
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Notes
ENV015 2.02 July 2009
Passive solar design
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> windows
Included in this fact sheet:
>> The benefits and principles
of good window design
>> Best window orientation and size
>> Shading and window protection
>> Window types
>> Window Energy Rating Scheme
This fact sheet contains information and
recommendations for the sizing and placement
of windows, together with details on how
to maximise winter sun penetration while
minimising excessive summer heat gain and
winter heat loss.
Benefits of good window design
Windows are a vital part of any home – they
allow natural light into the home and provide
views and fresh air. Well-planned and protected
windows improve comfort year round and
reduce the need for heating in winter and
cooling in summer.
Window size, orientation, glazing treatment,
shading and internal coverings can have a
significant impact on your home’s energy
efficiency and comfort. Designing north windows
for maximum solar access can reduce winter
heating bills by up to 25%. External shading
can block up to 80% of summer heat gain
through windows. Internal window coverings
and double glazing can reduce winter heat
losses by around 40%.
Window design and shading
principles
The four main principles of energy efficient
window design and selection include:
1. maximise winter heat gain by orientating
windows to the north and sizing windows to
suit the amount of thermal mass in the dwelling
2. minimise winter heat loss through appropriate
window sizing, together with double glazing
and/or close-fitting internal coverings such as
drapes with pelmets
3. minimise summer heat gain by protecting
windows with external shading devices,
and through the appropriate sizing and
positioning of windows. The same principles
apply to other types of glazing, such as glass
doors, roof windows and skylights. (Wherever
the term ‘window’ is used in this fact sheet,
it encompasses all forms of glazing.)
4. consider your window type, materials and
glazing according to your Bushfire Attack
Level (BAL), derived from AS 3959-2009.
The new building standard
The new building standard has been designed
to improve the ability of buildings to withstand
a bushfire attack and has six levels of risk
based on the BAL, with increasing construction
requirements ranging from ember protection at the
low levels to fire-rated construction at the highest.
For windows, the new requirements range from
installing thicker toughened glass to bushfire
shutters or bushfire-approved window frames.
It is important that your building designer
incorporates the new standard when designing
your home. The new requirements can be found
on the Building Commission’s website or you
can call the Bushfire Building Advice line on
1300 360 320 for more information.
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Heat flow through glass
The main heat gain through windows is due
to solar radiation. Windows receive this as
both diffuse radiation reflected from the sky
and ground, and direct radiation when the sun
shines on the window. On average, between
30-40% of total radiation to north windows is
diffuse, depending on weather conditions.
During summer, all windows receive net heat
gains, but especially those facing east and west.
Figure 2 compares the summer radiation
received by windows of different orientations
with the heat given out by a two-bar radiator
operating three hours per day. As can be seen,
most unshaded windows receive substantial
heat gains.
solar input
MJ/m 2
The heat flow through the glass should be used
to advantage in winter to keep a home warm.
In summer, however, it should be avoided by
shading glass from the direct rays of the sun.
800
700
600
500
Window orientation
400
300
The amount of radiation received by a window
varies according to orientation and time of year.
Figure 1 shows the range of orientations for
Victoria within which a window is regarded as
facing north, east, west, or south. These
orientations are used for all tables and
calculations in this fact sheet.
NORTH
20˚
20˚
30˚
EAST
WEST
40˚ 40˚
SOUTH
Figure 1: Window orientations considered
to be north, east, west and south
200
100
0
south
south
west
west
summer heat gain
north
west
north
north
east
east
south
east
two-bar radiator operating three hrs/day
Figure 2: Window orientation and summer radiation
(unshaded glass)
In winter, the situation is different. Only windows
facing north, north-west and north-east have
a net heat gain over winter, with heat gains
outweighing heat losses (see Figure 3). Although
east and west windows receive substantial
solar input
solar
radiation in the morning and afternoon
2
MJ/m
800respectively, the overall heat losses outweigh the
gains over a 24-hour period. Windows orientated
700
to the south also have a net heat loss.
600
heat gain
greater tha
heat loss
500
400
heat gain
less than
heat loss
300
200
100
0
passive solar design > windows
south
south
west
wes
winter heat gain
north
west
north
north
east
page 2 of 10
east
south
east
winter sun
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
NORTH
height
H
EAST
2–3 times height
solar input
MJ/m 2
0˚
800
700
H
600
heat gain
greater than
heat loss
500
400
heat gain
less than
heat loss
300
200
100
0
Clerestory windows
south
south
west
wes
north
west
north
north
east
east
south
east
winter heat gain
Figure 3: Window
orientation and winter radiation
(unshaded glass)
Optimum window size
The most appropriate size of windows for
energy efficient design depends on the
living orientation of the building and the amount of
car mass in the internal building materials.
thermal
The total glass area is best kept between
5.5 m
20-25% of the total floor area for brick veneer
living
houses and 22-30% for double brick houses.
car
Your Thermal Performance Assessor will be able
to5.5
help
m you with getting this balance right.
5.5 m
NORTH
North-facing
clerestory windows
unshould be
rs
inte
considered as they can bewparticularly
useful
where there is a building obstructing
solar
double
storey
singleto the north
single(see Figure 4). A simple
access
storey
storey
eave overhang for a northern orientation can
at least 5.5windows.
m at leastFor
10 m
shade clerestory
east and westfacing clerestory windows, internally-operated
adjustable louvres or blinds installed internally or
externally, or sandwiched between two panes of
glazing, can be used. Tinted glass could also be
considered, although this will reduce winter light
and therefore heat gain.
street
m
In addition, Victorian building regulations require
a minimum glass area of 10% of the room’s
floor area for each habitable room. Your Thermal
Performance Assessor (refer to fact sheet –
Measuring Your Home’s Energy Efficiency)
can help you assess how varying glass areas,
window orientations, shading, internal coverings
or double glazing can affect energy efficiency.
living
winter sun
Three factors to consider in sizing windows
car
include:
1. window area must be kept within
acceptable limits
living
living
car car
street
high windows
let sunlight in
2. a balance of north, south, east and west
oriented areas of glass should be used
3. glass in individual rooms should be
correctly sized.
NORTH
Figure 4: North-facing clerestory windows can
provide solar access
page 3 of 10
passive solar design > windows
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Shading and window protection
Fixed or adjustable shading
Reducing summer heat gain
Fixed shading includes structures such as
eaves, pergolas or verandahs, which are
usually a part of the building structure. They
are only appropriate for use over north-facing
windows. Although fixed devices provide
effective protection from heat gain, they lack
flexibility in situations where shading may be
needed one day but not the next. However, fixed
shading is durable and does not require ongoing
adjustment. It is important to allow an adequate
distance between the top of the window and
the underside of the shading device. This avoids
partial shading of the window in winter.
External shading devices are an effective way to
reduce heat gain through windows in summer
and keep your home cool. They provide much
better protection from heat gain than internal
window coverings. External shading reduces
heat gains by 70-85%, whereas internal
coverings can reduce heat gains by as little as
15% (see Figure 5).
Shading devices should allow for ventilation on
the outside of the window. If shading is fitted too
closely to the window, warm air can be trapped
and heat conducted into the room.
If external shading is not feasible, internal
shading devices such as close-fitting blinds,
lined curtains or internal shutters are preferable
to no shading at all.
100%
Unshaded single-glazed window
90%
Double glazing
76%
Vertical blinds/open weave drapes
55–85%
Internal venetian blinds*
Internal drapes
or Holland blinds
Tinted glass•
Solar
control
film/
reflective
glass•
Trees
full
shade
1 m eaves
over north wall
Roller
shutters
External
awning
55–65%
40–65%
Adjustable shading devices can also be used.
These include canvas blinds, conventional or
roller shutters, angled metal slats and shade
cloth over pergolas. Such devices permit greater
flexibility to make adjustments on a day-by-day,
or even hour-by-hour, basis, in response to
changing weather conditions and individual
comfort levels. They can also be completely
retracted to maximise winter solar access.
Bear in mind that any adjustable device will
require human participation (see Figure 6).
20–60%
20–60%
30%
30%
25–30%
2 m pergola over north wall covered
with decidious vines or shade cloth
20%
Outside metal blind or miniature
louvres parallel and close to window
15–20%
* Effectiveness is reduced as the colour darkens
• Solar film, tinted glass and reflective glass of varying effectiveness is available.
They significantly reduce light levels all year round.
Figure 5: Comparison of heat gains through different
window treatments in summer
passive solar design > windows
roller shutter
Figure 6: Adjustable external shading devices
page 4 of 10
summer sun
solid shading device
(eave overhang or
battens) w = 45% h
NORTH
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
winter sun
w
If your property requires bushfire shutters under
the new standard, it is worth investigating the
potential to use the shutters as shading devices
to block the summer sun and allow the winter
sun in. This integrated approach will help you
save on material costs.
wall above
window
should
be 16%
of window
height
Shade
battens
75 m
25 mm
NORTH
16%
of h
45% of h
Calculating the size of northfacing shading devices
Shade
battens
To provide full shade from late October to late
February in Victoria, the depth of the horizontal
overhang should be approximately 45% of
the vertical height to be shaded, measured
from the sill of the window to the underside of
the shading device (see Figure 7). This depth
represents an acceptable compromise between
shading in late summer and direct solar gain
in late spring, while allowing winter sun to
penetrate fully.
summer sun
solid shading device
(eave overhang or
battens) w = 45% h
h
75 m
25 mm
h
16%
of h
NORTH
45% of h
h
Figure 8: Use of shade battens on pergolas
NORTH
Width of shading device
For horizontal shading to be effective, it should
extend past the edges of the window for at least
width(see Figure 9).
the same distance as its depth
winter sun
w
width
wall above
window
should
be 16%
of window
height
width
width
h
width of fixed
shading width of fixed
NORTH
Figure 7: Rule of thumb for sizing north window
overhang
Note that, if possible, the window should
not extend
Shadefully to the underside of the
battens
overhang, as this will create an area of glass
75 m
25 mm
in perpetual shadow (and thus subject to
permanent heat loss).
shading
NORTH
NORTH
Figure 9: Extend window shading beyond the
window edges
16%
of h
45% of h
passive solar design > windows
page 5 of 10
h
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Internal window coverings
Internal window coverings are used to trap a
layer of still air between the glass surface and
the covering, reducing heat flow through the
glass (see Figure 10). To maintain the still air
layer, coverings must be opaque and closely
woven, be fitted completely over the window
and have a barrier at the top, such as a boxed
pelmet. Alternatively, they should be recessed
into the window reveal (see Figure 11).
still air space
between glass
and blind
air trapped in
cells provides
extra insulation
sealed at
the top
Appropriate coverings include drapes, Holland
blinds, Roman blinds and Austrian blinds. Avoid
vertical blinds, conventional or timber venetians,
which do not give a good air seal. Thin or lace
curtains should be used in conjunction with
appropriate coverings. Also note that internal
window coverings are not included in the thermal
performance rating for the 5-star standard.
roller blind
recessed in
window frame
with cover
strip acting
as pelmet
warm air
pelmet (closed at top)
poorly fitted
curtain; allows
warm air to
contact the
cold glass
cooled
inside air
cold
glass
well fitted
curtain
with
pelmet
creates a
still air space
between the
glass and curtain
still
air
layer
closely woven fabric
poorly fitted curtain
well fitted curtain
small
pelmet
over
roller
blind
Figure 10: Features of effective window coverings
Figure 11: Features of effective window coverings
passive solar design > windows
page 6 of 10
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Window materials
Toned glass and reflective films
Glass can be treated to reduce the amount of
solar energy transmitted through it. This can be
an alternative method of preventing summer
heat gain where external shading devices
are inappropriate (such as for windows that
are inaccessible or have views that must be
maintained). However, treated glass must be
used with caution, as it reduces heat gain and
light in winter as well as summer.
Toned glass
Low-e coatings can be ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ and can
enable a very dramatic improvement in comfort
levels. But they must be employed correctly or
they will either deteriorate or fail to perform to
specification. The Australian glass industry
manufactures a wide range of high-performance,
low-e coated glass products, and imported
products are also available.
heat
loss
Toned glass has a tint applied to the glass
during manufacture to reduce the amount of
heat transmitted through it. There are two main
types of toned glass available:
warm air moves
toward the cold glass
and loses heat
warm air rises
losing body heat
cooled inside air
1. basic tones, usually bronze, grey and green
2. super tones, which offer a higher level
of performance, such as EverGreen™,
SuperGrey™, SolarGreen® and Azurlite®.
Reflective coatings
Reflective coatings can be applied to new and
existing windows. They tend to be better at
preventing heat gain than some toned glass,
and increase privacy by blocking vision into your
home. To ensure optimum performance, films
should be applied professionally.
Low emittance glass
Another method of reducing heat loss through
glazing is to use low emittance (low-e) glass.
This glass has a special coating that allows light
from the sun to pass into the house, but stops
heat escaping through the window.
page 7 of 10
Figure 12: Unprotected glass and winter discomfort
Safety glass
The Building Code of Australia requires that
window glass near the floor and/or glass
doors must be ‘safety glass’ according to
the Australian Standard. This is for personal
safety. Similarly, AS 3959-2009 requires that
(depending upon the BAL), toughened glass be
used in higher bushfire zones. That is because
this glass performs better at the higher heat
intensity than ordinary (annealed) glass. The
same toughened glass process can also be
used for toned, coated or treated glass, plus
double glazing – all at a price.
passive solar design > windows
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Double glazing
Double glazing is another way to stop heat
loss through windows. Although useful for
any window, it is vital that it be used if internal
coverings are not desired or are inappropriate,
such as in the kitchen, for highlight or clerestory
windows, or simply those where unobstructed
views are desired.
Double glazing does not impede solar heat gain.
Therefore, it will still allow winter sun penetration.
Unprotected double-glazed windows will still
require appropriate summer shading. Double
glazing can incorporate most types of glass
and is available with toned, laminated and
toughened glazing. For optimum performance,
the space between the two panes should be
at least nine millimetres. However, increasing it
above 15 millimetres will not provide any extra
significant thermal benefits.
Double glazing can be used in most situations,
but is particularly appropriate:
PVC meet many requirements at lower bushfire
levels, but only a selected number of timber
species (listed in AS 3959-2009) will meet
higher bushfire requirements. Aluminium or steel
frames meet most requirements for bushfire
protection, but other criteria emerge if seeking
better thermal performance Figure 14 compares
the percentage energy savings of different
window frames and glazing when compared
with single-glazed aluminium frames.
Frame
material
U value of glazing type (w/m2/°c)
Single
glazing
Double
glazing
PVC/timber
4.5
3.0
2.4
Aluminium
5.5
4.0
3.3
Aluminium –
with thermal
break
4.6
3.1
2.5
Figure 13: Total heat transfer through windows
100%
Single-glazed industry typical aluminium
>> in cold or alpine climates
Single-glazed thermally improved aluminium
>> in skylights, clerestory windows and roof glazing
Double-glazed industry typical aluminium
>> for large areas of glazing
>> where curtains or other window coverings
are not used
>> where energy costs are high.
passive solar design > windows
87%
82%
Single-glazed timber or PVC
72%
Double-glazed thermally improved aluminium
60%
54%
Double-glazed timber on PVC
Figure 14: Comparison of heat loss through different
window frames
airtight
seal
Window frame material
The material of the window frame can affect
overall window performance. Materials with high
heat conductance cause more rapid heat loss
from the heated interior in winter and higher
heat gain in summer. PVC and timber frames
generally perform better than metal frames,
unless metal frames are designed with thermal
breaks to decrease conductance across them
(see Figure 13). The material of a window frame
can affect overall window performance, and in
many cases, be mandated for a higher bushfire
protection BAL. Australian hardwoods and
Double
and low-e
coating
two panes
of glass
sealed
air space
spacer
airtight
seal
desiccant to
absorb moisture
Figure 15: Typical double-glazing system
page 8 of 10
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Windows To Keep You Cool
umber of stars
Indicative improvement
L
Window Energy
Rating Scheme
12%
0%
24%
The Window Energy
Rating Scheme (WERS)
36%
is a program implemented
by the Australasian
48%
Window Council (AWC). WERS is independent
60%
of any one manufacturer
and acts as a fair,
rigorous and credible system for testing window
Windows To Keep You Warm
performance. The AWC rates a window’s energy
umber of stars
Indicative improvement
performance in terms of stars. No stars means
L
0%
that the window
is a very poor performer while
9%
5 stars indicates
an excellent performer (see
18%
Figure 16). The
aim
of the scheme is to help
27%
you evaluate the
36%relative energy performance of
different types45%
of windows, so you can make an
informed decision suited to your needs.
sed on the amount of energy required to heat or
ol a typical house, when compared with using clear,
gle glazed aluminium windows
Windows To Keep You Cool
Number of stars
NIL
0%
24%
36%
48%
60%
Windows To Keep You Warm
NIL
Heating band—
indicates a windows
ability to retain heat
– 0-10 stars
Cooling band—
indicates a windows
ability to keep
heat out – 0-10 stars
Indicative improvement
12%
Number of stars
The window manufacturer can display a label
that shows the star rating for the window’s
heating and cooling performance. The label
shows an indicative percentage reduction in the
home’s heating and cooling needs compared
with using clear single-glazed aluminium
framed windows and also the AWC Certified
Performance Data (see Figure 17).
Indicative improvement
0%
9%
18%
27%
36%
45%
Based on the amount of energy required to heat or
cool a typical house, when compared with using clear,
single glazed aluminium windows
Figure 17: Window Energy Rating label
Skylights and roof glazing
Skylights and roof glazing can cause serious
problems with heat gain in summer and heat
loss in winter. Further complexities arise within
bushfire zones, where particular requirements
are mandated. The larger the glass area, the
greater the potential for excessive heat loss or
gain. It is vital to design and size these types
of glazing correctly, as they can be difficult and
expensive to correct once installed.
Roof glazing should only be installed where it
is absolutely necessary and kept as small as
possible. As it admits around three times as
much light as the same area of vertical glazing
(on average), there is no reason for it to be
excessively large. Australian Standard AS42852007 provides recommended sizing guidelines
for skylights.
Figure 14: Percentage improvement in heating and
cooling is represented by the number of stars
page 9 of 10
passive solar design > windows
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
air loses heat
against glass
roof
insulation
light shaft
air loses heat
against glass
transparent
diffuser
roof
warm air rises
air falls to room
as a cold draught
Figure 18: Skylight diffuser
warm insulation
air stays
in the room
light shaft
PREFERRED OPTION
transparent
diffuser
such as bathrooms, hallways and entry areas.
Note that tubes with textured, flexible ducts tend
to deliver significantly less light than those with
smooth shiny ducts. Bushfire requirements to
AS 3959-2009 include non-combustible flashing
requirements (low BAL) through to glazed
ceiling-level diffusers and metal mesh ember
guards over glazing and fire-rated assemblies.
Once again, it’s necessary to check with specific
requirements within the Standard for your
particular situation.
Bushfire safety considerations
Glazed windows, skylights and doors are
especially vulnerable to bushfire attack.
Daylight
tubes
clear UV
warm air rises
stabilised dome
Daylightairtubes
can be
falls to room
as a cold draught
warm air
stays efficient
a more
energy
in the room
alternative to conventional skylights. They
PREFERRED OPTION
consist of a clear, hemispherical dome, a
smooth highly reflective tube and a diffuser at
ceiling level (see Figure 19).
clear UV
reflective
tube
stabilised
dome
ceiling liner
diffuser
Consequently AS 3959-2009 has an increased set
of requirements depending upon the BAL.
It’s important that these requirements be
investigated early in the re-building process to
avoid disappointment and additional cost later.
Door (and window) seals are required generally
to ensure minimal gaps and cracks. Sometimes
perforated metal screens or shutters are
suggested.
Further information
reflective tube
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
sustainability.vic.gov.au
saveenergy.vic.gov.au
ceiling liner
diffuser
Figure 19: Daylight tube (bushfire requirements
may apply)
As they require a smaller area of roof glazing
than a traditional skylight, heat gain in summer
and heat loss in winter is significantly reduced.
They are best suited for use in smaller rooms
ENV015 2.03 July 2009
© Sustainable Energy Authority Victoria35
2002
www.buildingcommission.vic.gov.au
www.yourhome.gov.au
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Passive solar design
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> insulation
Included in this fact sheet:
WINTER LOSSES
ceiling
25–35%
>> The benefits and principles
of good insulation
windows
10–20%
>> Understanding R Values
walls
15–25%
SUMMER GAINS
ceiling
25–35%
>> Fire safety and bushfire safety
air leakage
15–25%
>> Insulation materials
floor
10–20%
windows
25–35%
This fact sheet outlines the benefits of insulation,
how it works and the different types of insulation
products available for use in your home.
walls
15–25%
air leakage
5–15%
Figure 7.1: Heat flow without insulation
Insulation benefits
Figure 1: Heat flow without insulation
Insulation is the most effective way to improve
the energy efficiency of your home. Insulation of
the building envelope helps keep heat in during
the winter and reduce heat gain in summer.
The term ‘insulation’ refers to materials that
provide substantial resistance to heat flow.
Benefits of insulation include:
>> improved comfort levels throughout the year
>> reduced heating and cooling costs;
>> less need for heating and cooling, which
saves non-renewable resources and reduces
greenhouse gas emissions
>> condensation on walls and ceilings virtually
eliminated
>> some insulation materials can also be used
for soundproofing.
How insulation works
An uninsulated home is subject to considerable
winter heat losses and summer heat gains
(see Figure 1).
All materials allow a measure of heat to pass
through them. Some, such as metal, glass or air,
allow heat to pass through more easily. Others,
including animal fur or wool, thick clothing and
still air, are much more resistant to heat flow and
are referred to as insulators.
When these materials are installed in the ceiling,
walls and floors of a building, heat flow into and
out of the building is reduced, and the need for
heating and cooling is minimised.
Although ceilings and walls may be insulated,
heat loss will still occur in winter through
large areas of unprotected glass or through
fixed wall vents and gaps and cracks around
external doors and windows. Appropriate
internal window coverings (e.g. lined drapes
with pelmets) and draught proofing are vital to
complement insulation.
Insulation should always be coupled with
appropriate shading of windows and adequate
ventilation in summer. Without shading, heat
entering the home through the windows will
be trapped inside by the insulation and cause
discomfort (see Sustainability Victoria’s Windows
fact sheet for more information).
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
cold night temperature
roof surface is cold
cools
convective
heat
Understanding heat transfer
Conduction
There are three ways in which heat is transferred
– radiation, convection and conduction.
Conduction describes the heat
transfer from
warms
warm to cooler areas within a material, or
between
two
materials touching
each
other
plasterboard
is warm
warm indoor
temperature
(see Figure 4).
Radiation
Radiation is the direct heat that can be sensed
by the skin, such as the sun’s rays or the heat
from an open fire (see Figure 2).
cold night temperature
falls
rises
cool air in roof space
cold night temperature
roof surface is cold
roof surface is lower
cold layer
heats next
layer
warm air heats lower layer of plasterboard
convective
warm indoor
temperature
radiates
heat to
colder
surface
cools
falls
heat
rises
Figure 4: Conducted heat transferwarms
Principles
of insulation
plasterboard is warm
warm indoor temperature
plasterboard is warm
warm indoor temperature
Figure 2: Radiant heat transfer
lower layer
heats next
pockets
layer of
Convection
Convection transfers heat through the
movement of gases or liquids. For example,
when air is warmed, it rises and is replaced by
cooler air (see Figure 3).
cold night temperature
roof surface is cold
cools
rises
warm indoor temperature
Resistance to heat flow is achieved by the use
of either bulk insulation or reflective insulation,
air in roof
space
which work incool
different
ways.
falls
Bulk insulation traps millions of tiny
still air or other
gases within its structure. These
warm air heats lower layer of plasterboard
air pockets
provide
the resistance to heat flow.
tiny pocketswarm indoor
temperature
trapped air reduces
Bulkofinsulation
radiant, convective and
heat
flow
conducted heat flow (see Figure 5).
reflects 95% of
radiant heat
emits 5% of
all radiant heat
convective
heat
warms
plasterboard is warm
tiny pockets
of trapped air
Figure 3: Convective heat transfer
heat
flow
double sided
Figure 5: Bulk insulation and heat reflective
flow foil
cool air in roof space
lower layer
heats next
layer
emits 5% of
all radiant heat
reflects 95% of
radiant heat
warm air heats lower layer of plasterboard
warm indoor
temperature
passive solar design > insulation
page 2 of 10
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
tiny pockets
of trapped air
heat
flow
emits 5% of
all radiant heat
reflects 95% of
radiant heat
double sided
reflective foil
Figure 6: Reflective insulation and heat flow
Reflective insulation works by reducing the
radiant heat transfer across an enclosed space,
e.g. between bricks and plasterboard in an
insulated brick veneer wall. Reflective foil in walls
or under the roof reflects radiant heat away from
the interior in summer. It works most effectively
in conjunction with a still air layer (enclosed
air space) of at least 25 mm (see Figure 6).
Reflective insulation needs to remain clean and
dust-free for best performance.
Overall R value
The overall R value is the total resistance
of a building element. It takes into account
resistance provided by construction materials
used in a wall or ceiling, internal air spaces,
thermal bridging, insulation materials and air
films adjacent to solid materials. Each of these
components has its own inherent R value, the
sum of which provides the overall R value.
Added R value
The added R value or added thermal resistance
is the value of the insulating material alone. This
is the term most used when buying insulation.
The manufacturer should provide the R value of
bulk insulation. Some products will trap air or
gas more effectively, and so will have a higher
R value for a specified thickness. For example,
45 mm thick extruded polystyrene and 80 mm
thick glasswool both have an R value of
approximately 1.5.
Reflective insulation must work in conjunction
with enclosed air spaces between surfaces,
and cannot be said to have an R value by
itself. To compare the performance of bulk
and reflective insulation, the resistance of
any existing air space(s) must be calculated.
Reputable manufacturers can supply this
information. Note that the effectiveness of
reflective insulation installed on horizontal or
sloping surfaces will eventually be reduced
due to dust build-up, which reduces reflectivity.
Recommended added R value
The minimum recommended added R value
in Victoria is R3.5 or higher for ceilings and
reflective foil will provide an added benefit
in summer. Walls should be insulated with a
minimum added R value of R2.0; anti-glare foil
should also be added to brick veneer walls.
Use sub-floor insulation if installing suspended
timber floors, particularly if uncarpeted. The
recommended minimum added R value for sub
floors is R 1 if using bulk insulation or a reflective
insulation with an air gap of 25 mm (minimum).
Your Thermal Performance Assessor will be able
to help you determine the best added R value
for your home. They can also provide advice on
how best to meet the 5-star standard or to go
beyond minimum compliance requirements.
page 3 of 10
passive solar design > insulation
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
R values of common wall
construction types
Fire safety
Common building materials, such as brick,
timber and tiles have little inherent insulation
value. The R values of some typical forms of wall
construction are shown in Figure 7.
Wall Construction
Overall R Value
Weatherboard
0.55
Brick veneer
0.51
Cavity brick
0.53
Solid brick (230 mm thick)
0.44
Solid concrete (100 mm thick)
0.23
Solid concrete (200 mm thick)
0.30
Aerated concrete (100 mm block)
0.78
Aerated concrete (200 mm block)
1.54
Mud brick (300 mm block)
0.40
Figure 7: Estimated R values* of common wall
construction types
*As R value increases, the insulation
benefit improves.
How to select your insulation
When selecting insulation, ensure that the
material is:
>> the recommended R value for the relevant area
>> appropriate for the intended installation
All insulation products should be independently
tested for flammability prior to being sold.
AS1530.1 (1994) provides a standard testing
procedure to measure:
>> ignitability
>> the spread of flame
>> if the material is heat evolved
>> if the material is smoke evolved.
Cellulose fibre must be treated with a fire
retardant such as a mix of borax and boracic
acid during manufacture. This treatment ensures
that if the material does ignite, the flame will not
spread. Expanded and extruded polystyrene
are combustible and should only be installed
between fire-resistant surfaces (this includes
plasterboard). Natural wool is flame resistant,
provided only pure, new scoured wool is used.
Wool that is oily (or has synthetic fibres mixed
with it) is potentially flammable.
Suggested applications for
insulation products
Figure 8 provides general information about the
various insulation products currently available,
together with the most common applications
for each product. It is possible to adapt most
products for different uses if required.
>> a material covered by Australian
Standards or approved by other recognised
testing authorities
>> sufficient to meet local building
authority requirements
>> meets the requirements for your property’s
Bushfire Attack Level (BAL).
passive solar design > insulation
page 4 of 10
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Figure 8: Insulation products and possible applications
P
P
P
Framed
Walls
P
Full Masonry
Walls
P
Concrete Slab
Edges
P
Suspended
Concrete Slabs
Manufactured from melted glass spun into
a mat of fine fibre. Made to an Australian
Standard and commonly sold in DIY packs with
R values clearly labelled. Easy to cut and install.
Remains inert.
Timber
Floors
Glasswool
Typical Applications
Cathedral Ceilings
Or Raked Ceilings
Material Description
Flat Ceilings
Pitched Roofs
Insulating
Material
Batts And Blankets
Should not be compressed or moistened.
Butt all ends and edges together firmly.
Rockwool
Volcanic rock melted at high temperatures
and spun into a mat of fine fibres. Denser than
glasswool so the R value per unit thickness is
higher. Good sound absorption properties.
See glasswool for other characteristics.
P
P
Glasswool/
Rockwool—
foil attached
Characteristics same as above with foil
providing increased insulating value (in summer)
and moisture resistance. R value depends on
method of installation.
P
P
Natural
wool
Should only be made from new, scoured wool.
Must be treated with a vermin/rot proofing
agent during the scouring process. Dirt or
grease can add to flammability. Some include
synthetic (usually polyester) fibres to reduce
settling and compression. The Wool Mark logo
signifies the batt is made from pure wool only.
P
P
P
P
Polyester
Manufactured from polyester strands spun into
a mat. Similar physical properties to glasswool
and rockwool. Non-toxic, with no known
physical or health hazards. Does not burn, but
will melt if exposed to a direct flame. Butt all
edges firmly.
P
P
P
P
page 5 of 10
passive solar design > insulation
Material Description
Timber
Floors
Suspended
Concrete Slabs
Concrete Slab
Edges
Full Masonry
Walls
Framed
Walls
Typical Applications
Extruded
polystyrene
(styrofoam)
Rigid boards of close cell polystyrene which
retain air but exclude water. High R value per
unit thickness. Suitable where space is limited.
Easy to cut and install. Should only be used
between non-combustible materials such as
brick, aluminium and plasterboard. Can be
rendered. Most commonly used material for
slab-edge and cavity brick wall insulation.
Greater structural strength and moisture
resistance than expanded polystyrene.
P
P
P
P
P
P
Expanded
polystyrene
(EPS)
Semi-rigid boards of white polystyrene beads.
High water absorbency. Combustible and
should only be used between fire resistant
materials. Easy to cut and install. Available as
preclad panels. Also used in integrated wall
systems.
P
P
P
P
P
P
Expanded
polystyrene
—foil
attached
Expanded polystyrene boards sandwiched
between reflective foil. Characteristics same as
above, however, higher R values achieved due
to the addition of two reflective surfaces and
higher water resistance.
P
Cellulose
fibre
Manufactured from waste paper pulverised
into a fine fluff. Fire retardant added. Generally
pumped into the roof by contractor. Difficult for
the purchaser to ensure uniform thickness and
density if installing by hand. Product should
be manufactured to AS2462 and installed in a
consistent, even layer. Must be kept dry. Must
not be compressed. Settling of up to 20 mm
per 100 mm thickness may occur, decreasing
performance.
P
P
Granulated
rockwool
Properties as per rockwool batts. However,
material is loose, not a prefabricated mass.
Treated with a water repellent. Should be
installed in an even, consistent manner.
P
P
Natural
wool
Made from off-cuts of natural sheep’s wool.
Quality and density can vary considerably,
affecting the R value. Other characteristics
same as for natural wool batts.
P
P
Loose Fill
Boards
Flat Ceilings
Pitched Roofs
Insulating
Material
Cathedral Ceilings
Or Raked Ceilings
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
passive solar design > insulation
P
P
P
page 6 of 10
Reflective
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Prefabricated batts made from layers of
laminated foil with partition reflective strips
to produce a cell construction with enclosed
air cavities. Gaps will significantly reduce
performance. Double or triple-cell batts (two
and three layers of cells, respectively) may be
necessary to achieve adequate winter insulation
levels. Dust build-up reduces R value.
page 7 of 10
P
Framed
Walls
Multi-cell
foil batts
P
Full Masonry
Walls
Expandable concertina folded foil-paper
laminate. Can be adjusted to suit varying gaps.
Other characteristics identical to laminate
bought as rolls.
P
Concrete Slab
Edges
Concertina
foil batts
P
Suspended
Concrete Slabs
Aluminium foil laminated with glass fibre
reinforcement. Supplied in rolls, one side often
painted with an anti-glare paint. Does not have
a significant R value itself, and requires a sealed
air space of at least 25 mm between foil and
solid surface to achieve full insulation qualities.
Gaps in foil reduce performance. Valuable in
combination with bulk insulation for enhancing
performance. Useful barrier against transfer of
moisture. Reflective surface needs to remain
clean and dust-free. Dust build-up reduces R
value.
Timber
Floors
Reflective
foil
Typical Applications
Cathedral Ceilings
Or Raked Ceilings
Material Description
Flat Ceilings
Pitched Roofs
Insulating
Material
P
P
P
P
P
passive solar design > insulation
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Full Masonry
Walls
Framed
Walls
Concrete Slab
Edges
Suspended
Concrete Slabs
Lightweight concrete blocks or panels aerated
to trap insulating pockets of air. Blocks provide
solid masonry wall and insulation in the one
product. Good thermal and acoustic properties.
Timber
Floors
Aerated
concrete
Typical Applications
Cathedral Ceilings
Or Raked Ceilings
Material Description
Flat Ceilings
Pitched Roofs
Insulating
Material
P
P
Non-combustible. Easy to handle. Must
be waterproofed with acrylic render and
paint system.
Building Material
Expanded
polystyrene
P
Hollow forms filled with concrete. Hollow EPS
blocks and panels create a solid formwork that
is then filled with concrete, or sprayed with an
external concrete render.
Must be waterproofed with acrylic render and
paint system.
Insulated
panelling
A range of building products incorporating
inner and/or outer vinyl, cement or metallic
materials rendered onto extruded or expanded
polystyrene. Designed to be used as
pre-insulated external or internal panelling
on roofs or walls or as a replacement for
conventional tilt concrete construction.
Some manufacturers use polyurethane foam
or mineral wool in place of polystyrene.
Characteristics vary depending on product.
Weatherproof Sheeting made of polyethylene fibres bonded
together by heat and pressure. Added to
housewrap
buildings during construction to weatherproof
and draught proof walls.
passive solar design > insulation
P
P
P
P
P
P
P
P
page 8 of 10
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Bushfire note
Further information
The higher the bushfire risk, the greater the
caution required in selecting appropriate
insulation products.
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Some insulation products are non-combustible
and non-flamable (e.g. Rockwool) and so are
recommended to seal roof/wall junctions for
example.
Other products such as reflective foil roof
sarking are required to stop embers under tiles
and metal sheet roofs.
sustainability.vic.gov.au
www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au
www.buildingcommission.vic.gov.au
www.yourhome.gov.au
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Depending on your BAL, some insulation
products (e.g. polystyrene, polyurethane blocks
and panels, PVC) may not be suitable where it
could be exposed to heat or flame in external
walls See AS 3959-2009.
References
Australian Government (June 2007)
R-Values for Timber Framed Building Elements,
Forest and Wood Products Research and
Development Corporation.
www.tastimber.tas.gov.au/species/pdfs/
Rvalue-Edition-2-Intro-V2.pdf
Insulation Council of Australia and
New Zealand (March 2008)
Insulation Handbook Part 1:
Thermal Performance.
www.icanz.org.au/handbook
page 9 of 10
passive solar design > insulation
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Notes
ENV015 2.04 July 2009
timber floor
Passive solar design
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> thermal mass
Included in this fact sheet:
heat is absorbed
by the slab during
the day, reducing
internal temperature
>> Understanding thermal mass
summer
sun
>> How thermal mass works
in different seasons and climates
>> Where to place thermal mass
>> Thermal mass in different
construction types
This fact sheet explains how thermal mass
works and provides guidelines for its location
and extent. The effect of thermal mass in
summer and winter and the relationship with
climate is also outlined.
mud brick
mud brick
concrete block
concrete block
brick
brick
concrete slab
concrete slab
Figure 1: Materials with high thermal
storage capacity
stud wall
stud wall
weatherboard
weatherboard
cladding
cladding
timber floor
timber floor
Figure 2: Materials with low thermal
storage capacity
NORTH
Figure 3: Thermal mass in summer
Understanding thermal mass
Thermal mass is a term used to describe the
ability of building materials to store heat (thermal
storage capacity). The basic characteristic of
materials with thermal mass is their ability to
absorb heat, store it and release it later.
Adding thermal mass within an insulated
building helps to reduce the extremes in
temperature experienced inside the home,
making the average internal temperature more
moderate year round and creating a more
comfortable home in which to live.
Heavyweight building materials store a lot of
heat so are said to have high thermal mass
(see Figure 1). Lightweight materials do not
store much heat and have low thermal mass
(see Figure 2).
The use of heavyweight construction materials
with a high thermal mass (e.g. a concrete slab
on the ground and insulated brick cavity walls)
can reduce total heating and cooling energy
requirements substantially compared with a
home built of lightweight construction materials
with a low thermal mass (e.g. brick veneer with
a timber floor).
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
heat is absorbed
heat
is absorbed
by the
slab during
by
slab
during
thethe
day,
reducing
the
day, temperature
reducing
internal
internal temperature
summer
summer
sun
sun
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Seasonal effects of thermal mass
Summer
In summer, thermal mass absorbs heat that
enters the building. In hot weather, thermal
mass has a lower initial temperature than the
surrounding air and so acts as a heat sink.
By absorbing heat in the home, the internal air
temperature is lowered during the day, resulting
in increased is comfort without the need for
supplementary cooling (see Figure 3 on
previous page).
For good winter performance, thermal mass
should be exposed to direct sunlight and is
best located in areas with unobstructed northfacing windows.
An additional benefit is that some of the heat
from lengthy periods of internal space heating
can be stored in the thermal mass. Long after
the heating is turned off, the slow release of
heat from the walls or floor will help maintain
comfortable internal temperatures.
Negative winter effects
During the night, the heat is slowly released
to passing cool breezes (natural ventilation),
extracted by exhaust fans, or is released back
into the room itself. Inside temperatures at night
time will be slightly higher than if there was low
thermal mass, however with the cooling night
effects, temperatures are still within the comfort
zone (unless a long spell of consistently hot days
and nights is experienced).
The ability of thermal mass to even out
fluctuations in indoor temperatures is illustrated
in Figure 4. The solid line represents the air
temperature in summer inside a double brick
house with a concrete slab floor. The dashed
line represents the air temperature inside
a lightweight timber building. Note that the
temperature variation in the brick house is much
smaller and that the temperature is almost
always within the comfort zone.
In some cases, thermal mass can actually
increase winter energy requirements. Where
there is little possibility of solar gain, either
because north windows are too small or are
overshadowed (poor solar access), the benefits
of thermal mass will be minimal. Each time
supplementary heating is used, the thermal
mass needs to be heated before the air
temperature rises, which actually increases the
heating energy needed. Increasing the area of
north-facing glass can help offset this effect.
Consequently, rooms on the southern side of
the house will benefit from higher insulation
levels and fewer or smaller windows.
Over a year the benefits of thermal mass will
outweigh any negative winter effects, resulting in
a net increase in comfort and a net reduction in
energy consumption for heating and cooling.
Winter
In winter, thermal mass in the floor or walls
of a house absorbs radiant heat from the
sun through north, east and west-facing
windows. Once the sun passes, the heat is
gradually released back into the room as the air
temperature drops. This maintains a comfortable
temperature for some time, reducing the need
for supplementary heating during the early
evening (see Figure 5).
passive solar design > thermal mass
page 2 of 8
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Thermal mass and climate
air temperature
inside double
brick building
on concrete slab
outdoor air
temperature
summer temperatures
36°
air-temperature
inside timber
building
28°
DAYTIME
COMFORT
ZONE
21°
12°
noon
Day 1
noon
Day 2
noon
Day 3
North of the Great Dividing Range
Figure 4: Comparing summer temperatures
for buildings of different thermal mass
The climate north of the Great Dividing Range is
different to that south of the Divide.
On average, northern areas have a hotter
summer, warmer winter and greater day-night
temperature range than southern areas. Thermal
mass provides greatest benefits in this situation.
heat is released
by the slab stabilising
internal temperature
winter
sun
insulation
NORTH
mass
Figure 5: Thermal mass thermal
in winter
insulation
Thermal mass is particularly effective in places
where there is a big difference in the maximum
day temperature and the minimum night
temperature. In general, the greater the daily
temperature range, the more thermal
mass required.
South of the Great Dividing Range
For locations south of the Divide, winter comfort
is often a higher priority. Thermal mass provides
real advantages in comfort terms and energy
savings in well insulated homes.
Alpine or mountain areas
insulation
thermal mass
insulation
Figure 6: Thermal mass within the insulated envelope
In alpine areas or cool climates, thermal
mass is less important than insulation and
the correct sizing of glass areas. There is
less need for thermal mass to moderate
summer temperatures, although it is not
a disadvantage in winter where heating is
operating continuously, provided the building is
appropriately insulated.
NORTH
Figure 7: Solar radiation directly onto masonry walls
and/or slab
NORTH
page 3 of 8
passive solar design > thermal mass
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Locating thermal mass
Amount of thermal mass
Inside the insulated building envelope
High levels of thermal mass are beneficial
throughout Victoria, with the exception of alpine
areas and some situations where solar access is
poor. While technical studies often recommend
certain percentages of thermal mass for
different construction types and climate zones,
in practice most homes have thermal mass
provided in only the following few locations:
For maximum effectiveness, thermal mass
should be insulated from external temperatures,
i.e. should be located within insulated walls.
The benefits of thermal mass are considerably
reduced if the external envelope is not insulated
(see Figure 6). For this reason, brick veneer walls
offer little thermal mass benefit, as the brick is
on the outside of the insulated cavity. Yet if the
materials are reversed (‘reverse brick veneer’),
the insulation works very effectively to keep the
thermal mass warm or cool according to the
season (see Figures 6, 14 and 15).
Concrete slab on ground
A concrete floor slab placed directly on the
ground will take advantage of the huge thermal
mass of the earth beneath.
Inside north-facing rooms
Using thermal mass in north-facing rooms
should be a priority, particularly on walls
that receive direct winter sun. As the area of
north-facing window increases, more internal
thermal mass is required to maintain a stable
temperature (see Figure 8).
Hot rooms during summer
Locate thermal mass throughout the dwelling for
summer comfort, but particularly in north, east and
west-facing rooms (see Figure 9). Shading of the
windows to these rooms is also very important.
> floor: concrete slab
> external walls: double brick/masonry
or reverse brick veneer
> internal walls: masonry.
Of all the material choices, the wall selection
accounts for about 60–70% of the thermal mass
of the building, with the floor area accounting for
about 30–40%.
Generally, the more thermal mass the better
(with good window orientation and insulation).
A double brick or masonry home on a concrete
slab offers the highest comfort benefits
and energy savings. However, the cost of
heavyweight materials can outweigh the value
of energy savings. For this reason, use as much
thermal mass as you can afford to achieve
comfortable indoor conditions.
In most cases, give first priority to provision
of a concrete slab (substantially less expensive
than masonry walls) and supplement this with
heavyweight walls if your building budget permits.
Masonry fireplaces on internal walls
Masonry fireplaces are best located on internal
rather than external walls so that the chimney
can radiate additional heat into the rooms
(see Figure 10).
radiant
heat
NORTH
Figure 8: Locate thermal mass in north-facing rooms
passive solar design > thermal mass
page 4 of 8
NORTH
NORTH
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
NORTH
NORTH
Slab Floor Covering
Carpet
Ceramic Tiles
Heating
28.8
29.3
Cooling
11.3
6.0
Total
40.1
35.3
Figure 11: Effect of floor coverings on energy
consumption (GJ)
Figure 9: Use thermal mass in rooms that may
overheat in summer
NORTH
A concrete slab floor increases the thermal
mass of the floor and its ability to store heat.
This can improve cooling in summer (providing
the windows are shaded) and works best for
rooms with good north solar access. Other hard
floor finishes, such as slate and vinyl tiles, have a
similar effect on thermal mass performance.
Colours, textures and wall surfaces
NORTH
Figure 10: Fireplaces on internal walls
The effect of floor coverings,
colour and texture
Surface colour and texture affect the heat
absorption of thermal mass.
Floor finishes
Carpets, timber or cork laid over concrete slab
floors tend to insulate the thermal mass of the
slab from incoming heat. This delays its entry
but also slows down its release. The net result
is a temperature rise of 1–2°C, which is good
in winter, but not so good in summer. This
effect partly offsets the winter disadvantage of
increased heating energy requirements due to
absorption of heat by the thermal mass.
So, while carpet lowers winter energy
consumption, it increases summer energy
requirements. Figure 11 compares the effect
on energy use of carpet and ceramic tiles on a
concrete slab.
page 5 of 8
Thermal mass that is darker in colour, has a
hard surface and a textured, dull finish absorbs
more heat than lighter coloured material that
is soft and has a glossy or polished finish.
Depending on the characteristics of the thermal
mass this could result in significant differences in
its ability to moderate the internal temperature of
a home (see Figure 12).
The improved thermal storage of dark, textured
solid walls should be balanced against the
negative effect of such walls on internal light
levels. Light-coloured reflective surfaces
maximise both daylight and artificial light,
whereas dark surfaces absorb light.
black
thermal
mass
22˚C
white
thermal
mass
20˚C
NORTH
Figure 12: Comparison of the effect of colour
on room temperature
passive solar design > thermal mass
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Special construction types
Mud brick
Mud brick and rammed earth homes generally
have thick walls (approximately 300 mm) and
high thermal mass. When outside temperatures
fluctuate above and below comfort temperatures,
the high thermal mass of mud bricks
considerably reduces heat transfer, performing
particularly well in summer. In winter, however,
outside temperatures are normally lower than
comfort temperatures and the low thermal
resistance of mud brick leads to poor winter
performance as heat is lost through the walls.
Approximately six times as much heat passes
through a mud brick or rammed earth wall
compared with an insulated brick veneer wall.
To reduce heat losses in winter, it is advisable to
install external insulation to mud brick or rammed
earth walls (see Figure 13). Avoid fixing insulation
to the internal face as this reduces the thermal
mass benefits of earth walls.
Due to the winter performance of this type
of construction, careful design is required to
achieve a 5-star thermal performance rating.
Involving a thermal performance assessor at the
design stage of a home will ensure good thermal
performance year round.
passive solar design > thermal mass
Reverse brick veneer
Reverse brick veneer, as the name suggests,
puts the brickwork on the inside and timber
framing on the outside i.e. the reverse
of traditional construction. This form of
construction enables a timber-style home to
achieve the same level of thermal performance
as a double-brick home.
By reversing the traditional construction type,
the high thermal mass of brickwork can be used
to great advantage. Instead of being on the
outside of the insulation and hence isolated from
the room, the brick skin is within the insulation
envelope. Reverse brick veneer can be used
in conjunction with either a concrete slab floor
(see Figure 14) or a timber floor (see Figure 15).
Reverse brick veneer does not have to be used
for the entire home – sometimes it is only used
for north-facing rooms. The external skin can
be any type of lightweight cladding suitable for
exterior use. In bushfire zones, material selection
will depend on the BAL.
page 6 of 8
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
cavity cavity
cavity
50 mm
50 mm
50
mm
polystyrene
polystyrene
polystyrene
mud and cement
inside
mud
and
cement
mud
andapplied
cement
render
inside
inside
render
applied
render
applied
over
chicken
over
chicken
wire
reinforcing
over
chicken
wire
reinforcing
mesh
wire reinforcing
mesh
insulation fixed to the insulation fixed to the
mesh insulation
the insulation fixed to the
outside fixed
of thetomud
side of the inner
insulation
to outer
the
outside
of the mudfixed outer
side insulation
of the inner fixed to the
brick (external
mud brick leaf (cavity
brick (external
mud brick outer
leaf (cavity
outside
of
the
mud
side of the inner
insulation)
insulation)
insulation)
insulation)
brick (external
insulation)
mud brick leaf (cavity
insulation)
Figure 13: Insulating mud brick walls
insulation in
external stud
selected
selectedcladding
cladding
brick
brick
internal wall
internal
wall cladding
selected
concrete
brick
concrete
slab
floor
slab
floor wall
internal
concrete
slab floor
Figure 14: Reverse brick veneer on concrete slab
insulation in
external stud
brick
internal wall
The upper storeys of homes have the potential
to overheat in summer as they are usually of
lightweight construction, with either brick veneer
or weatherboard walls.
To prevent overheating, upper levels should
incorporate as much thermal mass as possible,
as well as providing ventilation and breeze
pathways.
Thermal mass can be provided by a suspended
concrete slab floor, internal brick walls, the
continuation of ground-floor double-brick
construction, or any other technique that builds
concrete or masonry into the structure.
insulation
insulationin in
external
externalstud
stud
insulation in
external stud
Two-storey dwellings
Windows to the east and west should be
avoided or minimised because they can
cause overheating. Limit the upper-storey
window area to the north at less than 10%
of the gross upper floor area. All windows
should be effectively shaded and positioned
to allow good cross-ventilation.
timber floor
timber floor
brick
internal wall
selected cladding
insulation in
selected
cladding
external
stud
ground level
timber floor
brick
strip
footing
ground
level
internal
suitable
for wall
both
stripbrickwork
footing
and
stud frame
suitable
for
both
brickwork
selected
cladding
and stud frame
Figure
15: Reverse brick veneer with timber floor
ground level
strip footing
suitable for
both brickwork
and stud frame
page7 of 8
passive solar design > thermal mass
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Bushfire safety considerations
All styles of homes can meet bushfire requirements
with the appropriate material selections, but
homes with higher thermal mass will enhance
comfort and provide greater bushfire safety.
Check with AS 3959-2009 to be certain.
Further information
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
sustainability.vic.gov.au
www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au
www.buildingcommission.vic.gov.au
www.yourhome.gov.au
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
ENV015 2.05 July 2009
Passive solar design
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> draught proofing and ventilation
Included in this fact sheet:
>> The cost of draughts and air leakage
>> Benefits of controllable ventilation
>> Sources of air leakage and draughts
>> Sealing out draughts and air leakage
>> Good natural ventilation design
This fact sheet is about how the control of
air movement can save you both energy
and money. It outlines measures that can
be taken to reduce air leakage and provides
tips for designing controllable ventilation and
maintaining acceptable air quality. These steps
need to be balanced against bushfire risk at
certain times of the year.
Controlling air movement can
save energy
The control of air movement – achieved through
reducing air leakage and installing controllable
ventilation – can help minimise the need for
supplementary heating and cooling around
your house. In turn, this will deliver provide
substantial savings on heating and cooling
costs, and improve your comfort levels.
Air leakage has a significant impact on thermal
performance. Draught proofing your home
(whether it is new or existing) will prevent heat
loss in winter, reducing your heating costs,
and prevent the entry of warm air in summer,
reducing the need for cooling.
Controllable ventilation can be simply and
inexpensively incorporated into the house
design, allowing fresh air in when necessary.
Units with appropriate seals or louvres can also
prevent heated air from escaping and cold air
from entering the home. Forced ventilation
systems such as exhaust fans and rangehoods
can be used to avoid problems of odour
and condensation.
Figure 1: Major sources of heat leaks and draughts
Preventing air leakage and draughts
Around your house, air leakage can result from:
>> infiltration – the uncontrolled entry of outside
air through structural gaps, window and door
openings, exhaust fans, vented downlights
and fixed wall vents
>> e
xfiltration – the loss of air from inside the
home indoors by the same means.
Ventilation should be also be planned to cool
your home in summer, and reduce or eliminate
the need for mechanical air conditioning.
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Figure 2: Air leakage sources and recommended solutions
Source of air leakage
Solution
Door and window openings
>> Standard doors and windows are available with weatherstrips already
fitted – their use is recommended. Alternatively, if these cannot be used,
seal gaps around doors and openable windows with lightweight
self-adhesive weatherstripping products (foam, flexible plastic,
polypropylene pile strips) – but note requirements for bushfire resistance.
>> Fit draught excluders to the bottom of all external doors (required for all
BAL) and to internal doors leading to unheated and vented areas (Figure 4).
>> Fit automatic door closers to external doors and doors leading
to unheated areas.
>> Avoid the use of cavity sliding doors, which are hard to seal.
Construction joints
>> Use expandable foam products to seal cracks and gaps between
building components, such as the junction of window and door frames,
walls, floors and ceilings, skirting boards, plumbing pipes, exposed
rafters and beams, inbuilt heaters and air conditioners, and between
masonry walls and timber framing (see Figure 5). But note that bushfire
requirements limit external gap sizes to 2 – 3 mm.
Open fireplaces
>> Victorian insulation regulations require dampers to be fitted to all new
fireplaces – these should be closed when the fireplace is not in use.
There are two basic types and both prevent the entry of rain and insects
(see Figure 7);
-- type A fits on top of the chimney and is controlled from inside with
a chain and handle
-- type B sits in the throat of the chimney, giving more control and
reducing heat wastage up the chimney, but is more difficult to install
in existing fireplaces.
Vented skylights
>> Avoid using permanently vented skylights in any new construction
or in heated areas.
>> Use a diffuser at ceiling level for skylights to prevent heat conduction
and convection creating cold draughts. In bushfire zones, the diffuser
may have to be safety glass (not plastic).
Exhaust fans
>> Select self-closing models (automatic shutters or dampers) to stop air
leaks, and always vent exhaust fans and rangehoods to the outside,
not into the roof space or wall cavity where moisture may condense
and damage wall or ceiling linings (see Figure 6).
>> For existing fans, fit a lid over the outlet. The lid blows open when the
fan is switched on and falls shut when the fan stops. Products are also
available to seal non-self sealing exhaust fans. In bushfire zones, seek out
metal external covers rather than plastic.
passive solar design > draught proofing and ventilation
page 2 of 8
air movement and how it can save energy. The contents
reduce air leakage and provide guidelines for designing
g acceptable air quality.
on of
of
nimise
ooling.
cooling
ermal
y draught
n prevent
cost of
in
om will
our
volume
air in a
ces the
uces
and still
kage,
s per
are
n older
rgy costs.
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Ventilation should be planned to cool the home
and its occupants in summer, and reduce or
eliminate the need for mechanical air conditioning.
Controllable ventilation can be simply and
Source of air leakage
Solution
inexpensively incorporated into the house design,
Recessed down lights
>> These can cause air leakage to the roof space and
allowing fresh air in when necessary.
Units with
compromise insulation.
appropriate seals or louvres
can also
prevent
>> In existing
buildings,
these can be replaced with surface-mounted light
fittings,
non-vented
recessed
fittings or vented recessed fittings that use
heated air from escaping and
cold
air from
entering
a backing cap around the fitting in the roofspace.
the home. Forced ventilation systems such as
>> Avoid use in new construction.
exhaust fans and rangehoods can be used to
Duct outlets
>> Provide dampers or covers to outlets when not in use. Lids that open
avoid problems of odour and
condensation.
when in use and fall closed when not in use can also be used to cover
Air leakage
outlets.
>> Roof-mounted evaporative coolers should be sealed or covered over
the heating season (if not in use). These are not permitted in higher BALs.
Air leakage is made up of:
> infiltration—the
uncontrolled
entry of outside air
Most
buildings leak air around
windows and
structural
gaps,
window
doorsthrough
and through
construction
gaps.
When and door
the wind
blows, a exhaust
pressure difference
is created
openings,
fans, vented
downlights and
between
inside
outside.
fixed
walland
vents;
andThis causes some
outside air to be forced into the home on the
> exfiltration—the loss of air from indoors by the
windward side (infiltration) and some inside air to
sameout
means.
be sucked
on the leeward side through gaps
buildings
leak airasaround
inMost
the structure
(exfiltration),
shown inwindows
Figure 3. and doors
and through construction gaps. When the wind
Air leakage can be minimised by careful attention
blows, a pressure difference is created between
to design, detailing, specification and construction.
inside and outside. This causes some outside air
Figure
Draughtexcluders,
excludersof which only some are
to betypical
forced
into the
home
on with
the windward
side8.3:
Figure
4: Draught
Some
sources
of air
leakage,
suitable
bushfire zones
recommendations
improvement
are to be sucked
(infiltration) andforsome
inside air
outin8.3:
Figure
Draught excluders
shown
in
Figure
2.
on the leeward side through gaps in the structure
(exfiltration) as shown in figure 8.2.
Figure 8.4: Seal around construction joints
Figure 8.2: Infiltration and exfiltration
Figure 3: Infiltration and exfiltration
Figure 8.4: Seal around construction joints
Figure 5: Seal around construction joints
s
page 3 of 8
passive solar design > draught proofing and ventilation
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Figure
Chimney
dampers
Figure
8.3:8.5:
Draught
excluders
Figure 8.6: Self-closing exhaust fan
Figure 6: Self-closing exhaust fan - metal louvres
or perforated mesh over may be required in high
Figure 8.4:
Seal around construction joints
bushfire
zones
Vented recessed
light fittings
Duct outlets
Ventilation
Ventilation is the deliberate replacement of inside
air with outside air by utilising naturally-occurring
air temperature and pressure differences, or by
the use mechanical means such
as exhaust
fans.
Table
8.1: continued
>
Vented skylights
When the air moves faster than the speed of
natural air leakage, ventilation has a cooling
effect on the human body. At air speeds of
0.5-1.0m per second, the body will feel 2-3°
>
cooler in 25°C air.
The greater the extent of air-tightness to
fans costs,
eliminate draughts andExhaust
reduce energy
the more important it is to provide controlled
ventilation to maintain adequate air quality,
particularly in service areas such as kitchens
and bathrooms. Controllable ventilation, such
4
as exhaust
fans that close off when not in
use, provide ventilation when required without
contributing to overall air leakage.
Figure7:8.5:
Chimney
dampers
Figure
Chimney
dampers
>
Openable windows and doors and the interior
layout can be plannedDuct
to take
advantage of
>
outlets
natural breezes and convection flow. Fans can
be used where natural ventilation is inadequate, >
or where the rapid removal of air contaminants
is required.
Table 8.1: continued
ssure
as
will feel
minate
e
n to
ms.
>
More recently, specialised mechanical heat
recovery ventilation systems have become
available. These work in conjunction with central
recessed
>
heating/cooling units, Vented
and provide
control of
light
fittings
ventilation and humidity levels.
warm
ng
>
Figure 8.6: Self-closing exhaust fan
Figure 8.7: Cooling by convection flow
Figure 8: Cooling by convection flow
Cross-ventilation
Cross-ventilation utilises differential wind pressure.
When the air outside is cooler, windows on opposite
sides of the home can be opened. Cool air enters
on the solar
windward
and passes
the other
passive
designside
> draught
proofingout
andon
ventilation
side, replacing warm inside air with cool outside air.
page 4 of 8
when the f
There are
prevent en
>
see figure
– Type A
chimne
from>in
and ha
>
– Type B
the chim
>
control
wastag
but is m
in exist
Unless ve
by regulat
In existing
a clear pla
skylight
Do not use
skylights in
in heated
Select self
(automatic
to stop air
exhaust fa
to the outs
space or w
moisture m
damage w
(see figure
For existin
the outlet.
when the f
falls shut w
In existing
solution is
surface-m
Avoid use
Provide da
to outlets w
Roof-mou
coolers sh
covered w
re recently, specialised mechanical heat
overy ventilation systems have become
ailable. These work in conjunction with central
ating/cooling units, and provide control of
ntilation and humidity levels.
enable windows and doors, and the interior
out, can be planned to take advantage of
Types of ventilation and how they
ural breezescool
and your
convection
home flow. Fans can be
ed where natural
ventilation is inadequate, or
Cross-ventilation
ere rapid removal of air contaminants is required.
Cross-ventilation uses differential wind pressure.
In other words, when the air outside is cooler,
windows on opposite sides of the home can be
inciples of
cooling by ventilation
opened. Cool air enters on the windward side
and(stack
passes out
on the other side, replacing
nvection flow
effect)
warm inside air with cool outside air.
w to high window openings across a space can
positioned toExhaust
set up fans
a convection flow. When
outside air is
cooler,
windows can
be fans
opened,
Ceiling
and roof-mounted
exhaust
can be
to extract
warm and
air, creating
a pressure
d warm, lessused
dense
air rises
passes
out
imbalance
that The
will draw
cool inside
air from outside
ough the high
opening.
warm
air is
via open windows or doors to replace the
laced with cooler air from outside drawn in
warm inside air (see Figure 9). Powerful ‘wholeough a relatively
Thislarge
coolvolumes
air
house’low
fans,opening.
which can move
sorbs the heat
ofquickly,
the building
and carries
it with
of air
are also available.
Only fans
dampers,
side (see figure
8.7).auto-closing louvres or vent covers
should be used. Such fans use very small
amounts of electricity. In higher bushfire zones,
external vents from exhaust fans must have
protective screening with openings no more
than 2 or 3 mm.
open windows or doors to replace the warm in
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
air (see figure 8.8). Powerful ‘whole-house’ fa
which can move large volumes of air quickly,
also available. Only fans with dampers, autoclosing louvres or vent covers should be used
Such fans use very small amounts of electricit
creating cool breezes. In hot summer conditions,
increased
air movement
can
raise the
Figure
8.8: Cooling
with ceiling
exhaust
fanbody’s
Figure tolerance
9: Cooling with
ceiling exhaust
threshold
for highfan
temperatures by
about 3°C.
Ceiling fans
Ceiling fans can provide additional air movem
in summer if ceiling height is adequate (see fig
8.9). Overhead fans circulate large volumes o
and assist evaporative heat loss from the bod
They are an economical and efficient way of
Figure 8.9: Cooling with ceiling fan
Figure 10: Cooling with ceiling fan
Designing good ventilation
Ceiling fans
Ceiling fans can provide additional air movement
in summer if the ceiling height is adequate
(see Figure 10). Overhead fans circulate large
volumes of air and encourage evaporative heat
loss from the body. They are an economical and
efficient way of creating cool breezes. In hot
summer conditions, increased air movement
can raise the body’s tolerance threshold for high
temperatures by about 3°C. In winter, if able
to be reversed and slowed, they can spread
warmth around a room or space.
Determine where the natural breezes come from
The direction of prevailing winds for each month
can be sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology
(see figure 8.10). In and around Melbourne, the
cooling summer breezes tend to come from the south.
Determine how local conditions modify the
direction of the breeze
Valleys and large land masses can direct or deflect
wind away from prevailing paths. Buildings, tree
belts or other tall features can cause wind
shadows, which cause pockets of fairly still air.
Such obstruction can impede ventilation and
should be taken into account in house design.
Wind shadows between the obstruction and the
immediately adjacent building are created for a
distance of about three to seven times the height
of obstruction (see figure 8.11).
Locate and determine the size of openings that
will admit cooling breezes
page 5 of 8
Allow
for>both
an inlet
and and
outlet
opening on
passive solar
design
draught
proofing
ventilation
opposite sides of the home and a short unrestricted
path. With an inlet only opened, the air speed
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
8.9: Cooling with ceiling fan
igning good ventilation
rmine where the natural breezes come from
direction ofDesigning
prevailing good
winds ventilation
for each month
be sourcedDetermine
from the Bureau
of natural
Meteorology
where the
breezes
come
fromaround Melbourne, the
figure 8.10).
In and
ng summerThe
breezes
tend
to comewinds
fromforthe
south.
direction
of prevailing
each
can
be sourced from
the Bureau
rmine howmonth
local
conditions
modify
the of
Meteorology. Consider the usual direction of
tion of the
breeze
cooling breezes.
ys and large land masses can direct or deflect
localBuildings,
conditionstree
modify
away fromDetermine
prevailinghow
paths.
the direction of the breeze
or other tall features can cause wind
Valleys
andpockets
large land of
masses
ows, which
cause
fairlycan
stilldirect
air.
or deflect wind away from prevailing paths.
obstruction
can impede ventilation and
Buildings, tree belts or other tall features can
d be taken
into account in house design.
cause wind shadows, or pockets of fairly still
shadows air.
between
the obstruction
the and
Such obstructions
can block and
ventilation
ediately adjacent
created
a
should bebuilding
taken intoare
account
when for
designing
your
house.
The
same
features
can
be
used
nce of about three to seven times the height
to minimise
bushfire risk. Wind shadows
struction (see
figureyour
8.11).
between the obstruction and the immediately
te and determine
the size
of openings
that
adjacent building
are created
for a distance
of about
three to seven times the height of
dmit cooling
breezes
obstruction (see Figure 11).
for both an
inlet and outlet opening on
site sides Locate
of the home
and a short
and determine
theunrestricted
size of
openings
that
will
admit
cooling
With an inlet only opened, the air speed
breezes
e the building
will be only 4% of that on the
Allow 8.12).
for an inlet and outlet opening on opposite
de (see figure
sides of the home, both linked by a short
unrestricted path. With an inlet only opened,
the air speed inside the building will be only
4% of that on the outside (see Figure 12).
With both an inlet and outlet opening of the
same size, the inside air speed will be around
35% of the prevailing wind speed outside.
The opening on the leeward side should
be equal to, or bigger than, the inlet on the
windward side. Increasing the size of the
outlet should result in an inside air speed that
is approximately 44% of the outside speed,
enhancing its cooling effect (see Figure 13).
Figure 8.10: Wind roses for Mildura and Melbourne
Figure11:
8.11:
shadow
Figure
WindWind
shadow
Plan the interior so that air can
flow freely
The more direct the path for air to move through
a building, the greater its speed and cooling.
Partitions and openings should be carefully
planned to ensure that pockets of still air are
not created (see Figure 14). Passages that have
openings to the outside can create paths for air
Figure 8.12: Inside air speed with cross-ventilation
movement to adjoining rooms.
passive solar design > draught proofing and ventilation
page 6 of 8
ch obstruction can impede ventilation and
ould be taken into account in house design.
nd shadows between the obstruction and the
mediately adjacent building are created for a
tance of about three to seven times the height
obstruction (see figure 8.11).
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Figure 8.11: Wind shadow
cate and determine
the size of openings that
Air quality
l admit cooling breezes
A completely airtight home without controllable
ow for both an
inlet and
opening
on level of
ventilation
is notoutlet
desirable,
as a minimum
is necessary
replace
used internal
posite sides ventilation
of the home
and a to
short
unrestricted
air that
contains
odours,
carbon
dioxide, water
th. With an inlet
only
opened,
the
air speed
vapour and contaminants.
ide the building will be only 4% of that on the
tside (see figure
Indoor8.12).
air quality depends on the activities,
furnishings and building materials of the home
(all of which may produce air contaminants) as
well as the degree to which these contaminants
can escape. Many building materials and
household goods can emit chemicals which
dissipate over time. The recommended
minimum air exchange of 0.5 air changes per
hour is, however, not adequate for the complete
removal of contaminants in all situations, and
should be supplemented with controllable
ventilation devices, such as openable windows
and exhaust fans. High levels of fixed ventilation
waste energy and should be avoided.
Heaters that burn internal air (e.g. solid fuel
and some gas heaters) can be provided with a
separate external air supply to avoid draughts
and maintain indoor air quality. These require a
damper to be closed off when not in use (see
Figure 15). Ventilation is essential when using
un-flued LPG heaters. For situations where
additional ventilation at a higher air change rate
is required at some times, you will need to:
>> provide openable windows that increase
ventilation only when needed
With both an inlet and outlet opening of the sa
size, the inside air speed will be around 35% o
prevailing wind space outside. The opening on
leeward side should be equal to, or bigger tha
the inlet on the windward side. Increasing the
of the outlet should result in an air speed insid
Figure 8.12: Inside air speed with cross-ventilation
that
is approximately 44% of the outside,
Figure 12: Inside air speed with cross-ventilation
enhancing its cooling effect (see figure 8.13).
Figure 8.13: Relative window opening sizes
Figure 13: Relative window opening sizes
Plan the interior so that air can flow freely
The more direct the path for air to move throu
a building, the greater its speed and effect to c
The planning of partitions and openings shoul
ensure that pockets of still air are not created
figure 8.14). Passages that have openings to
outside can create paths for air movement to
adjoining rooms.
>> use self-closing wall or ceiling exhaust
fans, vented externally, for rapid removal
of cooking fumes, odours or steam from
the laundry, kitchen or bathroom
>> locate fans near the source of the contaminant,
e.g. an exhaust fan near the shower.
Figure 8.14: Air flow
Install fans if the natural ventilation is not
adequate
page 7 of 8
Roof-mounted exhaust fans can extract hot ai
passivefrom
solar design
> draught
and and
ventilation
the roof
spaceproofing
at night
replace it with
air. Their effectiveness is largely dependent o
a building, the greater its speed and effect to cool.
Figure 8.15: Separate air supply for some he
Sustainable
rebuilding
ideas and openings should
The planning
of partitions
ensure that pockets of still air are not created (see
Indoor air quality depends on the ac
figure 8.14). Passages that have openings to the
furnishings and building materials in
outside can create paths for air movement to
which may produce air contaminant
adjoining rooms.
Bushfire notedegree to which these contaminants
Many building materials and househ
At times of bushfire risk, close windows and
emit chemicals which dissipate over
ame
Air quality
doors to protect your home from radiant heat,
of the
winds and embers.recommended minimum air exchan
A completely airtight home without controllable
changes per hour is, however, not a
on the
ventilation is not desirable as a minimum
level
of
Fixtures that penetrate
walls and roof
shouldcontaminants in
completely
remove
an,
non-combustible
and sealed, especially
ventilation is necessary to replace usedbeinternal
air
and should be supplemented with c
e size
Figure
8.14: Air flow
in higher
BAL zones.
that contains
odours, carbon dioxide, water
vapour
ventilation such as openable window
de
Figure
Air flow
and 14:
contaminants.
Check with AS 3959-2009
to be levels
certain. of fixed ventilation
fans. High
Install fans if the natural ventilation is not
energy and should be avoided.
.
Further
information
adequate
Heaters which burn internal air (e.g.
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Roof-mounted exhaust fans can extract hot
air
some gas heaters) can be provided
from the roof space at night and replace sustainability.vic.gov.au
it with cool
separate external air supply to avoid
www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au
air. Their effectiveness is largely dependent
on the
maintain indoor air quality. These re
www.buildingcommission.vic.gov.au
level of ceiling insulation installed. They can
be
to be closed off when not in use (se
www.yourhome.gov.au
activated by wind or operate on a thermostat.
Ventilation is essential when using u
www.bom.gov.au
Outlets should have covers or dampers to
prevent
gas heaters.
winter heat loss.
ugh
cool.
uld
d (see
the
air
th cool
on the
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Figure
Separate
air supply
some heaters
Figure
15:8.15:
Separate
air supply
for somefor
heaters
Indoor air quality depends on the activities,
furnishings and building materials in the home
which may produce air contaminants and the
degree to which these contaminants can escape.
Many building materials and household goods can
emit chemicals which dissipate over time. The
recommended minimum air exchange of 0.5 air
changes per hour is, however, not adequate to
completely remove contaminants in all situations,
and should be supplemented with controllable
ventilation such as openable windows and exhaust
fans. High levels of fixed ventilation are wasteful of
energy and should be avoided.
Heaters which burn internal air (e.g. solid fuel and
some gas heaters) can be provided with a
separate external air supply to avoid draughts and
ENV015 2.06 July 2009
maintain indoor air quality. These require a damper
Passive solar design
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> material selection
Included in this fact sheet:
>> Choosing environmentally
preferred materials
Environmental issues to consider
when choosing materials for
your home
>> Design considerations when
selecting materials
When choosing materials for your new home,
bear in mind the following issues:
>> Labelling schemes make your
choice easy
>> raw resource extraction has an impact on our
physical environment – for example, tropical
forests may be cut down for window or
flooring timbers such as Merbau
The aim of this fact sheet is to provide food
for thought when you are selecting building
materials for your new home. Here you’ll
find information on the benefits of choosing
environmentally friendly materials, design
considerations, environmental labelling
schemes, and environmentally friendly options.
Think before you act
As consumers, we make choices everyday
based on many different factors including quality,
brand name and cost. But the choices we
make also have an impact on the environment
– whether it’s choosing to walk to the local shop
rather than drive, or to use a green reusable bag
rather than a throw-away alternative.
When choosing materials for your new home,
careful consideration should also be given to
products and materials that have a reduced
impact on the environment and that provide a
healthier indoor environment for you and your
family to enjoy.
Buildings consume 32% of the world’s
resources, including 12% of its fresh water
and up to 40% of its energy.
Buildings generate 40% of waste to landfill
and 40% of air emissions.
Source: Green Building Council Australia
>> the production of some materials depletes
non-renewable resources, including oil, or
can cause water pollution
>> the manufacture, use and transport of
materials inevitably leads to greenhouse gas
emissions, however, some materials have
more of an impact than others. For example,
steel requires more energy to manufacture
than timber. Likewise, locally sourced
materials create fewer transport emissions
>> some materials (such as solvent based
paints) are toxic to indoor environments,
while others like asbestos are both a danger
to health and a problematic landfill burden.
Bushfire issues when
choosing materials
The new requirements for building in bushfire
prone areas includes material requirements
for walls, roofs decks, verandas and the like.
This reflects the increasing knowledge of how
materials perform under bushfire conditions.
Hence the AS 3959-2009 specifies those
materials acceptable for the different BAL zones.
You’ll need to carefully check the requirements
that will apply to your property.
>> The strictest requirements apply to the 400 mm
above the ground, above decks or above
flatter roofs (eg, attached carport or lower
roof) - where burning embers can collect.
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
>> Understandably, non-combustible materials
(eg. bricks, blocks, mudbrick, concrete, AAC,
metal) most easily meet requirements within
most BAL.
>> The Standard accepts fibre-cement (6 mm,
9 mm) in low to high risk areas.
>> A wide range of Australian hardwood timbers
may be used in low to medium risk areas,
becoming more restrictive in species with
higher BAL zones (all of which are listed in
the AS 3959-2009 Appendices E and F).
>> Within ‘Extreme’ and ‘Flame Zone’ BAL in
many case the materials must be tested to
another Australian Standard 1530.8 parts
1 or 2, before being accepted in these
highest risk areas.
There’s also many other details to consider with
materials in bushfire zones. Smooth materials will
not capture and hold embers like rough materials
and ledges, window and door sills, wall ventilators,
penetrations for pipes etc. all are vulnerable points
that must be actively considered.
Manufacturers and industry groups are
progressively testing their products to suit BAL
zones, so you may need to check compliance
directly with them.
As well as environmental impacts, which are
often hard to locate or quantify, your choice
of material can also have significant health
impacts. These include:
>> emissions from products polluting indoor
air over many years
>> short term, high-level emissions during
construction (such as when painting)
>> groundwater contamination from
contaminants leaching out of landfill.
How environmental labelling
schemes make it easier to choose
It’s a confusing business finding and comparing
products or materials that have a reduced
impact on the environment or that offer health
advantages. To help consumers with these
issues, a number of labelling schemes have
been developed to certify products and materials
that meet standards of environmental, quality
and social performance. These schemes are
designed to help you recognise which materials
have preferable environmental outcomes.
The labelling schemes include:
Design considerations
When selecting materials for your home, you
should also take design considerations into
account, including:
>> Does the material require long-term
maintenance?
>> Will the material contribute to better health
and comfort in your home?
>> Does the material provide flexibility to
accommodate changes over time?
>> Can wastage be avoided by considering
material dimensions during the design stage?
The Good Environmental Choice Label
The Good Environmental Choice Label is the only
environmental labelling program in Australia that
indicates the environmental performance of a
product from a whole-of-product-life perspective.
>> Is the material durable and does it have the
potential for reuse?
passive solar design > material selection
page 2 of 4
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
The label is awarded to products that meet
voluntary environmental performance standards
that have been created and assessed in line with
international environmental labelling standards
Australian Forest Certification
Scheme (AFCS)
The Australian forest industry has recently
developed the Australian Forestry Standards
(AS 4707, As 4708) to promote sustainable
timber harvesting and management. Over 8.7
million hectares of forest are managed under this
scheme, which includes ‘chain of custody’ and
sustainable land management practices.
EcoSpecifier
EcoSpecifier provides a guide to the selection
of individual materials on an ‘environmentally
preferred’ basis. EcoSpecifier explains how
materials are assessed as being environmentally
preferred based on lifecycle assessment
and a range of other factors. It includes a
comprehensive list of environmentally preferred
generic materials commonly used in Australia.
Use this tool to select materials with the least
environmental impact.
Environmentally preferred options
Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)
The Forestry Stewardship Council is an
independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit
organisation established to promote the
responsible management of the world’s forests.
The FSC label provides a credible link between
the responsible production and consumption
of forest products, enabling consumers and
businesses to make purchasing decisions that
benefit people and the environment, as well as
providing ongoing business value.
>> Consider materials with low toxicity (such
as low VOC paints or composite wood
products with low formaldehyde content).
These products will provide better indoor air
quality and are healthier products for your
tradespeople to use.
>> Consider the use of recycled materials such
as salvaged timber or slag (a by-product of
iron and steel making) in concrete. This also
reduces the embodied energy of the concrete.
>> Consider materials that have a low embodied
energy (the energy required to extract,
manufacture and transport the material).
>> Use locally sourced materials and local
tradespeople where possible.
>> Look for materials and products that have
the potential to be re-used – for example.
steel, concrete and timber can all be
recycled and re-used.
>> Look for products with long warranties, as
this can be a good indicator of their longevity.
page 3 of 4
passive solar design > material selection
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
What are the benefits of
environmentally preferred
materials?
By incorporating low impact materials in your
new home, you can significantly reduce its
environmental footprint by:
>> reducing the embodied energy of your house
>> ensuring that timbers from threatened
tropical rainforests are not used
>> minimising the health impacts of glues,
sealants and paints on contractors
>> encouraging the use and development of
products incorporating recycled content,
driving increased recycling and reuse
throughout the supply chain
>> avoiding the use of problematic chemical
preservative compounds that may have
health impacts or discourage the future reuse
and recycling of materials.
ENV015 2.07 July 2009
Further information
www.yourhome.gov.au
www.geca.org.au
www.fscaustralia.org
www.ecospecifier.org
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Passive solar design
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> measuring your home’s
energy efficiency
Included in this fact sheet:
>> 5-star requirements
>> Rating tools
>> Thermal performance assessors
>> Beyond 5-star: doing more
than the minimum
This fact sheet explains all about the 5-star
requirements for new homes and how you can
achieve this through smart design. There is also
information on how houses are rated, finding an
assessor and what you can do if you wish to go
beyond 5-star performance.
5-star regulations for new homes
– what it means for you
For most homes, achieving the 5-star Standard
requires just a few simple improvements to a
building’s standard design and construction.
There are many options available, such
as increasing the level of insulation, better
orientation and exterior shading, better seals
and draught-proofing and the use of high
performance glazing.
The 5-star Standard is designed to be a flexible
way of improving the performance of new
homes. This means designers and builders
can use their creativity in the design and
construction of 5-star homes to meet each
homeowner’s requirements of being costeffective, functional and aesthetically pleasing.
A 5-star home’s combination of energy and
water saving features work together to ensure
higher comfort levels for you and your family,
and reduced operating costs.
The design process
Since July 2005, all new houses and apartments
in Victoria must be built to meet 5-star energy
efficiency and water management requirements.
To reach the 5-star Standard, a building
must have:
>> 5-star energy efficiency rating for the
building fabric
>> water efficient taps and fittings
>> either a rainwater tank for toilet flushing
or a solar hot water system.
As part of the building approval process,
your building designer or architect will need
to ensure your home complies with the 5-star
Standard. To do this, they will engage a Thermal
Performance Assessor who will assess your
home’s design using an energy rating tool,
which produces the star rating.
An energy or star rating indicates how much
energy would be needed to heat and cool the
home. The higher the star rating, the more
comfortable your home will be and the more
money you’ll save on energy bills. Higher star
ratings also add to the value of your property.
Your designer could also choose to comply with
the Deemed to Satisfy provisions in the Building
Code of Australia but using this method will not
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
produce a star rating or give you the opportunity
to explore a higher star rating. The most popular
method used in Victoria is to engage a Thermal
Performance Assessor to produce an Energy
Rating Report.
Once you have completed the design process,
you will need to get a building permit from
your Building Surveyor. They will review the
documentation and energy rating to ensure it
complies with the 5-star Standard.
Rating tools
Rating tools provide assessment methods and
benchmarks that can be used to set minimum
regulatory standards and can encourage
better levels of practice that go beyond those
minimum standards.
The tools used in Victoria include:
>> FirstRate 5
>> AccuRate
>> BERS Pro.
Finding an accredited Thermal
Performance Assessor
Accredited assessors are qualified to issue
certified ratings of house plans for submission to
Building Surveyors and Councils. Sustainability
Victoria accredits these assessors to provide
energy ratings for houses in Victoria.
Accredited assessors can provide:
>> cost effective methods of achieving
energy efficiency
>> advice on materials and window selection
>> advice on how to best operate your
new home.
For a full list of accredited assessors, please visit
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/for_households_1923.html.
You’ll find details of assessors equipped to
provide ratings in Victoria, including the software
tools they are accredited to use.
Getting the best out of the
design process
The rating tools can rate up to 10 stars – the
more stars, the more comfortable your home will
be and the lower your annual running costs.
To achieve the best possible star rating, ensure
your building designer works closely with
your Thermal Performance Assessor in the
concept design stage. Their early collaboration
is essential if you are looking to go beyond the
minimum 5-star Standard.
passive solar design > measuring your home’s energy efficiency
page 2 of 4
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Beyond 5-star – here’s how to
do more than the minimum
Windows
Building envelope
Window selection will play a major role in
achieving a 6-star rating. The priority in Victoria’s
climate is to retain heat in the home and
maximise the use of ‘free’ solar energy in winter.
The orientation, size and material composition of
your windows will play a major role in this.
The size of the home’s footprint has an impact
on the energy outcome. A larger floor plan will
require more heating and cooling than a smaller
floor plan.
>> High efficiency window frames and glazing
will be required in most cases where the
total window area is more than 25% of the
floor area.
Floors
>> Maximise north-facing windows to allow
the winter sun in and provide a source of
free heat.
Below is a list of design solutions to help your
designer or builder achieve a 6-star or greater
rating for your home.
If selecting a timber floor construction, insulation
will be required to minimise heat gain and loss.
In bushfire zones, this may need to be fire
resistant and/or have further protection.
Walls
Minimum R-2.5 insulation and anti-glare foil
specified for walls.
Ceilings
Provide a mixture of reflective foil below the
roofing material and R4 insulation in the ceiling
to combat seasonal variations.
>> Minimise south, east and west facing windows.
Windows with at least four heating stars
(under the Window Energy Rating Scheme
WERS) suit a heating climate, such as Victoria,
and make the most of the winter sun. Important
considerations include:
>> to the north, windows should be shaded in
summer by correctly sized eaves to minimise
heat gain
>> east and west-facing windows are harder to
effectively shade
>> install windows with ‘seals’ (rubber or foam
strips) in the part of the window that opens.
These stop heat from escaping in winter
or entering the house in summer
>> double glaze windows to maintain internal
air temperatures
>> select timber, aluminium improved or
thermally broken window frames to help
minimise heat loss or gain
>> note that in bushfire zones your selection of
glass, materials and seals must conform to
your BAL.
page 3 of 4
passive solar design > measuring your home’s energy efficiency
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Thermal mass
>> Provide a form of internal thermal mass
heated by direct winter sun (and shaded in
summer with correctly sized eaves). Thermal
mass affects the temperature within a
building by providing a heat source and heat
sink surfaces for radiative, conductive and
convective heat exchange processes, and
providing a time lag in the balance of external
and internal temperatures.
>> Consider internal mass walls such as brick,
concrete or rammed earth.
Bushfire safety considerations
Many of the steps for improved energy efficiency
may also enhance the bushfire safety of
your home.
However, AS 3959-2009 requires particular
materials and building systems within
bushfire prone areas.
Further information
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
>> If installing a concrete slab, consider
exposing the surface to better exploit its
thermal mass.
sustainability.vic.gov.au
Air leakage and ventilation
www.yourhome.gov.au
>> Fit draught excluders to the bottom of
external and utility doors to stop heat from
escaping under the door in winter or getting
into the house in summer, and to meet
bushfire requirements.
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
>> Install exhaust fans that can be closed when
they are not being used (you shouldn’t be
able to see through the fan to the outside or
into the roof when the fan is switched off).
They may need to be metal or covered with
protective mesh in some bushfire zones.
>> Provide excellent cross-flow ventilation to
purge built-up heat in the summer. Crossflow ventilation works best when windows
on the south and southwest capture cooling
winds to flow freely through the home and
remove built up heat.
>> In two-storey homes, allow cooling breezes
to flow up and out in summer – but close this
down in winter.
Lighting
>> Avoid downlights as these require venting to
allow built up heat to escape, which means
leaving gaps in your insulation.
ENV015 2.08 July 2009
www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au
www.buildingcommission.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Appliance efficiency
Appliance efficiency
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> energy and water labelling
Energy
Labelling
Included
in this
fact sheet:
Electrical appliances
Appliances
Electrical
When looking
buylabelling
an appliance
many
>> Understanding
thetostar
system
customers compare the size, features, price
>> Electrical
appliance labelling
and running costs of appliances. As discussed
previously, energy
and water efficiency are also
>> Gas appliance
labelling
very important factors in a consumer making a
The more
stars the more
energy efficient
>> Waterpurchase
labellingdecision relating to an appliance.
>> Calculate how much you will save
ENERGY
RATING
For electrical appliances, the Energy Rating
label acts as an indicator – showing potential
how energy efficient the appliance is
Energy buyers
labelling
and how much electricity it uses to run each
year (except for air conditioners, which are
When looking
to buy an appliance, many people
based on energy use-per-hour rather than
compare the
size,
features, price and running
annual rate).
A joint government and industry program
Kustom Kooler refrigerator Model 380
Energy consumption
530
costs of different models. Energy and water
For gas appliances the Energy Rating label
efficiency are increasingly important factors in
also acts as an indicator – showing potential
many consumers’
purchase
decisions.
buyers how
energy efficient
the appliance is
kWh per year
When tested in accordance with AS/NZS 4474.2.
Actual energy use and running costs will depend on how you use the appliance.
Compare all models at www.energyrating.gov.au
and how much gas it uses to run each year.
For electrical
thelabelling
Energyare
Rating
Theappliances,
aims of energy
to:
Figure 1: sample electrical appliance energy label
label acts as an indicator – showing you how
How Energy Labelling of Electrical
•
Encourage
customers
to
select
the
Appliances began
energy efficient the appliance is and how much
Models of similar size with the same star rating
appliance that uses the least energy for the
electricity it uses
to the
run appliance
each year
forperform;
air
canEnergy
still have
considerably
different
energy
service
is (except
required to
efficiency
labelling for
major electrical
conditioners,
whichcustomers
are basedtoon
energy
use• Enable
take
into consideration
appliances inbecause
Australiaeach
was first
consumption
starproposed
covers ainfairly
thethan
annual
energyrate).
cost of operating an
the late 1970s, by the state governments in
per-hour rather
annual
wide range. So, it is important to look at the
appliance, and also its total (life cycle) cost.
New South Wales and Victoria.
• Encourage manufacturers and importers to stars first and then compare the figures in the
improve the
the energy
of products
Although
several states
commenced
For gas appliances,
Energyefficiency
Rating label
also
energy
consumption
coloured
boxes.
that
they
supply
to
the
market.
mandatory
labelling
in
the
mid 1980s, it was
provides useful information – showing potential
not until
1992 that aappliances
mandatory national
Which
electrical
carry
buyers how
efficientbythe
is and
Anenergy
understanding
theappliance
consumer and
retail
labelling scheme was finally intorduced.
an
Energy
Rating
label?
relevant
the products
how muchstaff
gasofitthe
uses
to runlabels
eachonyear.
designed to demonstrate the efficiency of the
Who Operates the Energy Rating Label
TheSystem
following
of domestic electrical
product is vital.
for categories
Electrical Appliances?
By understanding how energy labels work,
recent
survey
for the
you will beThe
able
to make
a conducted
more informed
introduction of the “ResourceSmart” Retail
choice about
the relative advantages and
program provided some results related to
disadvantages
different models.
energyoflabelling:
appliances are required to carry Energy
Eachlabels:
state and territory is responsible for
Rating
administering its own legislation and
regulations. However, all states and territories
>> refrigerators
have the same requirements for energy
>> freezers
labelling and appliance model registration.
– 96% of consumers are aware of Energy
>> dishwashers
rating labels and / or star ratings for electric
and gas appliances.
>> washing machines
– 85% of those aware of them stated they
helped in the purchase decision.
>> clothes dryers
>> single phase air conditioners.
Details relating to electricity and gas labelling is
discussed in the next section.
9
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
lar job.
territory regulations. State and territory based
pares
legislation
is necessary
Sustainable
rebuilding
ideasbecause the Australian
h the
constitution gives Australian states and
factors
territories clear responsibility for resource
e uses.
management issues, including energy.
r rating
rgy
sa
ok at
ures in
s.
Energy
ectrical
Rating
heating, as applicable.
The lower the figure in the co
less energy the appliance wil
fewer greenhouse gases will
Also, the Energy consumptio
used to calculate comparativ
The lower the figure in the coloured box, the
Key features of the Energy Rating label
appliances.
Theelectrical
two key features
of the Energy Rating less energy the appliance will use
and the fewer
for
appliances
label are:
greenhouse gases will be produced. The Energy
Calculators to provide estima
>> The Star Rating, which shows the energy
Consumption number can also be used to
efficiency
of
the
appliance
on
a
scale
of
for appliances
are available a
• The Star Rating which shows the energycalculate comparative running costs
of appliances.
1efficiency
to 6 stars. The
more
stars, the more
“ResourceSmart” Retail Prog
of the
appliance
on a scale of 1 to
energy
efficient
is.
wish to do this yo
How to estimate annual should
runningyou
costs
6 stars.
The itmore
stars, the more energy
following is detailed.
>> Half
stars are
shown
efficient
it is;
and– all 6 available stars are To determine the Annual Running
Cost of
in the outline.
• shown
The Energy
consumption box, which shows
an appliance, simply multiply the Energy
For a quick estimate (that un
how
much
energy thebox,
appliance
uses inConsumption figure in the coloured
>> The
Energy
Consumption
which shows
box by the
running costs by 35%) place
kilowatt-hours
when
testeduses
to the
how
much energy the
appliance
in Australian
cost of electricity per kWh (electricity tariff).
the last digit of the figure in th
kilowatt-hours
when tested
to label.
the Australian
Standard shown
on the
box and this gives you an ap
Standard shown on the label.
Kilowatt hour (kWh): 1kWh = 1,000 watts
running cost per year in dolla
The Star Rating and Colored Band
operating for 1 hour. Your electricity meter reads
Key Features of the Energy Rating Label
The Star Rating and coloured band
in this measure.
Energy consumption
530
X
Energy consumption x electricity tariff
= Annual Running Cost
For example, if the Energy Consumption ofkWh
a
per year
refrigerator is 670kWh/year and the average
tariff is 17.0 cents per kWh then the Annual
To determine a more accurat
Running Cost of the appliance will be:
Figure 2: Star rating and coloured band
Annual Running Cost of an a
the Energy consump
670 kWh/year x 17.0 multiply
cents/kWh
coloured box by the cost of e
= $114 approximately
kilowatt-hour (kWh) (electricit
This gives a quick visual comparison of the
model’s
efficiency.
The of
more
This
gives aenergy
quick visual
comparison
the stars
(including
halfefficiency.
stars) and
model’s
energy
The the
morefurther
stars the
colouredhalf
band
across
arch, theHow to estimate lifetime running costs
(including
stars)extends
and the further
thethe
coloured
moreextends
energyacross
efficient
the appliance.
band
the arch,
the more energy
To determine a more accurate Lifetime Running
efficient the appliance.
Comparative energy consumption
For all star-rated electrical appliances (except
air conditioners) the Energy Consumption
figure is based on the projected annual energy
consumption for the appliance (in kilowatthours (kWh) per year) based on tested typical
use of the appliance in the home.
For air conditioners, it is based on the estimate
of energy used each hour (in kWh per hour)
of use at a rated capacity for cooling and/or
heating, as applicable.
appliance efficiency > energy and water labelling
Cost of the appliance, multiply the Annual
Running Cost by 12, as 10-12 years is the
average life cycle of star-rated appliances before
they are replaced.
Annual Running Cost x 12 years
= Lifetime Running Cost
For example, if the Energy Consumption of a
refrigerator is 670kWh/year and the average
tariff is 17.0 cents per kWh then the Lifetime
Running Cost of the appliance will be:
670 kWh/year x 17.0 cents/kWh x 12 years
= $1368 Lifetime Running Cost
page 2 of 6
for the administration of the nationa
Sustainable
rebuilding
appliance
energy
labelling.ideas
The gas
program is currently voluntary. How
required for energy labelling of gas
heaters, ducted heaters and water
part of the specification for safety a
This effectively makes the collection
How do gas appliances get an Energy
required to produce a label mandat
Rating label?
AGA certification is a requirement in
More detailed information relating to Energy
labelling can be sourced from
www.energyrating.gov.au
Gas Appliances
Gas appliances
Gas appliances are tested under Australian
Gas Association Codes, which set minimum
How Do Gas Appliances
safety and performance standards and ensure
Rating Label?
appliances meet the relevant AGA Code
requirements for energy labelling.
THE MORE
STARS,THE MORE
ENERGY EFFICIENT
GAS
Gas appliances are tested under Au
ENERGY RATING
USE THIS LABEL TO COMPARE
DIFFERENT MODEL SPACE HEATERS
The Australian
Gas Association
COMPARATIVE ENERGY CONSUMPTION
THIS insert heater make and model) USED
6 500
get an E
MJ
PER
YEAR
WHEN TESTED TO M.O.T.S.18.1-98 OF AGA CODE AG 103
• THE MAXIMUM HEATER OUTPUT IS 3.9 kW
• ACTUAL ENERGY USED WILL DEPEND ON WHERE
YOU LIVE, HOW YOU USE THE HEATING SYSTEM
AND HOW THE SYSTEM IS INSTALLED AND SERVICED.
Figure 3: Sample energy rating label for
a gas appliance
Which gas appliances
carry anCodes,
Energy which set
Gas Association
Rating label?safety and performance standards
appliances
meet
Energy Rating labels
can be found
on:the
relevant AGA C
requirements for energy labelling.
>> gas space (room) heaters
>> gas ducted heaters (central heating)
What Gas Appliances Carry an E
Rating Label?
>> gas water heaters.
Differences between gas and electricity
Energy Rating
labels Rating labels can be found
Energy
How
Energy
started
for Gas
The
Star Rating
hasLabelling
been developed
to provide
Though Energy Rating labels on gas appliances
Appliances
you
with an easy way of comparing the energy
• toGas
space
(room) heaters
may seem similar
the labels
on electrical
efficiency of different models. It is a simple and
Gasnot
ducted
heaters (central
appliances, they•should
be compared.
40 years
gas industry
fairFor
wayover
of comparing
the Australia’s
energy consumption
The has
energy ratings
thewater
gas appliances
• on
Gas
heatershave
of regulated
gas appliances
that
do
a
similar
job.
product safety through an appliance
been tested under different conditions, which
hea
to compare
them
with
and component certification scheme. make it impossible
Once
the model
has
been tested, the m
The more stars and the longer the red band, the electrical appliances.
or importer arranges for an Energy
more
efficient Gas
the appliance.
An energy
Theenergy
Australian
Appliance
and Component
to each
appliance.
Key features to
of be
theattached
Energy Rating
label
efficient appliance uses less gas and is cheaper
Certification Schemes provide certification
to
for gas appliances
to run.
identify a product as one that meets the
>
> The Star Rating – this shows the energy
standards
the Australian
Gas
Who
operatesprescribed
the EnergyinRating
label
Association
Codes, Gas industry efficiency of the appliance on a scale of 1
system
for gas(AGA)
appliances?
to 6 stars. The more stars, the more energy
Standards
and
Australian
Standards.
The
Australian Gas
Association
is responsible
for Theefficient it is. Each extra star means that the
the12
administration of the national gas appliance
appliance is 7-10% more efficient than an
energy labelling program. The gas labelling
program is currently voluntary. However, tests
required for energy labelling of gas space
heaters, ducted heaters and water heaters are
part of the specification
for safety approval.
(
This effectively makes the collection of data
required to produce a label mandatory, since
AGA certification is a requirement in all states.
page 3 of 6
appliance without the additional star.
>> The Comparative Energy Consumption box
shows how many Megajoules of gas the unit
uses each year (MJ/year). For gas ducted
heaters, it tells you how much energy the
appliance uses in to heat a cubic meter (m3)
of space each year (MJ/m3/year).
appliance efficiency > energy and water labelling
gas the appliance uses each year.
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Comparative energy consumption, measured
in Megajoules per year (MJ per year),
y
The Star Rating
Red Banduse of the appliance
s, it is estimates
theandenergy
The Star Rating and red band
Gas space (room) heater Lifetime
an
based
on
tested
typical
use
of
the appliance
in
Running
Costs
hese
g the
we assume
the space heater has a lifetime
the home. The exception is forIf gas
ducted
abeling of
of 12 years, the Lifetime Running Cost can be
nalties if heaters
a
which give the comparative
energy
estimated by
simply using the MJ/year figure in
ements.
thecubic
red box and
multiplying it by the cost of gas
meter
specified”consumption in Megajoules per
gy labeling
rd (MEPS)
Figure
4: Star
Rating
and
red band
COMPARATIVE
ENERGY
CONSUMPTION
The star
rating
has
been
developed to provide
n has
THIS
(insert
heater
make
and
model)
and model)
THIS insert heater
customers
withmake
an easy
wayUSED
ofUSED
comparing the
energy efficiency of differentMJ
models. It is a
PER
simple and fair way of comparing
energy
and
YEAR
consumption of gas appliances that do a
similar job.
Figure 5: Comparative energy consumption box
\per year MJ/m3/year.
6 500
For example, if a 5-star rated product has a
Comparative Energy Consumption figure of
6,500 MJ/year and the average gas tariff for
natural gas is 1.0 cent per MJ, then the Lifetime
Running Costs of the appliance will be:
6,500 MJ/year x 1.0 cent per MJ x 12 years
TheProducts
more
stars andannual
the
longer
the
red
band
How
to estimate
running
costs
Gas
other
than
Gas Ducted
= $780 Lifetime Running Cost
the more energy efficient the appliance. An
As
with
electrical
appliances,
the
Comparative
energy efficient appliance uses less gas and is
Heaters
Note: for LPG (bottled gas) the Lifetime Running
Energy Consumption figure (in the red box) can
bels on
be
y ratings
ed under
parison
.
x
in cents per MJ and by 12 years.
cheaper to run.
be used as a guide to estimate the typical yearly
running
cost of the
appliance.
Comparative
Energy
Consumption
Cost is calculated in the same way except that the
average cost of gas is around 2.0 cents per MJ.
Annual Running Cost
Gas Ducted Heaters (central heaters)
Annual Running
Cost =
Comparative
Energy Consumption
Label As The
with
electrical
appliances
the
Comparative
Lifetime
Running Costs
Comparative
(MJ/h)of
number
in the Energy
red box Consumption
shows the amount
x gas
gas the appliance
usestariff
each year.figure (in the red box) can
ating
Energy
Consumption
The Lifetime Running Cost can be roughly
estimated
by multiplying the MJ/m /year figure
consumed
by a gas
beMegajoule
used (MJ/h):
asenergy
aenergy
guide
to estimate
the typical
Comparative
consumption,
measured
in
the
red
box
by the floor area (square metres)
appliance
per hour.
in Megajoules
per year (MJ per year),
yearly
running
cost
of
the
appliance.
oefficiency
and average ceiling height (metres) of space to
estimates the energy use of the appliance
6 stars.
For
example,
if
a
5-star
rated
product
has
a
based on tested typical use of the appliance in be heated, by the cost of gas in cents per MJ.
rfficient it Comparative
Energy
Consumption
figure
of
the home. The
exception
is for gas
ducted
o
heaters
which
givethe
the
comparative
energy
Running
Cost
6,500
MJ/year
and
average
gas tariff
for
nance of Annual
For example, if a 5-star rated product has a
consumption
in
Megajoules
per
cubic
meter
and
natural gas is 1.0 cent per MJ then the Lifetime
Comparative Energy Consumption figure of 133
Energy Consumption
at the = Comparative
Running Costs of the appliance will be:
MJ/m /year, and the floor area of space to be
than an
x
gas
tariff
heated is 265 m , the average ceiling height of
6,500
MJ/year x 1.0 cent per MJ
\per year
MJ/m3/year.
ar.
on the
ws the
e
r.
ption box
as the
n tested
e. For
w much
ajoules to
each year
Australian
3
3
COMPARATIVE ENERGY CONSUMPTION
2
THIS insert heater make and model) USED
6 500
MJ
PER
YEAR
space to be heated is 2.4m, and the average gas
tariff for natural gas is 1.0 cent per MJ, then the
Lifetime Running Cost of the appliance will be:
= $65 Running Cost
Gas to
Products
other
than Gas
Ducted
How
estimate
lifetime
running
costs
Heaters
13
To estimate the Lifetime Running Cost, multiply
133 MJ/m3/year x 265 m2 x 2.4m
the
AnnualRunning
Running Cost
Cost by 12 years, which is
Annual
x 1.0 cent per MJ x 12 years
Asaverage
with electrical
appliances
the Comparative
the
life cycle
of an appliance
before it
= $10,150 Lifetime Running Cost
Consumption figure (in the red box) can
isEnergy
replaced.
be used as a guide to estimate the typical
Note: for LPG (bottled gas), the Lifetime Running
Lifetime
Running
Cost =
yearly running
cost
of the appliance.
Cost is calculated in the same way except that the
Annual Running Cost x 12 years
average cost of gas is around 2.0 cents per MJ.
Annual Running Cost
= Comparative
Energy Consumption
(
x gas tariff
appliance efficiency > energy and water labelling
page 4 of 6
13
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Further information
More detailed information relating to
energy labelling can be sourced from:
www.energyrating.gov.au
Water labelling
Labelling
Water
The more
stars the more
water efficient
WATER
RATING
Water Consumption
13.1
Litres per wash
What Appliances Carry a Water Rating
Label?
The WELS scheme applies to the following
whitegoods:
– Clothes washing machines
– Dishwashers
Work is underway to extend WELS to other
appliances including combination washer-dryers
and evaporative air conditioners.
The WELS Scheme excludes second-hand
products and products imported into Australia
for personal use.
Key Features of the Water Rating Label
using xxx program
When tested in accordance with Standard AS/NZS6400.
www.waterrating.gov.au
The labels on the different WELS products
differ slightly, however all share two key pieces
of information:
Figure
6: Sample
water Labelling
rating label
The Water
Efficiency
and Standards
(WELS) water-rating label provides water
The
Water Efficiency
and Standards
efficiency
informationLabelling
for water-using
household
products.
It allows
consumers
(WELS)
water
rating label
provides
water to
compare
products
and
rewards
manufacturers
efficiency information for household appliances
and retailers who make and stock water
that
use water.
It is designed to help you
efficient
models.
• a Star Rating which shows the water
efficiency of the appliance on a scale of 1
to 6 stars – the more stars, the more water
efficient it is; and
• a Water consumption box, which shows the
per litre water consumption or water flow – the
lower the number the better.
The WELS water rating label is similar in
appearance to the energy rating label and
The WELS water rating label is similar in
shows a star rating plus how much water is
appearance
the energy rating
used by thetoproduct.Notably,
thelabel
moreand
stars
shows
a star rating plus how much water the
the better.
Who Manages the Water Rating Label?
compare products.
product uses. The more stars the better.
The recent survey conducted for the
introduction
of the “ResourceSmart”
What
appliances
carry a WaterRetail
Rating
program found:
Label?
WELS is administered by the Australian
Government through the Department of the
Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.
All State and Territory Governments have a
shared commitment to WELS and work with
the Australian Government to ensure the
integrity and credibility of the scheme.
– 46% of consumers are aware of Water
The WELS
scheme
the following
rating labels
andapplies
/ or startoratings
for electric
whitegoods:
and gas appliances.
– 93% of those aware of them stated they
>> clothes
machines
helpedwashing
in the purchase
decision.
>> dishwashers.
Details relating to water labelling is henceforth
discussed.
page 5 of 6
appliance efficiency > energy and water labelling
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Work is underway to extend WELS to other
appliances including combination washer-dryers
and evaporative air conditioners. The WELS
Scheme excludes second-hand products and
products imported into Australia for personal use.
Key features of the Water Rating Label
The labels on the different WELS products differ
slightly, however all offer two key pieces of
information:
How do appliances get a Water
Rating label?
Manufacturers or importers of WELS products
are required by law to register and label them
before they are sold in Australia. Before they
can be registered, products must be tested to
determine their water consumption/flow so that
a WELS Standard rating can be applied.
>> a Water Consumption box, which shows the
per litre water consumption or water flow –
the lower the number the better.
The Star Rating and water consumption/
flow figures on the product label are based
on rigorous and independent water efficiency
tests. Testing must be done by an approved
laboratory, such those accredited by the National
Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) or in
accordance with the National Appliance and
Equipment Energy Efficiency Program.
Who manages the Water Rating label?
Further information
WELS is administered by the Australian
Government through the Department of the
Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.
All State and Territory Governments have a
shared commitment to WELS and work with the
Australian Government to ensure the integrity
and credibility of the scheme.
More detailed information relating to
water labelling can be sourced from
www.waterrating.gov.au.
>> a Star Rating that shows the water efficiency
of the appliance on a scale of 1 to 6 stars –
the more stars, the more water efficient it is
ENV015 3.01 July 2009
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Appliance efficiency
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> choosing a heating system
Included in this fact sheet:
Radiant and convective heat
>> What size to choose
Radiant heat
>> Different types of heaters
>> Compare running costs
>> Operate your heater more efficiently
>> Special bushfire considerations
As heating accounts for over half the average
household’s energy costs, it is important that you
think carefully before making a decision on how
to heat your home. Making the wrong decision
can be a costly and uncomfortable mistake.
This fact sheet can help you to identify your
heating needs. It outlines the types of systems
available and provides a guide to their running
costs, CO2 emissions and energy efficiency.
A heating package – not just
a heater
An energy efficient heating system can save you
energy and money, and can help our environment
by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
An effective and economical heating system is
more than just a good heater. It should be part of
a ‘heating package’ that should always include:
>> insulating ceilings, walls and floors
where possible
>> draught sealing around windows, doors
and any other gaps
Radiant heat is emitted from hot surfaces, e.g.
the glowing panel of a gas heater, the surface of
a heated concrete slab, a bar radiator or open
fire. Radiant heat heats objects within the room
directly, but does not directly warm the room air.
Radiant heaters are most appropriate if
your rooms have large open spaces or high
ceilings, or are particularly draughty.
Convective heat
Convective heat is heat that is transferred from
one object to another, using moving air or water.
Convection heaters work by filling a room with
warm air. Fan heaters and ducted heating are
examples of convection heaters.
Convection heaters are most appropriate if
your rooms are insulated, well sealed against
draughts and have average ceiling heights.
They should be avoided in draughty rooms, rooms
with high ceilings or areas with open stairwells.
Some heaters combine the effects of radiant
and convection heating. Hydronic radiator
panels, wood heaters, storage fan heaters and
many gas heaters function in this way.
>> effective window coverings
>> zoning of living and sleeping areas
>> appropriate and efficient heater(s)
>> YOU using your heating package wisely
and efficiently.
An energy efficient heating package can use
40% less energy!
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Selecting a heating system
Decision 1 – Central heating
or space heating?
Firstly, it is important to establish which areas
of the home you need to heat, how large the
areas are, and how long the areas needed to
be heated.
Creating zones in your home can allow you to
heat each zone individually, giving you flexibility
– the key to energy efficiency.
Heating individual rooms with efficient space
heaters, or installing a zoned central system, is
preferable to whole house central heating, which
heats all rooms regardless of whether they are in
use or not.
Work through the first table below to identify the
best heating arrangement for your home.
Decision 2 – What size system do
I need?
A correctly sized heater is essential for comfort
and economy. A heater that is too large will
have a higher purchase cost, will not operate
efficiently and can create uncomfortable
conditions. An undersized heater will not heat
the area adequately.
Heaters should be sized to maintain a
comfortable temperature in a room on an
average cold day in winter. This ‘heat load’ is
determined by room dimensions, insulation
levels, window areas and coverings, indoor and
outdoor temperatures, etc.
The size of your system should be determined
by your supplier. This is especially important
when sizing central heating systems.
Decision 3 – What type of heater?
Try to identify those heaters which closely match
your heating requirements.
Central heating systems
Central heating systems are large heaters
capable of heating most of your home at the
one time. To help you control your heating and
reduce running costs, all large central heating
systems should be zoned.
Central heating systems can also be
supplemented by installing a high efficiency
space heater in the main living area, to be used
when whole house heating is not required.
If you need to heat …
Only living zones
Use one or more high efficiency space heaters
Living areas for long periods, sleeping areas
for short periods
Use high efficiency space heaters for living zones
and electric ‘spot’ heaters for sleeping areas,
or a zoned central heating system
Living and sleeping areas for long periods but
at different times of the day
Use a zoned central heating system
Living and sleeping areas both for long periods
at the same time
Use a zoned central heating system
Bathrooms/ensuites
Use radiant heaters, e.g. strip heaters
or infra-red lamps
appliance efficiency > choosing a heating system
page 2 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Ducted air heating
>> Uses convection heaters that circulate warm
air around the home through insulated ducts
entering rooms through the floor or ceiling.
Checklist for greatest efficiency
Should have:
>> low water content boiler
>> Typically run on gas, but electric reversecycle air conditioners are also available.
>> quick response panels, e.g. mild steel
with low water content
>> Are able to heat areas quickly to a
thermostat setting.
>> well-insulated pipes
>> Typically up to one third of the total number
of outlets can be closed off at any one
time, depending on the size of the system.
Newer, advanced models allow even greater
zoning flexibility.
>> Can circulate dust and tend to dry the air
>> Systems available are able to serve from
90 m2 to over 350 m2 of floor area.
Checklist for greatest efficiency
Should have:
>> high star rating (4-5 stars on the Energy
Rating label – gas units only)
>> well-insulated ducts
>> zoning option
>> ‘positive close-off’ floor registers
>> electronic ignition
>> thermostat with programmable timer.
Hydronic heating
>> Water is heated in a boiler and then
circulated around the home to radiator
panels, skirting board convectors or fan coil
convectors that heat the room by convection
and radiation.
>> independent valve controls/thermostats
in each room.
Space heaters
Space heaters are designed to heat a zone,
rather than a whole home (although some
wood heaters can produce enough heat for
a whole home).
Installing individual space heaters in different
zones of a home according to your needs gives
you greater heating flexibility.
Gas space heaters
>> Produce convective heat, radiant heat,
or a combination of the two.
>> Run on natural gas or LPG.
>> Can be mounted on internal walls where a
vertical flue can be fitted, or external walls.
>> Some wall furnaces have a rear register to
heat an adjoining room.
>> Rated for energy efficiency with an Energy
Rating label; the more stars, the more energy
efficient the unit.
>> Units are available to heat from 30 m2
up to 120 m2.
>> Typically fuelled by natural gas, LPG or wood,
but also possible to use off-peak electricity.
>> Each panel usually has its own control valve
to give individual room control.
>> Has silent operation, little dust circulation and
does not dry the air.
page 3 of 6
appliance efficiency > choosing a heating system
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Checklist for greatest efficiency
Checklist for greatest efficiency
Should have:
Should have:
>> high star rating (5-6 stars on the Energy
Rating label)
>> high star rating (4-6 stars)
>> heat outlet at floor level
>> adjustable directional louvres
>> electronic ignition
>> programmable timer.
>> remote thermostat
>> power flue
>> programmable timer.
Reverse-cycle air conditioners
>> Are electric convection heaters that extract
heat from the outside air and deliver it into
the home, using a compressor and fan.
>> Also provide refrigerative cooling in summer.
>> Can be installed in a wall or window, as a
split system with the compressor outside
and console unit mounted internally, or as a
central ducted system, usually zoned.
>> remote thermostat
Electric space heaters/
panel convectors
>> Convection or radiant heaters that use ‘peak
rate’ electricity.
>> Can be very expensive to run, so should be
limited to heating for short bursts only, e.g.
for bedrooms or bathrooms. Not suitable for
main living areas.
>> Available in sizes to heat up to 70 m2
of floor area.
Checklist for greatest efficiency
>> Are also available in ‘multi-split’ systems,
which utilise more than one internal unit,
allowing several rooms to be heated by the
one external unit.
Should have:
>> Are available in sizes suitable for bedrooms,
living areas or a whole house.
Solid fuel heaters
>> Heat output of some units declines when
outside temperatures drop below 5°C. Look
for models which guarantee performance in
colder conditions.
>> Carry an Energy Rating label – the more
stars, the more energy efficient the unit is.
>> Inverter technology is available with many
brands of reverse-cycle split air conditioners.
This allows the compressor to operate at
variable speeds depending on the output
required, and can potentially reduce running
costs, particularly over longer operating periods.
>> Suitable for one or more rooms up to 60 m2.
For larger areas, three-phase powered units
will be required.
appliance efficiency > choosing a heating system
>> remote thermostat or AA rated unit
>> programmable timer.
>> Convection or radiant heaters burning wood,
briquettes, coal, etc.
>> Highest efficiency units are airtight ‘slow
combustion’ heaters, boilers (for hydronic
heating) and furnaces (for ducted heating).
>> Require a flue.
>> Heating outputs adequate to heat up to
around 150 m2, but require suitable heat
distribution methods to disperse heat evenly.
>> Are more effective when used in conjunction
with thermal mass (e.g. masonry backing
wall), or when placed away from external
walls to minimise heat escape to the outside.
>> Efficiency and performance depend on the
quality of wood and method of operation.
page 4 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Checklist for greatest efficiency
Should have:
>> air intake controls, baffles and secondary
combustion chambers
>> built-in fan to circulate warm air throughout
the room
>> quality wood supply
>> correct method of operation.
Comparative running costs
for heaters
In general terms, space heating is more
economical to run than central heating, essentially
because of the smaller area being heated.
Space heaters
The most economical space heaters are:
>> high efficiency (5–6 stars) natural gas heaters
>> off-peak electric storage fan heaters
>> high efficiency (4–6 stars) reverse-cycle
air conditioners.
Central heaters
The most economical central heaters are:
>> zoned, high efficiency (4-5 stars), natural gas
ducted heaters
>> zoned, natural gas hydronic systems
>> zoned, off-peak electric in-slab heating.
The actual running costs of a system will
depend on a range of variables. These include
the size of your heater, operating temperature,
hours of operation and the energy efficiency and
size of your home.
page 5 of 6
appliance efficiency > choosing a heating system
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Other considerations
Bushfire safety considerations
Thermostat
Heating systems that create gaps and
penetrations through open under-floors, walls
or roofs are a bushfire concern.
Installing a thermostat timer can be a costeffective investment. Typically you can ‘set
and forget’ a weekday program and weekend
program, plus use an overdrive switch when
you need it.
Portable heaters
Portable heaters are generally small units
designed to heat small areas. They are most
suitable for short periods of heating such
as in bedrooms, bathrooms or infrequently
used rooms.
Heating systems and the environment
With the exception of solar energy, every fuel
that is used to provide heat gives off gases
which contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is by far the main
greenhouse gas, but others such as methane,
nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
also contribute.
ENV015 3.02 July 2009
In medium to extreme bushfire areas, the
AS 3959-2009 has specific requirements that
must be addressed.
Further information
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
sustainability.vic.gov.au
www.yourhome.gov.au
Building Commission
Bushfire Building Advice Line
www.buildingcommission.vic.gov.au
Phone 1300 360 320
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Appliance efficiency
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> choosing a cooling system
Included in this fact sheet:
Being comfortable
>> Assessing your cooling needs
The most appropriate type of cooling system
for your home depends not only on local
climatic conditions such as air temperature,
humidity and air movement, but also on factors
such as the time of day cooling is desired, the
type of activities you undertake, the clothing
you wear and the appliances you use. What
is comfortable for one person may not be
comfortable for another.
>> Types of cooling
>> Finding the best solution for you
>> Costs and CO2 emissions
This fact sheet presents background information
relating to types of air conditioning systems,
energy usage and efficiency, and other factors
to consider when choosing a cooling system for
your home.
Before you buy
Summer comfort in your home does not have
to be expensive. Stop the heat getting in, and
you can avoid purchasing unnecessary cooling
equipment with high operating costs.
By paying close attention to the aspects
described below, you can reduce heat entering
your home by up to 90%.
>> Insulating your ceiling, walls and floors
where possible.
>> Draught sealing around windows,
doors and any other gaps.
>> External shading to north, east and
west windows.
In general, most people find that comfortable
indoor temperatures during summer range
from 24°C to 27°C with less than 60% relative
humidity. If the humidity level is lower or a breeze
exists, such as from a fan, we can be just as
comfortable even at higher temperatures.
Remember, you do not have to use a
lot of energy to cool the house and be
comfortable.
Questions to ask yourself
Thinking about these questions will help you
determine your cooling requirements.
>> Do I need to cool the whole home or just one
room?
>> How big an area do I need to cool?
>> Ventilation to allow cool outside air into
the house.
>> Do I need to lower the inside temperature
or will creating a cool breeze be sufficient?
>> Landscaping.
>> Is cooling required for short periods
or all day?
In much of Victoira, there are still relatively
few days where the temperature exceeds an
uncomfortable 30°C or remains above 20°C at
night, so think carefully deciding that you need
an air conditioning unit.
>> Will the running costs affect my choice?
>> Is the purchase price my biggest
consideration?
>> Do I want a portable or fixed unit?
>> Will noise from the unit bother my
neighbours or me?
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Types of cooling systems
The following summary will help you select which
system or combination of systems is right for your
home. All the systems listed can provide cooling
for single rooms or the whole house. More details
on each are given in the following pages.
Fans
Fans produce a cooling effect by moving air.
The air is either directed around a room or
at a person. Fans are an attractive option for
summer cooling as they are inexpensive to
purchase and operate, yet will often provide an
adequate level of comfort. Generally, the higher
the air movement, the cooler you will feel. Fans
do not reduce actual room temperatures or
humidity levels.
>> Lowest energy use.
>> Lowest running costs.
Considerations
>> Ceiling fans should be installed with a
clearance of at least 2,100 mm above
floor level.
>> Mount ceiling fans higher than existing light
fittings to avoid flickering shadows, or install
a unit with light attached.
>> Ceiling fans should be reversible to assist
with heating in winter.
Evaporative coolers
Evaporative coolers cool and filter the air. Hot
outside air is drawn through a water-moistened
filter and then blown through the house. To work
effectively, windows and/or doors must be left
open so this moist air can exit from the house.
warm
outside
air
>> Lowest purchase cost.
>> Move air, don’t reduce temperatures.
>> Portable or fixed.
wet filter
pads
>> Quiet operation.
>> Lowest greenhouse gas emissions.
Sizing (ceiling fans)
cooled inside air
Figure 1: How evaporative coolers work
Room area (m2)
Fan width (sweep)
Up to 10
900 mm (36 inches)
10–20
1200 mm (48 inches)
15–30
1400 mm (56 inches)
30+
two or more fans
Note: if more than one fan is required, the
spacing between fans should be approximately
three times the fan width.
The area of open windows and doors should be
approximately 1m2 for each cubic metre of air
flow per second from the unit. For example, a
unit rated at 1.5 cubic metres per second would
require open windows or doors totalling roughly
1.5 m2 in area. If flywire screens are fitted, this
area may need to be doubled.
>> Low energy use.
>> Low running costs.
>> Moderate purchase cost.
>> Cool the air, but increase humidity.
>> Portable or fixed.
appliance efficiency > choosing a cooling system
page 2 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
>> Require water.
Refrigerated air conditioners
>> Must have windows or doors open.
Refrigerated air conditioners remove heat from
the air inside the home and transfer it outside.
>> Lower greenhouse gas emissions than
refrigerated air conditioners.
Considerations
>> Roof-mounted systems will need protective
non-combustible mesh in lower bushfire zones
and may be prohibited in higher risk zones.
>> Evaporative coolers are generally more
suitable for areas where humidity is low. If the
outside air is already humid then the cooling
effect of the unit is limited.
>> Open windows and doors on the side of the
house opposite the hot prevailing winds to
avoid heat entering the house.
>> On high humidity days, the highest fan speed
should be used. If it is a very humid day, turn
off the water supply to the cooler and run the
fan only.
>> Water consumption for an evaporative cooler
depends on the natural humidity of the day.
A portable unit might use four litres per hour
while a central system could use as much as
25 litres per hour.
>> Consider supplementing water used in your
evaporative cooler with rainwater.
>> Evaporative coolers do not work on a
thermostat. They run for as long as you leave
them on.
>> During winter, ducted units on the roof should
have covers placed over them and ceiling
vents closed to stop excessive heat loss.
Alternatively, consider purchasing a unit with
a motorised self-closing winter seal.
For every unit of electricity they use, they can
provide from 1.5 to 3+ units of cooling, making
them very efficient.
>> Highest energy use.
>> Highest running costs.
>> Highest purchase cost.
>> Cool, dehumidify and recirculate room air.
>> Reverse-cycle models also provide heating.
>> Closed system – windows and doors must
be kept shut.
>> Highest greenhouse gas emissions.
Sizing
The correct sizing of an air conditioner is vital for
efficient operation. Never use an air conditioner
that is too big for a space, as this will result in
short cooling cycles (switching on and off), with
little reduction in humidity. Also, frequent on/off
cycling is not efficient and adds to the wear and
tear on the unit. An undersized air conditioner
will not provide adequate cooling.
Air conditioners should be sized based on their
output power or cooling capacity (not to be
confused with the electrical input).
Remember to have a full cooling load calculation
carried out by an authorised air conditioning installer
or manufacturer before purchasing any system.
>> Some central evaporative coolers can be
purchased with ‘off’ timers. These can save
energy and provide greater convenience as
the unit can be switched off automatically
when cooling is not desired (e.g. in the early
hours of the morning).
page 3 of 6
appliance efficiency > choosing a cooling system
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Considerations
>> Roof-mounted systems will need protective
non-combustible mesh in lower bushfire
zones or be prohibited in higher risk zones.
>> Refrigerated air conditioners are effective in any
climate. They are particularly useful in humid
areas because they dehumidify the room air.
>> Rooms the air conditioner is being used to
cool should be closed off so that the room
air is recirculated. For example, windows and
doors should remain shut.
>> If possible, locate window/wall units on the
south side of the house. If the unit is exposed
to full sun during the day, shade it with an
awning or canopy of shade trees. However,
do not restrict air flow over it.
>> Set thermostats at 26–27°C for summer
cooling. Each degree you lower the thermostat
can increase running costs by up to 15%.
>> Programmable thermostats are also
available. These allow you to switch the unit
on and off at preset times, potentially saving
energy and reducing running costs.
>> Look for economy settings
>> Multi-speed fans allow you to select high
speeds for fast circulation and quick cooling.
>> Adjustable and rotating louvres also help
to direct air movement more evenly around
the room.
>> Directional louvres set either horizontally or
upwards toward the ceiling assist in cooling.
>> Programmable timers allow the system to be
switched on or off as required.
appliance efficiency > choosing a cooling system
>> Look for models with an inverter. This
technology enables the compressor to operate
at variable speeds depending on the output
required and can potentially reduce running
costs, particularly over longer operating
periods. Inverter air conditioners also tend to
have faster heat up times and maintain more
comfortable internal temperatures.
>> Look for the energy star rating when
purchasing an air conditioner. The more
stars shown on the label, the more efficient
the unit. The label also gives an estimate of
the annual electricity consumption. Check
the Energy Rating label on air conditioners
or visit the Energy Rating website
(www.energyrating.gov.au) for a detailed,
up-to-date list of appliances. High-efficiency
units may cost more but can easily pay for
themselves over a few years through lower
running costs.
Reverse-cycle air conditioners
(or heat pumps)
A reverse-cycle air conditioner provides efficient
heating and cooling. As they are only marginally
more expensive to purchase than cooling only
units, they should be considered when looking
for an air conditioner.
This mode is not as cost effective for homes in
alpine regions that mainly require heating.
Note: performance testing is at 7°C – where most
reverse cycle air conditioning perform – but below
that temperature, efficiency drops significantly.
page 4 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Resistance heating
Inside the home
Some air conditioners also provide heating
through an electric resistance element. This is
a more expensive heating option than using a
reverse-cycle unit and you should think carefully
before choosing this heating option.
Evaporative coolers tend to give a higher
inside noise than refrigerated air conditioners,
especially at high fan speeds. Refrigerated room
units are noisier than split systems. Ducted or
split systems tend to be the quietest due to the
remoteness of the operating components.
Geoexchange Heat Pumps
Geoexchange (or geothermal) heat pumps use
the heating and cooling capacity of the earth
to provide air conditioning for a home. These
systems remove heat from the air inside the
home and transfer it to the ground or ground
water. In winter, the process is reversed to
provide heating. They are extremely efficient but
more expensive to purchase than conventional
ducted air conditioning systems.
Noise
Outside the home
An air conditioner can be a noisy and annoying
appliance, particularly if you are installing
the system close to neighbours. Most air
conditioners sold in Australia now have a Noise
(dB) Rating label on them. The best approach is
to buy the quietest unit for your needs and have
it installed as far away as possible from your
neighbours, or in a well-shielded or low-use area.
Running costs and CO2 emissions
The charts below and overleaf provide
comparisons of relative average hourly running
costs and greenhouse gas emissions for various
cooling systems. The energy used to operate
cooling systems produces gases that contribute
to the enhanced greenhouse effect. Carbon
dioxide (CO2) is by far the main greenhouse gas,
but others such as methane, nitrous oxide and
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are also produced.
Note: The cost comparisons chart is based on
an electricity tariff of 15cents per kWh and the
greenhouse gas comparison chart is based on
4 hours average running time per day during the
summer period.
Hourly running cost (¢)
Cooling system
0
20
40
60
80
87
Ducted refrigerated air conditioning (average efficiency—150 m2)
27
Split system air conditioner (average efficiency—50 m2)
Central evaporative cooling* (150 m2)
12
Portable evaporative cooler
5
Portable fan
1
*Evaporative coolers may need to operate for longer periods to achieve a cooling effect comparable to refrigerated systems.
Water consumption costs are not included.
Tonnes of CO2/year
Cooling system
page 5 of 6
0
0.5
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
appliance efficiency > choosing a cooling system
Ducted refrigerated air conditioning (average efficiency—150 m2)
Split system air conditioner (average efficiency—50 m2)
1.0
2.85
0.86
Central evaporative cooling* (150 m2)
12
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Portable evaporative cooler
5
Portable fan
1
*Evaporative coolers may need to operate for longer periods to achieve a cooling effect comparable to refrigerated systems.
Water consumption costs are not included.
Tonnes of CO2/year
Cooling system
0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
Ducted refrigerated air conditioning (average efficiency—150 m2)
Portable evaporative cooler
Portable fan
3.0
2.85
Split system air conditioner (average efficiency—50 m2)
Central evaporative cooling* (150 m2)
2.5
0.86
0.37
0.15
0.03
*Evaporative coolers may need to operate for longer periods to achieve a cooling effect comparable to refrigerated systems.
Water consumption costs are not included.
Bushfire safety considerations
Further information
Cooling systems that create gaps and
penetrations through open under-floors, walls or
roofs are a bushfire concern.
For more information on efficiency and air
conditioner sizing, see:
In medium to extreme bushfire areas, the
AS 3959-2009 has specific requirements that
must be addressed.
www.energyrating.gov.au
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
sustainability.vic.gov.au
www.yourhome.gov.au
Building Commission
Bushfire Building Advice Line
www.buildingcommission.vic.gov.au
Phone 1300 360 320
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
ENV015 3.03 July 2009
Appliance efficiency
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> gas water heaters
Included in this fact sheet:
>> Benefits of gas water heaters
>> Types of gas water heaters
>> Choosing the right system
>> Energy use and labelling
>> Bushfire safety matters
This fact sheet provides an overview of gas
water heaters, their advantages and tips for
choosing the right one for your home.
What are the advantages of a
natural gas water heater?
Natural gas water heaters are one of the
most economical types of water heater when
operated on natural gas, and produce fewer
greenhouse emissions than electrical heaters.
Only a gas-boosted solar system is more
economical and environmentally friendly.
Energy
Labelling
Tips for
choosing
the best heater
What do the Energy Rating
labels mean?
Most gas water heaters carry an Energy
Rating label that allows you to compare the
annual energy consumption performance of
different models.
The annual energy consumption is calculated
based on performing the task of delivering the
equivalent of 200 litres per day raised 45°C above
the cold water inlet temperature. This is the
typical hot water usage of a 4-person household.
The star rating and red band shading seen
on the label represent the energy saving of
the water heater compared with the standard
reference water heater (which uses 28,900 MJ
per year to perform the above task).
To get 1 star, an appliance needs to pass
the Australian Gas Association’s minimum
performance level. Each additional star
Electrical
Appliances
represents
an additional
7% energy saving.
When looking to buy an appliance many
customers compare the size, features, price
running
appliances.
discussed
Choose aand
heater
thatcosts
is theofright
size forAs
your
previously, energy and water efficiency are also
household.
very important factors in a consumer making a
purchase decision relating to an appliance.
Size
Type
For electrical appliances, the Energy Rating
>> A continuous flow heater, with electronic
label acts as an indicator – showing potential
ignition,
is best
forenergy
smaller
households.
buyers
how
efficient
the appliance is
andgetting
how much
electricity it uses
>> Consider
a gas-boasted
solarto run each
year (except for air conditioners, which are
water heater or a gas water heater that has
based on energy use-per-hour rather than
connections
for adding solar panels later.
annual rate).
FeaturesFor gas appliances the Energy Rating label
also acts as an indicator – showing potential
When choosing
a natural
gas
waterthe
heater
the is
buyers how
energy
efficient
appliance
and how
much saving
gas it uses
to run
most important
energy
feature
to each
look year.
for
is an energy rating of at least 5 stars.
The aims of energy labelling are to:
Find
The more
stars the more
energy efficient
ENERGY
RATING
A joint government and industry program
Kustom Kooler refrigerator Model 380
Energy consumption
530
kWh per year
When tested in accordance with AS/NZS 4474.2.
Actual energy use and running costs will depend on how you use the appliance.
Compare all models at www.energyrating.gov.au
Figure 1: Example of Energy Rating label
How Energy Labelling of Electrical
• Encourage customers to select the
Appliances began
appliance that uses the least energy for the
service the appliance is required to perform; Energy efficiency labelling for major electrical
Enableat
customers
to take into consideration appliances in Australia was first proposed in
out• more
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
the annual energy cost of operating an
the late 1970s, by the state governments in
appliance, and also its total (life cycle) cost.
New South Wales and Victoria.
• Encourage manufacturers and importers to
improve the energy efficiency of products
Although several states commenced
that they supply to the market.
mandatory labelling in the mid 1980s, it was
not until 1992 that a mandatory national
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
FAQs
Q. What factors influence the amount of
energy used and the running costs of gas
water heaters?
A. The energy used and running costs for a gas
water heater depend on many influences such as:
>> the location of the house
>> location of the water heater relative to hot
water outlets
>> external temperatures
>> operating times
>> cold water inlet temperatures
>> how much water is used
>> the quality of installation
>> thermostat settings
>> user behaviour
>> gas tariffs.
Q. Which is the most economical hot water
system to buy – gas or electric?
A: Running costs for hot water systems vary
considerably depending on the fuel used, so
making the right choice when selecting a system
is very important.
Natural gas fuelled units are slightly cheaper
to run than off-peak electric units; both have a
similar purchase costs. Units operating on peak
rate electricity and LPG are the most expensive
to run. If considering an off-peak electric unit,
keep in mind that off-peak electricity prices
are increasing faster than peak or ‘day-rate’
prices and are unlikely to improve in the current
electricity market.
Q: Is a gas continuous flow hot water system
better than a storage system?
A: Continuous flow units, sometimes referred
to as instantaneous gas heaters, are generally
slightly cheaper to run than typical storage units.
Running costs can be compared by looking
at the energy star rating of the unit – the more
stars the more efficient the unit and the lower
the running costs. Two different types of units
with a similar energy rating will have similar
running costs.
Continuous flow systems are generally more
expensive to purchase and install than storage
systems. Both types can be used in conjunction
with solar hot water panels, resulting in lower
running costs.
Solar hot water systems provide the cheapest
running costs, produce the least greenhouse
pollution, and are increasingly affordable with
the Government rebates available.
appliance efficiency > gas water heaters
page 2 of 4
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Q: How much does it cost to run a
4-minute shower?
A: The running cost can be calculated by
considering the following:
>> 1 litre of hot water obtained from either a
natural gas hot water service or an off-peak
electric hot water service costs about a third
of a cent
>> the average showerhead uses approximately
20 litres of hot water per minute. Assume half
of this is hot water i.e. 10 litres
>> multiply one third of a cent by the litres per
minute and number of minutes
>> i.e. 0.3 X 10 (litres per minute) X 4 (minutes)
= 12 cents
>> please note that this is an approximate
figure. If a solar hot water system is used,
the final figure can be multiplied by 0.4
as solar heating is much more cost and
energy efficient.
page 3 of 4
appliance efficiency > gas water heaters
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Bushfire safety considerations
All above-ground gas and water supply pipes
within bushfire zones must be of metal.
Further information
For more information on efficiency and air
conditioner sizing, see:
www.energyrating.gov.au
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
sustainability.vic.gov.au
www.yourhome.gov.au
Building Commission
Bushfire Building Advice Line
www.buildingcommission.vic.gov.au
Phone 1300 360 320
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
ENV015 3.04 July 2009
Appliance efficiency
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> lighting
Included in this fact sheet:
The key types of lights include:
>> Lighting in your home
>> compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)
>> Efficient lighting types
>> fluorescent tube lights
>> Practical issues to consider
>> light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).
>> Choosing the right light for the job
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
This fact sheet provides information on the
different types of energy efficient lighting
products available, how they work, and practical
issues to consider when choosing lighting
options for your home.
Why incandescent lights
are inefficient
Incandescent lights (‘standard’ globes) operate
by heating a small wire filament so it becomes
white hot and emits light. However, much of the
energy goes into producing unwanted heat as
well, so these lights are actually very inefficient.
Incandescent lights are also relatively short
lived – only lasting around 1000 hours – which
adds to their overall cost. You can choose from
many better money-saving alternatives today.
Incandescent lights are being withdrawn from
the market.
Types of energy efficient lighting
There are a number of different lighting
technologies available in Australia today
that are more energy and cost efficient than
traditional incandescent lights. Choosing energy
efficient lights can help you reduce your energy
consumption for lighting by up to 80%.
Compact fluorescent lamps were relatively
expensive when first introduced in the 1980s,
but in recent years their cost has reduced
significantly and they now provide a very cost
effective form of low energy lighting.
Although there is a ‘warm up’ delay in the lights
– so they can take a minute or two for the full
light to become active – CFLs offer a number of
important advantages, including:
>> compact size
>> use up to 80% less energy than an
incandescent globe
>> can be installed in the majority of light fittings
that take traditional, incandescent globes,
without any change to the light fitting
>> available in a range of new colour styles,
including warm white or cool white. This
makes CFLs more suitable for a wider
range of situations
>> long life (6 to 15 times longer than traditional
incandescent globes). So, even though CFLs
are more expensive to buy, their longer life
and low energy use means they are less
expensive to use overall.
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Other recent developments in CFLs include:
>> dimmable globes that can dim down to 25%
of their output with a conventional dimmer
The main disadvantages of fluorescent lights
include their higher initial purchase cost, the
need for a fluorescent light fitting to be installed,
and the fact that some people regard their light
as too harsh and white. Warm white tubes give
a far more natural light than ‘daylight’ or ‘cool
white’. They are very energy and cost efficient,
can provide lots of light, and last a long time.
>> floodlight PAR 38 lamps for outdoor use that
can reduce energy use by around 85%
Light emitting diodes (LEDs)
>> new low energy lighting CFLs that can be
used like halogen spotlights. These fit in a
standard 240V halogen fitting but use about
80% less energy
>> very compact models that can be used in
table lamps and small light fittings
>> models that can replace the candle effect
lights in chandelier-type light fittings
>> reflector lamps.
Overall, CFLs are very energy and cost efficient
(even taking into account their higher purchase
cost). They can be used in wide variety of lights,
are long lasting, better for the environment
AND will save you money.
Fluorescent tubes
Florescent tubes have been around for many
years and are ideal for areas where good quality
lighting is required for long periods. They can
give off more light than incandescent lamps
or CFLs, so they are especially suitable for
larger spaces that require good lighting - living
rooms, kitchens, laundries, playrooms, hallways,
garages or external areas.
Fluorescent lights use about 70%-80% less
energy than comparable incandescent lights.
As a long-lasting light their replacement costs
are also low.
Fluorescent tubes come in a range of styles
(straight, square and circular) and offer different
types of light, ranging from bright white to a
more natural, warmer light. Light fittings for
fluorescent tubes also vary – either covering the
globe or leaving it visible – and different styles
are available to suit all rooms and requirements.
appliance efficiency > lighting
LED lights have been around since the 1960’s,
but the technology has only evolved recently to
the stage that LEDs can be used for household
lighting. LED lights are more energy efficient than
incandescent and halogen lights and will become
increasingly so as the technology develops.
LED lights are already an energy efficient
alternative to 12V halogen lights or some
240V incandescent spotlights, and are widely
used for garden, pathway and pool lighting.
Their light output is still considered too low for
general room lighting, however the technology is
advancing quickly.
LEDs are relatively expensive, but they are
becoming cheaper and they have a very long
life. This makes them especially useful wherever
replacing light globes is difficult or expensive –
hence their use in pool lighting.
Halogen lamps
Halogen lamps are similar in design to
incandescent globes, but are filled with a
halogen gas and designed to operate at much
higher temperatures, creating a brighter light
more efficiently. They generally last twice as long
as incandescent lights.
Halogen lights are most often used as
downlights and in-track lighting. However, they
do not work well as a form of general lighting
as it can take four to six downlights to light the
same area as one standard light.
page 2 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Also, safety standards recommend that a large
gap be left in any insulation installed above
your halogen lights. This significantly decreases
the effectiveness of your insulation. Overall,
using halogens for general lighting is not
recommended, as it will add to your lighting
and energy costs.
Comparing lifetime running costs
When choosing what type of lighting to install
there are two costs to be considered:
>> globe replacement costs
>> energy costs.
Replacement cost and frequency
Globe replacement costs vary considerably
as does their lifespan (how often you need to
replace them). This can have a significant impact
on your ongoing running costs.
For example, incandescent globes may cost
less than $1, but their operating life may only be
1,000 hours, about one year of average use. In
comparison, a CFL may cost $3 to $7 to buy,
but its life might be 10,000 hours, giving you
approximately ten years of use.
Over 10,000 hours of use an incandescent
globe may have to be replaced 10 times, at a
cost of around $7.50, while a CFL would be
replaced once for around $5.00.
Energy costs
The energy costs of different light types can vary
by three or more times.
If a light is used for 5 hours a day on average,
this equates to around 1,800 hours of use
annually. For an incandescent 100W light,
annual energy costs will be around $30. A CFL
giving a similar light output will only cost about
$7 to operate, which is a $16 saving.
The lifetime costs for several common lights
are calculated in the table below and show that
CFL lights are much less expensive to buy and
operate in the long term.
Light fittings and energy efficiency
Your choice of light fitting, as well as the
technology behind it, will have an impact on
your home’s energy efficiency.
Pendant light fittings
Pendant fittings hang from the ceiling and
provide the maximum lighting from a single
globe. They are the most energy efficient light
fitting for general illumination.
Where possible, choose fittings that are
compatible with CFL globes to gain the greatest
energy advantage.
Power
Approximate
balloons of
greenhouse gas
Purchase price
75 Watt
3,600
$1.00 – $1.20
1,000– 2,000
Hours
$12.30
15 Watt
730
$4.00–$10.00
Around
8,000 Hours
$2.30
Expected
operating hours
Electricity running
costs per year
(approximate)
Incandescent
Flourescent
(75 watt equivalent)
(cheaper if buying a
packof 2 or 3 lights)
Figure 1: Example of running costs for incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs
page 3 of 6
appliance efficiency > lighting
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Downlights
Other useful lighting products
Downlights are very popular, especially lowvoltage halogen downlights, which are great for
feature lighting and specific task lighting, such
as in a kitchen. However, low voltage does not
mean low energy. As well, downlights are not
efficient for general lighting – requiring many
more globes to achieve the same effect – and
so can add significantly to your lighting and
energy costs.
Sensor lights
If you do decide to install spotlights, choose
fittings that can use reflector mini-CFL globes or
LED lights to maximise your energy savings.
You should also avoid installing downlights
that are recessed into the ceiling if possible.
These cause gaps in the ceiling insulation,
particularly if the lights require the insulation
to be set back from the lights to allow heat to
dissipate. The resulting gaps can greatly reduce
your insulation’s impact, making your home
much harder to heat or cool and significantly
increasing your energy costs.
Track lighting
Track lighting, or spotlights that can be attached
to your ceiling or walls, are much more practical
than recessed downlights. They are easier to
install, don’t require leaving gaps in your home’s
insulation and can be adjusted to point at
different places in a room.
Multiple globe light fittings
Some light fittings contain a number of smaller
light globes instead of a larger globe. This is
usually significantly less efficient than using a
single larger globes and leads to a higher cost
for replacement globes. If you do opt for such
a multiple fitting use the mini CFL lamps rather
than less efficient incandescent light globes.
appliance efficiency > lighting
Sensor lights can help reduce your energy costs
as they are switched on by motion sensors and
can be a good alternative to leaving lights on for
long periods.
Lights incorporating sensors are available or
sensors can be bought separately.
To avoid sensors switching lights on
inappropriately, check if they can be adjusted or
choose a motion/daylight sensor combination that
prevents the light from operating during daylight.
Sensor operated night lights are also available
for use in rooms such as bathrooms and
hallways. These can be a low-energy alternative
to leaving your hall or bathroom lights on for
children or guests.
Lighting timers
Lighting timers, which switch lights on and off
at programmable times, are another lighting
option worth considering for external or security
lights as they can reduce the length of time
the lights are in operation. These times can be
permanently installed or other timers can be
connected to ‘plug-in’ lights.
Solar lights
Solar powered lights are now inexpensive and
readily available from hardware stores. As well
as being decorative and cost-effective, they can
provide an efficient and convenient alternative
to some forms of traditional lighting. Solar lights
usually only offer low levels of illumination, but
this can be enough to light your garden, a small
shed or an outside area.
page 4 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
FAQs
Q. Do fluorescent globes really save money?
A. Yes. As an example, a 25-watt CFL will
provide the same amount of light as a 100-watt
incandescent. This means the fluorescent globe
will cost approximately one quarter of the cost of
the incandescent to run, so there is a significant
saving. So, even though fluorescent globes cost
more to purchase, they will save you money
in the end.
Q. Are halogen/low voltage lamps (e.g.
downlights) energy efficient?
A. Generally, no. Although halogen lamps are
around twice as energy efficient as incandescent
lamps (a 50w halogen light will provide around
the same light output as a 100w incandescent
globe), they also require the use of a transformer
that can consume up to 15w of energy making
them less energy efficient. As well, because
halogens only have a narrow beam, they are
unsuitable for general or ambient lighting. If you
want to illuminate a room it will take many more
halogen lights to achieve the same effect as a
single incandescent globe so running costs will
be significantly higher. Instead, consider using
halogen lights for spot or ‘task’ lighting, such as
over a kitchen bench.
page 5 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Q. Is it true that fluorescent lights use large
amounts of energy to switch on, making
them expensive to run?
Further information
A. No. Although fluorescent lamps use more
energy on start-up this is only for a fraction
of a second, so there is really no effect on
running costs.
www.energyrating.gov.au
Q. Is it true that fluorescent lamps should
not be switched on and off all the time? For
energy efficiency, how long should you wait?
A. Yes, frequent switching of fluorescent lamps
does reduce their lifespan. This is one reason
why it is recommended that fluorescent lights
be installed in rooms where the light is left on
for longer periods (e.g. living areas). To maximise
the lifespan of your light and minimise its
running costs, it is recommended that you
switch the light off if you leave a room for more
than five minutes.
Q. Do light dimmers save money?
A. Yes, but the saving is not proportional. By
dimming a light to half its light output, you save
around one quarter of the running costs.
ENV015 3.05 July 2009
For more information on efficiency and air
conditioner sizing, see:
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
sustainability.vic.gov.au
www.yourhome.gov.au
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Appliance efficiency
> dishwashers, fridges
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
and freezers
Included in this fact sheet:
>> Choosing the right appliance
>> Energy and water use
>> Labelling of appliances
>> Looking for the best features
This fact sheet presents useful information about
choosing a new dishwasher, fridge and/or freezer.
Included are facts about energy and water usage,
labelling conventions, plus handy features to
consider when making your purchase.
Dishwashers
About 50% of households in Victoria own a
dishwasher. Most people use their dishwashers
between 4 and 7 times per week (up to
365 times per year) although this varies
by household. The average lifespan of a
dishwasher is 11 years.
When choosing a new dishwasher, make sure
to consider energy and water usage. Most of
the energy used in a dishwasher is for water
heating, so energy efficient models can save
you both energy and water over the lifetime
of the machine.
Issues to consider when choosing a
dishwasher
Size – make sure the dishwasher’s load
capacity will suit your general needs (and that
your plates and glasses will fit into the racks).
Type – your type of hot water system will
have a significant influence on what type
of dishwasher will be most energy efficient.
The recommendations include:
>> If you have a gas or solar hot water system,
then a dual water connection model is
recommended. These can be connected
to both hot and cold water and will reduce
both carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and
operating costs.
>> If you have an electric hot water system,
then a cold water connection is best, as
the dishwasher will heat its own water only
for the parts of the cycle where hot water is
needed. This will be energy efficient.
>> A dishwasher connected to hot water only
will use the most energy, although it may be
marginally economical if you have either offpeak electric, solar or mains gas hot water.
Energy saving features to look for
>> An energy rating of at least 3.5 stars.
>> A water rating of at least 3.5 stars.
>> A filter that is easy to remove and clean.
>> Special features such as economy
programs, which use less energy than the
‘normal’ program.
>> Half load washing option.
>> Delay-start function to take advantage
of cheap ‘off-peak’ electricity or
‘time-of-use’ tariffs.
FAQs
Q. Are dishwashers tested on real dirty
dishes and cutlery?
A. Yes. The Australian Standard requires the test
to include a range of standard dirty products in
the test wash. After the wash, contents from all
parts of the dishwasher are carefully inspected
to see if they pass the wash quality test.
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Q. What are the two energy consumption
figures shown on the dishwasher label?
Q. What is the most efficient dishwasher
to buy?
A. The Energy Rating Label for dishwashers
shows the energy consumption for two water
connection options. Some dishwashers are
made for connection to cold water only, and
heat the water internally as required. Other
models can be connected to either hot water or
to both hot and cold. The energy consumption
for the manufacturer’s recommended
connection is displayed in the red box and
energy consumption for the alternative hot water
connection is written on the label below.
A. A list of energy and water rated dishwashers
is available at
Q. Which water connection uses the least
energy when running a dishwasher?
A. For single water connection models, a
dishwasher that is only connected to the cold
water supply is generally the most energy
efficient to run. The dishwasher heats the water
for the wash cycle and cold water is used for the
rinsing and prewash cycles.
Q. How do dual hot and cold water
connections save energy?
A. Dishwashers with dual hot and cold water
connections will use hot water only for those
cycles where it is required. These dishwashers
have shorter operating times and, if connected
to a mains gas or solar water heater, have both
lower running costs and lower greenhouse
gas emissions.
>> www.energyrating.gov.au
>> www.waterrating.gov.au
How are the Energy Rating
labels decided?
An approved Energy Rating label must be
displayed on all dishwashers that are offered
for sale in Australia. To determine the energy
consumption and performance and to set
requirements for energy labelling, dishwashers
are tested against the Australian Standard
AS/NZS2007.
To be eligible for an Energy Rating label, a
dishwasher must be able to meet the specified
washing and drying performance criteria
defined in the Australian Standard. The product
must also demonstrate that it is capable of
washing the specified load (e.g. a number of
place settings) and that the water consumption
and water pressure data provided by the
manufacturer is accurate.
The ‘1’ star line is defined by what is called the
base energy consumption. For dishwashers,
a product is awarded an extra star each time
the figure in the coloured box is reduced by
30% from the base energy consumption.
appliance efficiency > dishwashers, fridges and freezers
page 2 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Refrigerators & freezers
A refrigerator is the single biggest power
consumer in many households, after electric hot
water heaters. Nearly all households have at least
one refrigerator and about 30% own two. The
average lifespan of a fridge is 13 years. Nearly
60% of households own a separate freezer.
Type – there is a variety of fridges and freezers
available on the market today, each of which has
its advantages and disadvantages. The following
issues should be considered before deciding
which type to purchase:
>> frost-free fridges are generally less efficient
than cyclic defrost models due to:
-- the energy use of the fan
Although energy efficiency should be a critical
factor in deciding which fridge or freezer to buy,
approximately 45% of purchases are made on
impulse with no prior research. This is mainly
due to the urgent need for a new fridge when
the previous one breaks down.
Issues to consider when choosing a
fridge or freezer
Size – think about what size of fridge you really
need. If the fridge will not be at least two thirds
full, or a freezer at least three quarters full, it is
too big for your needs.
-- the need to maintain a very low
temperature in the freezer (to cool the
fresh food compartment as well)
-- the energy needed to defrost both the
freezer and fresh food compartment.
That said, some well-designed frost-free
fridges have lower energy use than some
cyclic defrost models.
>> vertical/upright freezers have a front-opening
door. Contents can be checked, packed and
unloaded relatively quickly and this minimises
the time that the door is open.
>> chest freezers have a top opening lid and
are generally more economical to run as they
hold cold air more efficiently.
>> it is usually less costly to run one large
refrigerator than two smaller ones, but check
the energy consumption on the label when
assessing your options.
>> if two different sized refrigerators use the
same amount of energy, the larger model
can be considered more efficient because it
keeps more space cold with same amount
of electricity.
page 3 of 6
appliance efficiency > dishwashers, fridges and freezers
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Energy saving features to look for
>> An energy rating of at least 4 stars, a chest
freezer with at least 3 stars, and an upright
freezer with at least 4.5 stars.
>> Adjustable shelving – you will be able to
store products of different shapes and sizes,
and they will be more accessible for cleaning
and defrosting.
>> Easy access to the thermostat.
>> Easily read thermostat controls.
>> Door open alarm.
>> Dimensions that allow adequate space (5-cm
gap) around the unit for ventilation.
>> Rollers or castors will make it easier to move
to clean the coils at the rear of the unit.
>> Models with inverter technology will be more
efficient, as they can adjust their compressor
output to match vary cooling demands.
>> Single door fridge/freezers have manual
or push-button defrost and, if defrosted
regularly, are very energy efficient to run.
>> Manual defrost models have tended to use
less energy than frost-free models (automatic
defrost), but these must be defrosted
periodically to remain energy efficient.
However, the best frost-free models on the
market are now as good as manual defrost
models – check the energy label.
>> Automatic ice-makers and through-thedoor dispensers both increase energy use
(typically 100 to 150 kilowatt hours/year).
FAQs
Q. How can two different fridges have
different kWh ratings, yet have the same
star rating?
A. Fridges and freezers are divided into different
class and size categories. Class categories
include Frost Free, Cyclic Defrost, Fridge
with Freezer, etc. If two fridges with the same
capacity have different kWh ratings but the
same star rating, it is likely that they belong to
different classes or different sizes.
Q. What effect does the size of the fridge have?
A. In general, the larger the refrigerator, the more
energy it uses. Choose the size of fridge that is
best suited to your needs.
Q. What factors affect the cost of running
a refrigerator?
A. Running costs vary according to:
>> The size and efficiency of the unit
>> The effectiveness of the refrigerator’s
insulation
>> The outside air temperature (in hot weather,
heat will leak into the cabinet more quickly,
requiring more energy to maintain low
temperatures)
>> The presence of adequate ventilation around
the refrigerator
>> The frequency of door opening.
appliance efficiency > dishwashers, fridges and freezers
page 4 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Q. Which uses less energy – a chest freezer
with a top-opening lid or an upright freezer?
A. Upright freezers are usually less efficient to run.
Cold air, being heavier than warm air, will flow out
of an upright freezer when the door is opened.
Q. What is adaptive defrost?
A. Adaptive defrost is one of a number of new
smart technologies for refrigerators where the
appliance automatically adjusts how often the
fridge is defrosted depending on the frost load
on the evaporator. Adaptive defrost systems
are recognised by the Australian Standard for
refrigerators and freezers, but at this stage a
realistic test for these controls is not included
in the test method. The Standard assumes that
at least one defrost per day will occur during
normal operation, although some smart systems
may have a longer time between defrosts under
normal conditions of use.
Q. What is the most efficient fridge to buy?
A. A list of energy rated fridges is available at
www.energyrating.gov.au
An approved Energy Label must be displayed
on all refrigerators and freezers that are offered
for sale in Australia. This label can provide
you with important information about the
effectiveness of the different models. For any
given type of fridge or freezer, the model with
the most number of stars will be the most
energy efficient.
To determine a model’s energy consumption
and performance, and its appropriate energy
label, all refrigerators, freezers and refrigeratorfreezers are tested against the Australian
Standard AS/NZS4474. To be eligible for
an energy label, a refrigerator has to meet a
temperature operation test and a pull down test
as defined in the Australian Standard.
The ‘1’ star line is defined by what is called the
base energy consumption. For refrigerators and
freezers, a product is awarded an extra star each
time the figure in the coloured box is reduced by
a certain percentage. Energy reductions per star
vary from 14% to 23% per star, depending on
the refrigerator or freezer group.
What do the Energy Rating labels mean?
Minimum Energy Performance Standards
(MEPS), which set minimum efficiency levels
for refrigerators and freezers, came into force
on 1 October 1999, thus eliminating the worst
performers from the market. However, for
many types of refrigerators, there is still a large
difference in energy consumption between the
best and worst models. The best models, in
some cases, use half the energy of models that
just pass MEPS.
page 5 of 6
appliance efficiency > dishwashers, fridges and freezers
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Further information
For more information on efficiency and air
conditioner sizing, see:
www.energyrating.gov.au
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
sustainability.vic.gov.au
www.yourhome.gov.au
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
ENV015 3.06 July 2009
Appliance efficiency
> washing machines
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
and clothes dryers
Included in this fact sheet:
>> How to choose the best washer
or dryer for your needs
>> Energy saving features to look for
>> How to interpret the labels
This fact sheet presents useful information
on choosing a new washing machine or
clothes dryer, energy usage and efficiency,
plus handy features to consider when making
your purchase.
Washing machines
More than 95% of households in Victoria own
a washing machine. On average, these are
used five times a week, although this can vary
widely between households. Washing machines
generally have a lifespan of around 11 years.
When deciding which washing machine to buy,
it is wise to consider both energy usage and
water efficiency. However, research shows that
45% of washing machine purchases are made
on impulse – probably due to the immediate need
for a replacement when an old one breaks down.
How do I choose the best washing
machine for my needs?
Size - Think about the size of machine you
really need. A larger than necessary machine
will use more energy and cost more to run,
while a machine that is too small will not meet
your needs.
Type of clothes washer – There are two main
types of clothes washer: drum type machines,
usually called front loaders, and top loaders.
Each has its advantages and disadvantages,
however front loader machines are generally
more energy and water efficient.
Before deciding whether to buy a top loading
or a front-loading clothes washer, think about
whether you want:
>> a quick washing cycle
>> to minimise wear and tear on your clothes
>> water efficiency.
The answers to these questions may make a
difference to your choice of washing machine.
Some of the aspects to consider for each type
of clothes washer include:
Top loaders
>> Generally faster washing times
(30-45 minutes).
>> Generally use more water, which means that
on a warm wash they use more energy.
>> Wear and tear on clothes is harsher
(especially impeller types).
>> Usually less expensive to purchase
(although not always).
>> Generally have a range of cold washing options.
Front Loaders
>> Generally slower washing times (typically
60-90 minutes).
>> Generally use less water, which means that
on a warm wash they use less energy.
>> Much more gentle on clothes and usually
wash better.
>> Can be more expensive to purchase
(although not always).
>> Some have only single cold connect (internal
water heating) and some have limited cold
water washing options.
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Energy saving features to look for
>> An energy rating of at least 3.5 stars.
>> A water rating of at least 4 stars.
>> A model with automatic load sensing and
water level adjustment. This will ensure that
the minimum amount of water and energy
is used for each load. Or at least make sure
there is a variable water level so small loads
can be washed efficiently.
>> A model that can wash in cold water.
Although the washing performance is
generally reduced when using cold water,
you will typically save 80% to 90% of the
energy. If you use cold water for washing half
of the time, you will save half the energy.
>> A cold rinse option for all of the common
programs on the washing machine. This will
give you the option to save more energy.
>> A good spin performance (e.g. high spin
speed) as this can cut down on your overall
energy use, especially if you dry some or all
of your loads in a clothes dryer.
>> A machine that has a hot and cold water
connection. If you use solar, gas or off peak
electric hot water, the total cost of energy
will be greatly reduced for those loads you
do wash on a warm setting. Internal water
heating is generally more expensive, although
front loading machines use less water and
less energy overall.
>> A suds saver option. This saves energy and
reduces the washer’s water consumption.
>> Delay-start function to take advantage of
cheaper ‘off-peak’ electricity.
Washing machine FAQs
Q. Does a clothes washer wash as well on
cold water as on hot?
A. Most people find that cold wash cycles using
modern detergents are quite satisfactory and
save a lot on energy costs. On the Energy Rating
label for clothes washers, the cold wash energy
consumption is displayed in the blue box and the
warm wash energy consumption is displayed in
the red box. However, on heavily soiled clothes a
warm or hot wash may be necessary.
Q. What type of clothes are the washing
machines tested on?
A. Energy consumption is measured on
the program recommended for a normally
soiled cotton load. After the wash, the soiled
samples are removed from the clothes washer
and are inspected to see if they pass the
wash performance.
Q. Does the ‘suds saver’ save energy?
A. The ‘suds saver’ feature on a clothes washer
is designed primarily to save water. But if you are
doing a hot wash, the suds saver feature will allow
you to save hot water, which in turn saves energy.
Q. Does water consumption alter the running
cost of a clothes washer?
A. Yes. If using warm wash cycles, the energy
for heating water accounts for about 80 to 90%
of the total energy consumption. Therefore,
models with low water consumption use less
energy. To calculate water costs, check with
your local water supplier to find out what water
and wastewater tariffs apply to your home.
Q. What is the most efficient washing
machine to buy?
A. A list of energy and water rated washing
machines are available at
>> www.energyrating.gov.au
>> www.waterrating.gov.au.
appliance efficiency > washing machines and clothes dryer
page 2 of 4
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
What do the labels mean?
There are two kinds of labels for clothes
washers. The cold/warm wash label is used
on machines where the user can select the
temperature setting. The other label is used
where
this option is not available.
Cold and Warm Wash
s
eholds in Victoria own
average clothes are
5 times per week,
household and last on
The more
stars the more
energy efficient
y, energy and water
n the purchase
ately 45% of washing
de on impulse with no
e predominately to the
acement should a
ENERGY
RATING
Energy consumption
Cold Wash
Warm Wash
399
kWh per year
using xxxxl cold wash program or
xxxxx warm wash program
seven times per week in each case
When tested in accordance with AS/NZS 2040.2.
Appliances_R_02.qxd:Layout
1appliance.15/10/08
Actual energy use and running costs will depend on how you use the
1:55 PM
Page 26
Cold washing performance has
not been measured and is not guaranteed.
For more information, refer to
www.energyrating.gov.au
Warm Wash Only
Figure 1: Cold and
Warm Wash Labels
There are two kinds of labels for clothes
washers. The cold/warm wash label may be
used on machines featuring an option where
the consumer can select the temperature
setting. The other label is used where this
The more
option is notstars
available.
the more
energy efficient
ENERGY
RATING
A joint government and industry program
xxx clothes washer Model xxx
Load capacity xxx kg
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Energy consumption
Warm Wash
399
The standard energy labelling test for clothes
washers specifies a warm wash – as a result the
majority of the energy consumption shown in
the Energy Consumption box on the on the label
is for heating the water. So, choosing a model
with a low water consumption will help you save
energy and water.
The ‘1’ star line reflects the machine’s base
energy consumption. For clothes washers, a
product is awarded an extra star each time the
figure in the coloured box is reduced by 27%
from the base energy consumption.
A joint government and industry program
xxx clothes washer Model xxx
Load capacity xxx kg
66
are defined in the Australian Standard. The
product must also demonstrate that the water
consumption and water pressure data provided
by the manufacturer is accurate.
Clothes dryers
Some of the aspects to consider for each type
of clothes washer are as follows:
good spin performance (e.g. high spin
Q. Does water consum
running cost of a cloth
A. Yes, if using warm w
for heating water accou
90% of the total energy
Therefore models with l
use less energy. To calc
customer can ask their
the water and waste wa
them.
(although not always)
– Generally have a range of cold washing options
reduced for those loads they do wash on a
Q. What is the most ef
machine to buy?
speed) as this can cut down on energy use
About 60% of households
in Victoria own
for customers especially if they dry some or
Top Loaders
all of their loads in a clothes dryer. You can
clothes dryers. Some
households use them as
– Generally faster washing times (30-45
check the spin performance of the models
minutes)
your customer is considering on the energy
littlethat
as once per month
while others use them
– Generally use more water which means
rating website.
on a warm wash they use more energy
• Recommend a machine that has a hot and
to dry every load they
DryersIf your
lastcustomer
on
– Wear and tear on clothes is harsher
coldwash.
water connection.
(especially impeller types)
uses solar, gas or off peak electric hot
average
for
11
years.
– Usually less expensive to purchase
water, the total cost of energy will be greatly
setting. Internal water heating is
How do I choosewarm
the
best
clothes
dryerA. A list of energy and w
generally
more
expensive,
although front
machines are available
Front Loaders
loading machines use less water and less
www.energyrating.gov.a
for my needs? energy overall.
– Generally slower washing times (typically
60-90 minutes)
– Generally use less water which means that
using <warm wash program name>
on a warm wash they use less energy
seven times per week.
– Much more gentle on clothes and usually
When tested in accordance with AS/NZS 2040.2.
Actual energy use and running costs will depend on how you use the appliance.
wash better
For more information, refer to
be more expensive to purchase
www.energyrating.gov.au
Figure– 2:Can
Warm
(although not always)
Some have only single cold connect
Wash –Only
(internal water heating) and some have
limited cold water washing options.
ResourceSmart Recommendations
Features
When recommending a washing machine
Size
some of the energy saving features to look for
• Ascertain the size of machine the buyer
needs. A larger than necessary machine will
25 are:
use more energy and cost more to run and
• An energy rating of at least 3.5 stars
too small a machine will not satisfy the
• A water rating of at least 4 stars
customer’s needs.
• Recommend a model that has automatic
load sensing and water level adjustment.
Type
This will ensure that the minimum amount
• The two main types of clothes washer are
of water and energy is used for each load.
drum type machines, usually called front
Or at least make sure there is a variable
loaders, and agitator or impeller machines
water level so small loads can be washed
often called top loaders. Each has its
efficiently.
advantages and disadvantages, however
• Recommend a model that can wash in
front loader machines are generally more
cold water. Although the washing
energy and water efficient.
performance is generally reduced when
• Before recommending either a top loading
using cold water, your customer can
or a front-loading clothes washer try asking
typically save 80% to 90% of the energy. If
your customer whether they need:
your customer uses cold water washing half
• a quick washing cycle
of the time, they will be saving half the
• how concerned they are about wear and
energy.
tear on their clothes
• Ensure that there is a cold rinse option for
• how important water efficiency is to them.
all of the common programs on the
The answers to these questions may make
washing machine. This will give your
a difference to your recommendation.
customer the option to save more energy.
• Ensure the model you recommend has a
kWh per year
All washing machines for sale in Australia
must carry an approved Energy Rating label.
To determine the energy consumption and
performance (and therefore the right energy
label), clothes washers are tested against the
Australian Standard AS/NZS2040.
To be eligible for an Energy Rating label,
a clothes washer must be able to meet
a minimum level of wash performance, a
minimum level of spinning performance and
must not exceed the ‘wear and tear’ limits that
26
page 3 of 4
• The suds saver option is an important
www.waterrating.gov.au
hot wash may be necessary.
are defined in the Austra
product must also dem
consumption and water
provided by the manufa
feature to consider in your recommendation. It
Energy efficiency should
be an important factor Washing Machine Per
saves energy and also reduces water
Labelling
consumption of the clothes washer.
in your choice of which
machine
• Delay-start
function to to
takepurchase.
advantage of
An approved Energy Ra
cheaper ‘off-peak’ electricity.
But while energy efficiency
can help minimise washers must be displa
which are offered for sa
and Answers
your running costsQuestion
and your
impact on the
To determine the energy
Q. Does a clothes washer wash as well on
environment, approximately
of clothes
performance and to set
cold water as on55%
hot?
energy labelling, clothes
A. Most people find that cold wash cycles
dryer purchases are
made
on
impulse
with
against the Australian S
using modern detergents are quite satisfactory
and save a lot in energy costs. On the Energy
no prior research. Rating
Thislabel
is for
probably
due
To be eligible for an Ene
clothes washers
the to
cold the
wash
clothes washer must be
energy consumption may be displayed in the
relatively cheap price
ofand
replacing
a energy
dryer shouldminimum level of wash
blue box
the warm wash
minimum level of spinnin
consumption is displayed in the red box.
it break down.
must not exceed the “w
However on heavily soiled clothes a warm or
Q. What
of clothes
are the
If you are a moderate
totype
heavy
user
ofwashing
your
machines tested on?
A.
Energy
consumption
is
measured
on the
clothes dryer, it is important to pay particular
The standard energy lab
program recommended for a normally soiled
washers specifies a war
cotton
load at the
rated capacity.
After a
the
attention to the star
rating
when
making
the majority of the energ
wash, the soiled samples are removed from
in the Energy Consump
the clothes
washer
and are inspected
to see
if
choice. You also need
to
consider
the
size
of
label is for heating the w
they pass the wash performance.
recommending a mode
machine you need,
and
which
features
would
be
consumption saves ene
Q. Does the “suds saver” save energy?
The “suds saver” feature on a clothes
of most to you. A.
The “1” star line is defin
washer is primarily to save water. If the
customer is using a hot wash, the suds saver
feature will allow them to save hot water, which
in turn saves energy.
base energy consumpti
washers a product is aw
each time the figure in t
reduced by 27% from th
consumption.
appliance efficiency > washing machines and clothes dryer
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Energy saving features to look for
clothes dryers are tested against the Australian
Standard AS/NZS2442. Requirements for
eligibility include the ability to dry a standard
load in a single operation to a specified level of
dryness, a maximum clothes temperature limit
(to prevent scorching) and minimum efficiency
requirements. The initial moisture content of the
clothes is also defined in the Standard.
>> An energy rating of at least 2 stars.
>> Automatic sensing – auto-sensing dryers
automatically detect the dryness of clothes
and turn off when clothes are dry enough.
This feature prevents over-drying and cuts
down on energy usage.
>> Easily accessible lint filters.
>> Venting kit to expel moist air to the outside
of the house (or purchase a ‘condensing’
model instead).
Appliances_R_02.qxd:Layout 1
15/10/08
>> Temperature settings that are suitable for the
load types that you will dry most often
(e.g. towels).
The ‘1’ star line reflects base energy
consumption. For clothes dryers, a product is
awarded an extra star each time the figure in the
1:55 PM Page 28
coloured box is reduced by 15% from the base
energy consumption.
• Delay-start function to take adva
cheap ‘off-peak’ electricity if you
‘time-of-use’ tariff.
Questions and Answers
Clothes Dryers
>> Special features such as reverse tumbling
About 60% of households in Victoria own
clothes dryers.
dryer
use varies widely,
and cool down options
(e.g.Clothes
denim
and
with some households using them as little as
once
per
month
while
others
use
anti-crease cycles) to reduce wear and them
tearto dry
every load that they wash and last on average
on clothes.
11 years.
The more
stars the more
energy efficient
ENERGY
RATING
energy of
efficiency is
>> Delay-start functionAstodiscussed
take previously,
advantage
important in the purchase decision, with
approximatelyif55%
dryer
cheap ‘off-peak’ electricity
youof clothes
are on
apurchases
made on impulse with no prior research due
‘time-of-use’ tariff. predominately due to the not exceptionally
A joint government and industry program
XXX clothes dryer Model XXX
Load capacity XXX kg
Energy consumption
206
high price for replacement should a
breakdown occur.
Clothes dryer FAQs
xxx program, used once per week
When tested in accordance with AS/NZS 2442.2.
Actual energy use and running costs will depend on how you use the appliance.
Compare all models at www.energyrating.gov.au
Q. Do auto-sensing dryers save energy?
A. Yes. Auto-sensing dryers switch off
automatically and do notWashers
waste energy by
& dryers
continuing to run once the clothes are dry.
Save 25% on washing
and 15% on
The energy wasted by amachines
dryer
thatstarrelies upon
dryers
with every
a manual timer will depend on how diligent you
are in checking the progress of your clothes.
ResourceSmart
Recommendations
Figure
3: example
of an energy rating label
Size
• Ascertain the size of machine the buyer
needs.
Further information
Type
• If your customer is a moderate to heavy
For
more
information
onpayefficiency and air
user
of a dryer,
it is important to
particular attention to the star rating when
conditioner
sizing, see:
making a recommendation.
Features
www.energyrating.gov.au
When recommending a clothes dryer some of
Q. What is the most efficient clothes dryer
to buy?
A. A list of energy-rated clothes dryers is
available at www.energyrating.gov.au
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Energy rating labels
All clothes dryers sold in Australia must display
an approved Energy Rating label. To work out
their energy consumption and performance,
28
ENV015 3.07 July 2009
the energy saving features to look for are:
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
• An energy rating of at least 2 stars
• Automatic sensing. Auto sensing dryers
automatically detect the dryness of clothes
sustainability.vic.gov.au
and turn off when clothes are dry enough.
This feature prevents over setting the drying
www.yourhome.gov.au
time and using more energy than is necessary.
• Easily accessible lint filters
• Venting kit to expel moist air directly outside
the home or a ‘condensing’ model
• Check the temperature settings available to
make sure that they are suitable for the load
types that the consumer is likely to dry
• Special features such as reverse tumbling,
cool down cycles such as denim and anticrease cycles to reduce wear and tear on
clothes
Q. Do auto-sensing dryers save
A. Yes. Auto sensing dryers switch
the clothes are dry and do not was
by continuing to run once the cloth
The energy wasted by the manual
dryers will depend on the how dilig
is in avoiding excessive cycle times
Q. What is the most efficient clot
to buy?
A. A list of energy rated clothes dry
available at www.energyrating.gov.
Clothes Dryer Performance Crite
Labelling
An approved Energy Rating label fo
dryers must be displayed on all pro
which are offered for sale in Austra
To determine the energy consumpt
performance and to set requiremen
energy labelling clothes dryers are
against the Australian Standard AS
The standard is applicable to electr
clothes dryers, which are intended
household or similar use.
To be eligible for an Energy Rating
clothes dryer must be able to dry a
load in a single operation to a spec
dryness. Other requirements are a
clothes temperature limit (to preven
and minimum efficiency requiremen
defined in the Australian Standard.
moisture content of the clothes is a
in the standard.
The “1” star line is defined by what
For further information or a copy of this base
factenergy consumption. For clot
a product is awarded an extra star
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/ the figure in the coloured box is red
15% from the base energy consum
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Renewable energy options
Renewable energy options
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> solar photovoltaic (pv) systems
Included in this fact sheet:
>> Understanding solar PV systems
>> Benefits of solar-generated electricity
>> Choosing a system that’s right for you
>> Improving your energy efficiency
>> Solar panels or modules are silent, without
any moving parts.
>> Solar modules are usually mounted on
the roof or a house.
>> Solar electricity can either supplement or
provide all your electrical consumption.
>> Solar electricity can be fed into the
electricity grid.
The aim of this fact sheet is to provide you with
general advice on the purchase and installation
of a grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV)
system for your home. Before making a final
purchase decision, you should always seek
advice from a supplier or qualified PV installer.
>> Additional solar modules can be added
later to increase capacity as demand or
budget grows.
What does a solar PV system do?
Stand-alone and grid-connected
solar PV systems
Solar PV systems (also known as solar electric
systems) are designed to:
>> use sunlight to generate electricity for your
domestic use
>> store excess electricity in batteries for later
use or to feed into the electricity grid to
reduce your electricity bill.
A solar electric system is different to a solar
water heater. This guide deals only with solar
electricity. Solar water heaters use heat from the
sun and/or surrounding air to heat water – they
do not produce electricity.
Benefits of a solar PV system
>> Solar PV systems generate electricity.
>> Once the system has been installed,
electricity is generated from a ‘free’ source,
i.e. the sun.
>> Solar electricity is generated without emitting
greenhouse gases.
>> A solar module should last for 20–30 years.
There are two basic types of small solar
power systems:
1. grid-connected solar power systems
2. stand-alone power systems.
If a mains electrical supply connection is
present or available then you should consider
a grid-connected solar system. A stand-alone
power system costs significantly more than
a grid-connected system and should only be
considered if the cost of connection to the
power grid is more than $30,000.
How does a grid-connected solar
PV system work?
A grid-connected solar PV system consists of
an array of photovoltaic modules connected via
an inverter to provide power for your home with
excess production feeding into the grid.
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
At night, when the solar modules are not
producing electricity, the electricity comes to
you from the grid. If you export enough energy
during the day, it will balance or exceed the
amount you draw from the grid at night.
Key components of a grid-connected
solar PV system
The key components of a grid-connected solar
power system are:
>> Solar modules – convert sunlight to
DC electricity
>> Grid interactive inverter – converts
DC electricity to AC electricity
>> Import-export utility meter – measures
electricity exported to and imported from
the grid.
Cell Type
Efficiency
Roof Area
for 1 kW
Monocrystalline
12% – 18%
8 m2
Polycrystalline
10% – 13%
10 m2
Thin film or
amorphous
3% – 6%
20 m2
Figure 2: Cell types and sizes
For all solar modules:
More energy is generated
>> in areas of strong solar radiation
>> on long, sunny days
Less energy is generated
>> in cloudy or rainy weather
>> when the panels are shaded by trees or other
obstructions
In Victoria, the average energy produced by a
1 kW solar system is about 1,230 kWh.
sunlight
Grid interactive inverter
electricity
to house
Inverter
meter
Figure 1: A typical photovoltaic system
Solar modules
Solar modules are made up of solar cells and
are usually mounted on roofs or other structures.
There are three general classifications of solar
cell technologies that vary in efficiency.
One type is not necessarily better than the other,
however lower efficiency modules take up a
greater roof area than higher efficiency types
for the same power output. The table presents
general guidelines to help understand the effect
of cell efficiency on the size of the array.
An inverter is an electronic device that converts
the direct current (DC) produced by the solar
modules into alternating current that is fully
compatible with the standards for the Australian
power system. Inverters are usually mounted
near the household switchboard.
Import export utility meter
Your house will require a meter that can record
the import and export of electricity in half hour
intervals. There are new electronic meters that
are currently being deployed in Victoria.
Your electricity distributor reads the meter for
imported and exported electricity and your
electricity retailer then bills you for the energy
consumed OR provides a credit for any excess
exported power.
renewable energy options > solar photovoltaic systems
page 2 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Figure 3: Modern digital meter.
Figure 4: Old-fashioned meter
Choosing the right system
You should always consider some energy
conservation and energy efficiency measures
to reduce your electricity consumption so that
a larger portion of your electricity use will come
from your solar PV system – e.g. avoid installing
electric space heating and electric hot water.
Factors to consider
> your electricity demand – how much you
use. The more electricity you demand, the
larger the system you will need and the
greater the cost.
> your budget – how much are you prepared
to invest? Your budget may limit the size of
the system.
Reducing demand
> aspect – there needs to be sufficient
space on your roof for the mounting of northfacing modules.
While the power you generate can help offset
electricity charges, it is important that you also
consider other cost-effective ways of reducing
the energy used around your house.
Choosing the system size
These alternatives include:
An energy efficient house may need about
2.5 kW of solar power to meet its average
annual electricity needs. While the ideal outcome
is to provide enough energy to run all your
electrical appliances all year round, the reality
is that your electricity usage and your budget
may not always coincide.
> buying the most energy efficient
appliances
Often the compromise is to have a solar PV
system that will supply only part of your total
electricity demand; however, you can always
add to it later. The most common systems are
rated at about 1.5kW.
page 3 of 6
> replacing incandescent light globes with
compact fluorescent lamps
> avoiding installing quartz halogen
downlights as most are very inefficient
> switching off stand-by loads such as those
consumed by DVDs and computers when
not in use
renewable energy options > solar photovoltaic systems
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
>> installing a solar water heater, preferably
with gas or wood heater boosting – this will
cut electrical costs
>> utilising motion sensors, timers and home
automation systems
>> positioning summer shading or reflective
coatings on west facing windows
>> reducing electricity demand for spaceheating and cooling (e.g. by dressing for the
climate, judicious setting of thermostats,
use of curtains and incorporating energy
efficiency features into new buildings, such
as lights, insulation, summer shading, etc.)
>> ensuring that there is adequate solar access
in winter to provide passive heating.
Design and installation
It is recommended that you have your solar
power system specified, designed and
installed by a person with Business Council
for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) accreditation.
This ensures that they:
>> have undergone the necessary
professional training
>> follow industry best practice
>> must adhere to Australian Standards
Orientation
Solar modules produce most electricity when
they are pointed directly at the sun. It is
important to install them so that they receive
maximum sunlight. Ideally they should be in
full sun at least from 9am to 3pm. In Australia,
solar modules should face north for optimum
electricity production.
Elevation
For grid-connected systems, the angle should
match the latitude to maximise the amount of
energy produced annually. This is about 35
degrees in Victoria.
However, if the electricity load is significantly
higher in summer, your installer may consider
angling the modules at a lower angle to maximise
electricity production to match this load.
Customisation
If your roof’s slope is not ideal, your designer
can create an appropriate mounting frame to
correct the orientation and elevation of your
array. Failing this, the designer can advise you
on how much output you are sacrificing from
the array.
>> routinely update their skills and
product knowledge.
Australian Standards and industry
guidelines
It is also wise to:
Solar grid-connected power systems must
comply with a range of Australian Standards
covering the grid connection of energy systems.
>> consider the recommendations of others who
have purchased a similar system to the one
you require
>> engage someone with whom you’re happy
to work
>> engage someone who has experience
designing and installing PV systems.
Average daily production
Electricity is metered in kilowatt hours (kWh).
Hence if you use 1 kW for 1 hour you have
consumed 1kWh of energy. Some electrical
retailers refer to 1 kWh as 1 unit. The average
electricity production from a 1 kW solar system
in Victoria is about 1,230 kWh per year.
renewable energy options > solar photovoltaic systems
page 4 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Getting a quotation
If asking for a quotation, you should make sure
to request specifications, quantity, size, capacity
and output for the major components, including:
>> solar PV modules
>> mounting frames or structure
>> inverter
Renewable Energy Certificates
for solar systems
Small solar PV systems are eligible to create
Renewable Energy Certificates under the
Commonwealth Government’s Mandatory
Renewable Energy Target. The certificates
have a market value that can be worth
thousands of dollars.
>> travel and transport requirements
In most cases, the business selling you a new
solar system may offer a discounted price
on the basis of you signing over the rights to
these certificates. You can choose to retain the
certificates if you prefer.
>> other equipment needed
>> any trench digging
>> a system user manual
>> warranties for all parts and labour.
The quotation should also specify a total price
and the basis for any discounts for Renewable
Energy Certificates or volume bulk buying groups.
Electricity distributors
All poles, lines and meters are provided by an
electricity distribution business. You cannot
choose your distributor as they are allocated
geographically throughout Australia.
The certificates are deemed to reflect the
amount of renewable energy generated over
a period of up to 15 years and a formula is
used to calculate the number of certificates
attributable to each solar system.
Up until 30 June 2012, the following applies:
1. For the first 1.5 kW of installed solar energy:
Number of RECs =
1.185 x kW rating of PV x 5 x 15 years.
Electricity retailers
Electricity itself is sold to you, or bought from
you, by an electricity retailer. In most states
you can choose your retailer, although not all
will agree to sell or buy from a solar-powered
generator. It is important to shop around for the
best deal with an electricity retailer, including
buying rates and conditions.
Before signing with a retailer, check all the following:
>> cost of electricity you purchase in cents
per kilowatt hour
>> price they will pay per kWh for electricity you
feed into the grid
So, for 1.5 kW this is:
1.1851 x 1.5 x 5 x 15 = 133.31
= 133 (rounded down)
In July 2009, RECs were worth about $40 so
a 1.5 kW solar system would create RECs
with a value of $5,320.
2. For solar PV systems that are larger than
1.5 kW the additional capacity is credited
with RECs at a lower rate.
Additional RECs =
1.185 x kW rating in excess of 1.5kW x 15
>> penalty clauses, including termination costs
>> billing/payment periods.
page 5 of 6
renewable energy options > solar photovoltaic systems
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Feed-in tariffs
Bushfire safety consideration
A mandatory feed-in tariff is a rate (in cents per
kWh) at which the electricity retailers are obliged
to purchase electricity from your system. Victoria
proposes legislation that requires payment of
60 cents per kWh for electricity exported to
the grid. Check with your installer whether this
is applicable and ensure you have installed a
suitable electricity meter to account for your
exported electricity.
The only bushfire safety issue associated
with installing a PV system arises from roof
penetrations for fixing.
FAQs
Q. What is the typical cost of a gridconnected PV system?
A. Historically systems have cost about
$13,000 for 1 kW before allowances for rebates
and RECs. More recently, lower costs have been
achieved with some installers offering group
buy schemes.
Q. Will the system provide power during
a black out?
A. Most grid-connected solar power systems
do not provide power during a black out. For
safety reasons, when the ‘grid goes down’
your solar PV system must automatically and
immediately turn off.
Q. Do all solar modules perform equally?
A. Differing panels each rated at the same
maximum power should produce the same
maximum power under equal sunlight
conditions. Maximum power is measured in
peak watts (Wp). What varies is the amount
of roof space required for a given power
production. The length of warranty offered is a
good indicator as to how confident you should
be about the product quality.
ENV015 4.01 July 2009
Any gaps greater than 3mm must be sealed and
in higher BAL zones, both unit and supports be
non-combustible.
Further information
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
sustainability.vic.gov.au
www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au
www.yourhome.gov.au
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Renewable energy options
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> solar hot water
Included in this fact sheet:
>> Benefits of solar hot water
>> Choosing the right system
>> Costs and installation
>> Maximising performance
This fact sheet provides information on the
different types of solar hot water systems
available, how they work, and practical issues to
consider when purchasing one for your home.
What are the advantages?
Using the sun’s energy to heat water can reduce
your household hot water bills by more than
60% each year – a saving of $290-600 for the
average family. This could add up to thousands
of dollars saved over the lifetime of your system.
Solar hot water systems also help conserve our
natural resources and the environment, and
reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Solar hot water technology is both sophisticated
and well proven, and works very effectively
in Victoria. Solar water heaters are generally
equipped with gas or electric boosters to ensure
that you are never without hot water.
How does it work?
Solar hot water systems use the sun’s energy to
heat water in much the same way as water in a
hose left on the lawn gets hot on a sunny day.
An auxiliary heater is included in all solar hot
water systems to boost the water temperature
on days when solar energy may be insufficient
to meet all your hot water requirements. Solar
hot water manufacturers produce models with
boosters that may run on electricity, gas or solid
fuel, e.g. a wood heater or stove.
The main parts of a solar hot water system are
the water storage tank and the solar collectors
that absorb heat from the sun.
There are two typical types of solar collectors
available:
Flat Plate Collectors consist of a blackened
metal absorber plate within a glazed and
insulated metal box (flat-plate collector). Pipes
attached to the absorber plate carry liquid that
is heated by the sun. In a direct heating system,
water is heated as it circulates through the flat,
glazed panels. In indirect systems, the sun’s
energy heats a glycol fluid that cannot freeze,
which, in turn, heats the water in the tank.
Evacuated Tube Collectors consist of a series
of long glass cylindrical tubes that contain a
metal pipe that transfers heat into a manifold at
the top of the collector.
Collectors should be positioned on the roof
facing north (no more than 45° east or west
of north) at a tilt angle between 15° and 50°
(standard roof pitch is usually sufficient). If the
roof does not face north, a mounting frame can
often be used to position the solar collector for
maximum advantage.
The storage tank can be located either on the
roof directly above the collectors or on the
ground (like a conventional hot water system).
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
What systems are available?
Close-coupled thermosyphon
(mains pressure)
heating
element
These systems consist of roof-mounted
solar collectors, combined with a horizontally
mounted storage tank located immediately
above the collectors.
Heated water rises naturally through the solar
collectors and enters the storage tank. When
this happens, cooler water at the base of the
storage tank is forced out and flows down to
the bottom of the collectors. This cycle is
continuously repeated while the sun is shining.
Most commercially available solar hot water
systems employ this cycle, commonly referred
to as ‘thermosyphon flow’ (see Figure 1).
storage tank booster (gas or electric)
hot water
to house
hot water
from collector
to tank
transparent
cover
mains
inlet
absorber
plate
insulated
storage
tank in roof
cold water
inlet
hot water
to house
Figure 2: Remote thermosyphon system
(constant [low] pressure)
Forced circulation system
(mains pressure pumped)
With a forced circulation system, the tank is
located below the level of the collectors, usually
at ground level. Water must therefore be
pumped from the tank to the collectors and back
by a thermostatically controlled pump. These
pumps are not expensive to run, costing about
$10 a year. This system can be used when the
roof structure is not strong enough to support
the weight of a water tank. (see Figure 3).
dump
valve
collector cases
collectors
mounted
on roof
Figure 1: Close-coupled thermosyphon
(mains pressure)
return
hot
water
Remote thermosyphon system
(constant [low] pressure)
booster
element
This system works on the same principle as the
close-coupled thermosyphon system, except
that the storage tank is located within the roof
space and supplies hot water by constant
rather than mains pressure. The base of the
tank must be situated at least 300 mm above
the collectors (see Figure 2). This type of system
can often use a wood heater as a booster.
renewable energy options > solar hot water
collectors
mounted
on roof
300 mm
minimum
hot water
outlet
pump
cold
water
inlet
storage tank
mounted at
floor level
Figure 3: Forced circulation system
Continuous flow gas-boosted systems
A continuous flow gas water heater designed to
cope with varying (and often quite high) input
temperatures can also be used as a solar hot
water booster. In this configuration, the solar hot
page 2 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
water heater preheats the water and the gas
heater is only used if the water temperature
becomes too low. This minimises the amount of
gas required to heat the water and maximises
the contribution from the sun (see Figure 4).
solar heated
water
cold water
mains inlet
hot water
outlet
Instantaneous
gas water
heater
Figure 4: Instantaneous gas water heater connected
to a close-coupled solar preheater
Heat pumps
Heat pumps are another type of hot water
system that run efficiently on electricity. These
systems use a refrigerant gas and a compressor
to extract heat from the surrounding air. This
is sometimes called ‘air source’ heat. The gas
then moves along to a coil that is wrapped
around the hot water tank where it condenses
and gives off the heat it has absorbed to the
water in the tank.
Heat pumps are included as electric-boosted
solar water heaters as they require similar
amounts of electricity to operate.
What type of tank should I purchase?
Storage tanks for solar hot water systems are
generally made from stainless steel, copper
(low pressure systems only), or mild steel with a
coating of vitreous enamel (mains pressure).
Vitreous enamel-lined tanks have a ‘sacrificial
anode’ that is designed to reduce corrosion of
the tank. These anodes require periodic checking
and replacement every 5-7 years on average.
page 3 of 6
The life expectancies of storage tanks are
often reflected by the length of the warranty
period offered. Check this with the manufacturer
or supplier.
Frost protection
It is important in cold colder climates to ensure
that your solar how water system has a form of
frost protection.
1. Passive forms of protection include use of an
indirect heating system (some form of heat
exchanger) or frost protection valves. Frost
protection valves are cheaper but less reliable
than using a heat exchanger.
Indirect heating systems are recommended
for areas that are susceptible to frost. In this
kind of system, water that has been treated
with some form of anti-freeze (such as glycol)
is run through the collectors. The heat that
is absorbed from the sun into the anti-freeze
is transferred by the heat exchanger into the
water in the storage tank. The anti-freeze
treated water is kept totally separate from any
water used for domestic purposes.
2. Active systems use pumps to circulate water
through the collectors when the temperature
drops below a certain point. In areas where
the power supply is unreliable, this could be
a risky option, as the pump will not operate if
the electricity supply is off.
What size system will I need?
The following table can be used as a guide to
choosing the right size of solar hot water system
for your needs, however you should consult
your supplier for specific size recommendations.
Number of
persons
served
Capacity
(litres)
Collector area
(m2)
1-2
160-200
2
3-4
300-370
4
5-6
440
6
renewable energy options > solar hot water
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
How much does it cost?
FAQs
Solar water systems vary in price depending on
the model, tank size and number of panels. It
is often possible to negotiate discounts when
purchasing solar hot water systems.
Will I get power and hot water from
this system?
A list of accredited solar water heaters and
recommended retail prices is available on
our website: resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
for_households_3381.html or contact
[email protected] for more
information.
Does solar hot water work in cooler climates?
Is it a good investment?
In terms of the environment and reduction of
greenhouse gas pollution, solar hot water is an
excellent investment and should be considered.
However, to determine whether or not solar
hot water is a good financial investment, the
following factors need to be considered:
>> geographic location
No. Solar hot water panels only heat water that
is stored in a tank.
Yes. In fact, most solar water heating in Victoria
is done in the cooler southern regions. Solar
collectors work at lower air temperatures
because evacuated tube collector types can be
more suited to cold climates.
Will I run out of hot water?
No. Solar hot water systems are designed
to store larger amounts of hot water than
conventional systems. A correctly sized system
will have hot water left over from the previous
day. If you have a few cloudy days in a row, the
thermostat will turn the booster on to bring the
water up to temperature.
>> hot water usage
>> system performance
Is it a good investment?
>> type and cost of system
A new solar hot water system always pays back
the difference in cost over the life of the system.
The chart below shows the typical running costs
for LPG, solar with electric boost, and electric
heat pump hot water systems;
>> type of auxiliary heating used.
For an additional investment of around $2,000
above the price of a conventional hot water
system, a solar hot water system in Melbourne
will pay for itself in approximately four to ten
years at today’s gas and electricity tariffs.
This period will be shortened if tariffs rise.
Government commitments to reduce Australia’s
green house gas emissions means that large
financial subsidies are available.
Solar hot water rebates
The Victorian Government offers rebates of up to
$1,600 for people replacing non-electric hot water
heaters with gas boosted solar hot water systems.
For more information contact Sustainability
Victoria’s information line on 1300 363 744.
renewable energy options > solar hot water
Annual Running Cost
Annual running cost
for 200 litres per day
Standard electric HWS
$745 to $755
LPG hot water
$920 to $1,090
Natural Gas 5-Star HWS
$225 to $235
Electric heat pump HWS
$185 to $315
Solar – electric boost
Solar – LPG boost
Solar Natural Gas Boost
$85 to $315
$115 to $465
$35 to $120
page 4 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Not included in these calculations is the fact
that solar hot water systems last longer than
conventional hot water systems (15-20 years).
A solar hot water system can also add value to
your home.
A short payback period can be expected in
areas with higher levels of solar radiation
(e.g. north of the Great Dividing Range) or
where the alternative fuel source is more
expensive (e.g. LPG).
Important considerations
To get the most out of your solar hot water
system, make sure:
>> you carefully read the warranty details (check
that it includes frost protection)
>> your roof’s structural strength is assessed (by
the installer) to ensure that it can support the
weight of the system
>> solar collectors will not be shaded by trees or
nearby buildings
>> the storage tank and solar collectors are
as close together as possible to reduce the
length of the connecting pipes (in constant
pressure and pumped systems)
>> all pipes are well insulated
>> some form of frost protection is included
>> all plumbing is carried out by a licensed
plumber. The plumber will issue a certificate
of compliance
>> all electrical work for the installation of
electrical heating elements and electric
pumps is carried out by a registered electrical
contractor. The contractor will issue a
certificate of electrical safety
>> if your water quality is poor, then you need
to be aware that the system’s warranty may
be affected.
page 5 of 6
renewable energy options > solar hot water
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Tips for better performance
Bushfire safety considerations
The most effective way to obtain maximum
performance from your solar hot water system is
to make efficient use of hot water in your home.
Things you can do include:
The only bushfire safety issues associated
with installing solar hot water systems arise
where they are not sitting flush on the roof.
>> when possible, do jobs requiring hot water
early in the day. This allows the water
remaining in the tank to be reheated by the
sun and reduces the auxiliary heating period
>> keep the booster thermostat at its
recommended setting of 60°C. Remember,
the lower the thermostat setting, the less
energy used to supplement solar heating
>> install your system as close as possible to
the kitchen, bathroom and laundry, which are
the main hot water draw-off points around
the home. If this is not possible, install it close
to the kitchen
>> conserve hot water by using it efficiently
>> fit a low flow showerhead. Showering
accounts for over 30% of hot water usage in
the home. This can be dramatically reduced
by fitting a low flow showerhead, or a flow
restrictor to an existing showerhead
>> make sure you follow the manufacturer’s
recommendations for the maintenance of
your solar hot water system.
ENV015 4.02 July 2009
In these cases, any gaps greater than
3mm must be sealed and in higher BAL
zones, both units and supports must be fully
non-combustible.
Further information
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
sustainability.vic.gov.au
www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au
www.greenplumbers.com.au
www.yourhome.gov.au
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Water
Water
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> water efficiency
Included in this fact sheet:
>> Water efficiency around the home
>> How much can you save?
>> Efficient appliances
>> Water recycling
>> Water efficient gardening
This fact sheet presents background information
relating to water – how we use it, why we need
to save it and what we can do to minimise its
use around the home. Here, you’ll also find
useful tips on smart water planning and advice
on keeping up to date with the latest water
saving rules.
Where can I save water around
the home?
As seen in the chart below, there are many
areas where we use significant amounts of
water around the home. Inside a typical house,
showers, clothes washing machines and toilets
account for more than 60% of the total water
used. The amount used in the garden varies
greatly depending on the size and type of
garden and the time of year.
Why save water?
Water is essential to our everyday lives: we use
it for drinking, washing and watering – the very
basic human needs. Our communities thrive on
it, our economy relies on it, and our environment
depends on it.
In Victoria, our water supplies are facing the
growing challenges of climate change – less
rainfall, hotter days, changing rain patterns and
reduced stream flows. These factors, combined
with an increasing population, have put stress
on our water supply, leading to water restrictions
in many areas.
By reducing our water use, every individual
can contribute to saving water so that future
generations can thrive as we do today. More
immediately, saving water also saves you
money on your water usage and often your
energy bill too.
Figure 1: Typical breakdown of indoor water use in a
new four bedroom home with a garden
Savings in water use can be achieved across all
activities in the home. Focus on the largest uses
first (showers, toilets, clothes washing machines
and gardens) as these will realise the biggest
gains. Remember, it is much easier and usually
cheaper to integrate improvements into new
buildings and renovations than to retrofit at a
later date.
Look for synergies across the home too. For
example, you can reuse greywater from the
bathroom and laundry on the garden.
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
How much water could I save
with smart water planning?
How can I save water?
On average, a family of four in a new house with
a garden on a typical development block (600
square metres) will use around 240,000 litres
of water a year. This is enough to fill nearly five
typical sized swimming pools. Figure 2 below
shows potential water savings of around 34,000
litres or 17% from combining three simple
efficiency measures: 4 star toilets, a hot water
recirculator and a front loading washing machine.
To effectively reduce how much water you use,
you will need to do a variety of things, including:
>> change your habits and behaviour to avoid
using water – cutting your shower time down
to four minutes, for example
>> buy appliances and fittings that are more
water efficient
>> reuse as much water as possible and replace
potable water with an alternative water
source where appropriate
Efficient Case kl/yr
kl/yr saved
% of Base Case saved
Base Case kl/yr
Washing
Machine (a)
45.1
26.3
18.8
42%
Laundry taps
8.1
8.1
0.0
0%
Toilets (b)
27.6
23.0
4.6
17%
Showers (c)
65.3
55.1
10.2
16%
Baths
12.5
12.5
0.0
0%
Basin taps
16.8
16.8
0.0
0%
Kitchen taps
15.6
15.6
0.0
0%
>> wait until you have a full load for your
washing machine or select a lower water
level for smaller wash loads
Dishwasher
4.5
4.5
0.0
0%
>> use the dishwasher only when it’s full
All indoor
195.5
161.9
33.6
17%
Garden
45.0
45.0
0.0
0%
>> don’t rinse your dishes if they are to go into
the dishwasher
Total
240.5
206.9
33.6
14%
Figure 2 - Examples of savings from more
efficient water use
>> design a water efficient garden
>> design your house to promote water efficiency.
Change your habits
The easiest way to save water is through
changing the way you use water. This can often
be done at little or no cost and once it becomes
a habit, it is long lasting. For example:
>> take shorter showers
>> take a shower instead of a bath
>> brush your teeth without running water
>> use the partial flush button on your toilet
>> install a pool cover for swimming pools
and spas.
(a) Efficient case = front loader instead of a top loader
(b) Efficient case = 4.5/3 litre flush instead of 6/3 litre flush
(c) Efficient case = installation of a hot water recirculator
water > water efficiency
page 2 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Buy water efficient appliances
There are many appliances on the market
today that offer water efficient alternatives –
some examples of which are offered in the list
below. For more information, see Sustainability
Victoria’s Water Efficient Appliances fact sheet
and the links at the end of this fact sheet.
>> Low flow showerheads
>> Efficient water heating systems
>> Hot water recirculation systems
>> 3–star water rated taps
>> Dual flush toilets
>> Waterless toilets
>> Water efficient front loader washing
machines instead of top loaders
>> Water efficient dishwashers
>> Drip irrigation systems
Labels display from 1 to 6 stars – the more
stars, the more water efficient the product.
Some products may also be labelled with a
‘Zero Star Rated’ label, which indicates that the
product is either not water efficient or does not
meet basic performance requirements.
Water recycling and reuse
The water supplied through a mains system has
been treated to a very high standard to ensure
it is safe to drink. However, many of the uses
around the home, in particular toilet flushing and
garden watering do not need such high quality
water. Significant reductions in drinking water
use can be made when the water used is ‘fit for
the purpose’ required.
In Victoria the most common alternatives to
drinking water are:
>> Garden irrigation timers
>> rainwater collected off roofs and stored
in tanks
Because it can be confusing to work out
which particular appliance model is more
water efficient, the Water Efficiency Labelling
and Standards (WELS) Scheme has been
developed. This rating scheme applies
mandatory water efficiency labelling and
minimum performance standards to household
water-using products. It is mandatory across
Australia for showers, clothes washing
machines, dishwashers, toilets and urinals,
as well as taps.
>> class A recycled water via a third or
dual pipe system
The WELS Rating label on each appliance
includes:
>> a star rating that gives a quick comparative
assessment of the model’s water efficiency
>> treated or untreated greywater
>> stormwater and dam water
>> bore water.
Whatever alternative water source you are
going to use, be sure to seek advice from your
local water corporation, nursery or appliance
supplier to ensure it can be used for the desired
purpose. Figure 3 overleaf is a good guide for
the use of some alternative water sources. (Bore
water has not been included, as the quality will
vary widely depending on location.)
>> a water consumption figure that provides
an estimate of the water consumption of
the product based on its tested
water consumption.
page 3 of 6
water > water efficiency
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Figure 3 - Use and benefits of alternative water supply options, Class 1 dwellings
Rainwater
Recycled (Class A)
Greywater: untreated
Greywater: treated (c)
Stormwater
End use
Toilet flushing
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Sub-surface landscape irrigation
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Surface landscape irrigation
Yes
Yes
Possible(b)
Yes
Yes
Food crop/vegetable irrigation
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Outdoor uses such as car washing
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Cold supply to clothes washer
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Possible(b)
Swimming pool and spa pools
Yes
No
No
No
Possible(b)
Evaporative coolers, fountains
Yes
Possible(b)
No
No
Possible(b)
Cold water supply to dishwasher
Yes
No
No
No
Possible(b)
Personal washing (hot & cold)
Yes
No
No
No
Possible(b)
Drinking, cooking (hot & cold)
Yes(a)
No
No
No
No
Provides stormwater retention benefits
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
Need for management by the user and regular
drawoff to maintain storage capacity
High
No
High
Med
High
Least
sensitive
Most
sensitive
Consistent with (DSE 2006)
(a) Where a reticulated drinking water supply is available, it is recommended that the supply be used for this purpose
(b) These uses would be subject to controls to manage potential risks
(c) Greywater would need to be treated to minimum standards for certain uses
water > water efficiency
page 4 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
When choosing an alternative water source – in
particular greywater or rainwater – some points
to remember are:
>> the size of your rainwater tank will depend
on what you are going to use the water for,
the roof area available for collecting water
and your household size. For example, if
your tank is for garden use then it will need
to be larger than if it is going to be used
inside the house for toilet flushing. For more
information, see Sustainability Victoria’s
Rainwater Tank fact sheet
>> untreated greywater cannot be stored for
more than 24 hours and should not be used
for growing vegetables. For more information,
see Sustainability Victoria’s Recycled and
Greywater fact sheet
>> install a water efficient irrigation system to
water your garden
>> include an appropriately sized tank in your
garden design
>> use an alternative source of water such as
rainwater, recycled or greywater to irrigate
your garden.
Housing design
Housing design can play an important part in
reducing water use. For example:
>> the orientation of your house and use of
insulation can reduce or even eliminate the
need for air conditioning
>> plan the layout of your home so the water
heater is close to where hot water is used
>> your choice of garden plants is extremely
important. Consult your local nursery for advice.
>> position the plumbing outlets from the
shower and laundry so they are easy to tap
into for greywater
Water efficient garden
>> design the roof to maximise rainwater capture
There are many different actions you can take to
save water in your garden. Your choice of action
will depend on your location, the size and type
of your garden, and the plants you wish to grow.
Some of the things you can do include:
>> provide enough space for an adequately
sized rainwater tank.
>> plant indigenous or drought resistant plants
acclimatised to your area
>> use mulch to prevent water loss
>> fertilise appropriately to encourage
healthy plants
Keeping abreast of water
saving rules
It is vital to have an up-to-date knowledge of
Victoria’s Permanent Water Saving Rules when
you are planning and selecting your watering
system. You can check current water restrictions at
www.ourwater.vic.gov.au
>> introduce shading by planting trees or using
other structures
page 5 of 6
water > water efficiency
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Further information
>> www.ourwater.vic.gov.au
Information on household water use,
Victoria’s Permanent Water Saving
Rules, Waterwise Gardening and other
developments.
>> www.savewater.com.au
Information on suppliers of rainwater tanks,
greywater systems, water efficient irrigation
products, hot water recirculators and other
water saving equipment.
>> www.waterrating.gov.au
Information on the Water Efficiency Labelling
and Standards (WELS) Scheme, including
the water star ratings of clothes washers,
dishwashers, taps, shower heads, toilets,
urinals and flow control valves.
>> www.wsaa.asn.au/smartwatermark/
approved.htm
Information on the Smart Approved
WaterMark, a labelling program for outdoor
water saving products and services.
>> www.epa.vic.gov.au/water/
Guidance on alternative water supplies and
water recycling.
ENV015 5.01 July 2009
>> www.buildingcommission.com.au/www/
html/390-5-star-standard-for-all-new-homes.asp
Information on the water and energy saving
building requirements in the 5 Star Standard
for all new homes.
>> http://conservewater.melbournewater.com.au
Guidance on good household water
conservation practices.
>> www.greenplumbers.com.au
Information on licensed GreenPlumbers®
businesses that can provide services
including environmentally sustainable
plumbing, construction work, gas work,
heating and cooling work or products using
certified GreenPlumbers®.
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Water
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> water efficient appliances
Included in this fact sheet:
>> Why buy water efficient appliances?
>> How to use labelling to choose
the most efficient appliances
>> What sorts of appliances
use the most water?
This rating scheme applies mandatory water
efficiency labelling and minimum performance
standards to household products that use
water. In Australia, it is mandatory for showers,
clothes washing machines, dishwashers, toilets,
urinals and taps.
>> Where can I find more information?
The WELS Water Rating label on each
appliance includes:
This fact sheet explains the many benefits that
water efficient appliances can offer, together
with handy tips for choosing the right appliances
for your home.
>> a star rating that gives a quick comparative
assessment of the model’s water efficiency
Why buy water efficient appliances?
Household appliances are responsible for a
significant amount of water used around our
houses. Water efficient appliances not only
reduce the amount of water used, they also help
reduce water bills and are often more energy
efficient, which means lower energy bills as well.
In addition, it is a Government requirement
that all new homes built in Victoria include
water saving measures such as water efficient
showers and taps. Water efficient appliances
can be more expensive initially, but will cost
less to run and save money on your water and
energy bills.
How do I know which appliances
to buy?
Ultimately, the appliances you choose to buy
will depend on a range of factors including cost,
availability, personal preference and the size of
your house and your family.
The national Water Efficiency Labelling and
Standards (WELS) Scheme has been developed
to help you factor in the water efficiency of the
appliance when making your choice.
>> a water consumption figure that provides
an estimate of the water consumption
of the product based on its tested
water consumption.
Labels display from 1 to 6 stars – the more
stars, the more water efficient the product.
Some products may also be labelled with a
‘Zero Star Rated’ label, which indicates that the
product is either not water efficient or does not
meet basic performance requirements.
What appliances to buy?
Your biggest savings will come from focusing on
appliances that use the most water. As shown
in Figure 1 overleaf, around 34% of indoor water
is used in showers and 23% in clothes washing
machines. This is followed by toilets, bathroom
and kitchen taps, the bath and laundry taps.
The efficiency of appliances has been increasing
in recent times. For example, many of the new
dishwashers use less water than washing up
by hand when you program them efficiently.
It is also worth noting that showers also use
50% of all the household hot water so reducing
shower times will also reduce hot water use and
associated bills.
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Clothes washing machines
The two main types of washing machines are
front loaders and top loaders. Front loaders use
less water because the clothes are tumbled
through a pool of water at the bottom of a drum.
On average, they use about half as much water
as a top loader for the same wash load. This
can result in savings of around 20,000 litres of
water each year for a family of four.
Figure 1 - Typical breakdown of indoor water use in
a new 4-person home with garden
Showers
All shower heads installed in new homes with a
mains water supply must have a maximum flow
rate between 7.5 and 9 litres per minute under
standard test conditions. This corresponds
to a WELS rating of 3 stars. The use of low
flow showerheads and shorter showers can
deliver significant savings in both water and
energy usage.
Toilets
All toilets fitted into new homes where the property
is connected to the mains drinking water supply
must have both a full and partial flush option
(i.e. dual flush). Most commonly, toilets will be 6/3
meaning they have a 6-litre full flush and a 3-litre
partial flush. This gives them an average flush
volume of 3.6 litres and a 3 star WELS rating.
However, some manufacturers have introduced
4.5/3-litre dual flush toilets, with an average flush
volume of 3.3 litres. This is a 4 star WELS rating
and works just as well as the 6/3 type. They are
cost competitive and can save around 5,000
litres of water per year in a home occupied by
four people.
water > water efficient appliances
The WELS ratings are a good guide when
determining which machine to buy. Most water
efficient clothes washing machines on the market
have at least a 4-star WELS rating. Issues to
consider when making your choice include:
>> the capacity of the machine – many
machines let you select a lower water level
for a smaller wash load, but the amount of
water used per kilogram of clothes increases
if the machine is not fully loaded. It is more
water and energy efficient to choose the right
sized machine and to only wash full loads
>> the wash cycle used to determine the star
rating – make sure it is the cycle you are
most likely to use
>> does the machine heat its own water or
is it connected to the hot water system?
Machines that heat their own water will use
more energy. However, this is not a problem
if you choose to wash only in cold water
>> is the machine going to be connected to the
mains drinking water supply or an alternative
water source such as rainwater, third pipe
recycled water or bore water? Advice should
be sought from the manufacturer as some
water sources can cause corrosion.
Taps
All taps installed in bathrooms, kitchen and
laundries of new homes connected to a mains
water supply must have a maximum flow rate
of between 7.5 and 9 litres per minute. This
corresponds to a 3-star WELS rating.
page 2 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Although there are many taps with star ratings
above 3, keep in mind that:
>> the lower flow rate is no advantage for taps
used to fill sinks or baths because they use
the same volume of water and it simply takes
longer to fill
>> very low flow rates may not activate some
instantaneous gas water heaters and you
may not get any hot water from the tap.
This is not such a problem if you plan to
have a storage water heater.
Dishwashers
Most new dishwashers are very water efficient
and use between 15 and 20 litres per cycle
(two to three sinks full of water). Running a
water efficient dishwasher once a day can use
around the same amount of water as washing
and rinsing dishes by hand in the sink.
The key to using a dishwasher efficiently is to
run it only when it is full. A partial load uses
exactly the same amount of water as a full load.
When choosing a dishwasher, use the WELS
stars as a guide, but ensure that the cycle used
to determine the WELS rating is the same cycle
as you are most likely to use.
Cost, energy use, noise level and size are other
factors that need to be considered. There is a
range of models designed for a variety of family
sizes and choosing the one most appropriate for
you will result in both energy and water savings.
The most water efficient dishwashers on the
market have a WELS of at least 3.5 stars.
It is recommended that all dishwashers should
use mains water drinking supply where available.
If there is not a mains connection and the
only water available is tank or bore water, we
recommend that you seek advice from the supplier
as some water sources can cause corrosion.
page 3 of 6
Hot water heaters
Most of the water loss associated with hot water
heaters is from water wasted while waiting for
the hot water to reach the tap. The delay varies
with the type of water heater, the distance to
the outlet and the pattern of draw-offs, but it’s
usually from 15 seconds to three minutes.
On average, this wastes between 2-24 litres
of water each time the hot tap is turned on.
There are a number of options available to
reduce this loss:
>> plan the layout of your home so that the
water heater is closer to where hot water is
used. If your bathroom is a long way from
the main water heater, consider installing a
separate bathroom water heater
>> consider a circulation pump that circulates
the hot water during peak periods of water
use in the morning and at night. Hot water
flows past every hot tap, so there is no
waiting time when one is turned on. The
circulating pump is controlled by a time clock
and a temperature switch so the pump only
operates if the water in the loop has cooled
>> consider ‘conscious’ or ‘on demand’ recirculators that are activated by a button on
a control panel next to the shower or tap.
If the water is still hot from the last use, a
light indicates that hot water is available at
the tap. If the water in the loop has cooled,
the pump circulates water by a return loop
through the water heater to bring it up to
temperature
>> use an automatic diversion of subtemperature water into the cold water supply
so that water only comes out of the hot tap
when it reaches the desired temperature.
The diverted water can go back into the
mains cold supply if the system allows it, or
to flexible bladders or a rainwater tank. Some
designs work by differences in pressure while
others require pumps.
water > water efficient appliances
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Most of these options require pumps and
possibly temperature control, and some will need
storage tanks. Several manufacturers offer on
demand re-circulators designed to work with the
electronic controls of their gas water heaters.
These add about $800 to the initial cost if they
are installed when you are building your home.
In Victoria, water heaters are the second highest
home energy users after space heating, so it’s
important to think carefully about how you are
going to heat your water. For more information
on the type of heater to buy and different energy
sources, please see the links at the end of this
fact sheet.
Evaporative coolers
In many parts of Victoria, a well designed home
will stay cool with good orientation, window
shading and natural ventilation or ceiling fans.
This vastly reduces the demand for cooling.
For homes that do need further cooling, there is
a choice between refrigerated air conditioning
and evaporative cooling. Refrigerated air
conditioners tend to use more energy than
evaporative, but do not need water to run.
Evaporative coolers cool the air by passing it
through water-saturated filters and work best
in hot, dry conditions when humidity is low.
But roof mounted evaporative coolers must
be enclosed in perforated metal mesh in lower
bushfire zones. They are not permitted in higher
BAL zones.
water > water efficient appliances
Evaporative coolers vary in how much water
they ‘bleed’ or send to waste while they are
operating. They have a reservoir or sump that
needs to be refilled as water evaporates, and as
it is ‘bled off’ to maintain water quality. In many
systems, the sump is emptied completely at the
end of an operating cycle, which can last for
several days.
To reduce the amount of water wasted, the
following issues should be considered:
>> choose a system with water quality
conditioning and sensor control, where the
bleed and dump rate are determined by the
water quality rather than a set time period. In
Melbourne, this can reduce water loss from
around 10,000 litres to 6,000 litres
>> choose a system with an adjustable bleed
valve set by the installer to reflect local water
quality. Often the installer sets the period
between dumps at higher bleed rates and
more frequent dumps to minimise problems,
rather than setting to optimise local
conditions
>> optimise the size of the unit and sump to suit
your house size and usage patterns
>> capture the bleed water for garden use; if
you choose to do this, first seek advice on
salt tolerant plants from your local nursery.
page 4 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Swimming pools and spas
Evaporation causes most of the water loss from
outdoor pools and spas. The evaporation rate
depends on exposure to sun and wind.
You can reduce evaporation from a swimming
pool or spa by:
>> installing a pool or spa cover to keep dust and
leaves out, cut down on filter and chemical
use and retain heat (helping to extend the
swimming season by up to three months)
Bushfire safety notes
The only bushfire safety issue relating to
water efficient appliances arises from the use
of roof-mounted evaporative coolers.
In lower BAL zones, these covers must be
enclosed in perforated metal mesh. They are not
permitted in higher BAL zones.
Swimming pools may provide a useful Static Water
Supply (SWS) at times of bushfire emergency.
>> installing solid fencing and planting on the
side of the prevailing wind
>> installing shade cloth or permanent structures
over part of the pool and spa.
Plan your pool’s shape for easy covering. A more
complex shape is more expensive to cover and
harder to roll and unroll.
Motor-driven rollers are available and can be
located underwater so there is no intrusion into
the above-pool area at all. These systems are
more expensive but have safety advantages.
page 5 of 6
water > water efficient appliances
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Further information
>> www.ourwater.vic.gov.au
Information on household water use,
Victoria’s Permanent Water Saving
Rules, Waterwise gardening and
other developments.
>> www.savewater.com.au
Information on suppliers of rainwater tanks,
greywater systems, water efficient irrigation
products, hot water re-circulators and other
water saving equipment.
>> www.waterrating.gov.au
Information on the Water Efficiency Labelling
and Standards (WELS) Scheme, including
the Water Rating star ratings of clothes
washers, dishwashers, taps, shower heads,
toilets, urinals and flow control valves.
>> http://conservewater.melbournewater.com.au
Guidance on good household water
conservation practices.
>> www.greenplumbers.com.au
Information on licensed GreenPlumbers®
businesses that can provide services
including environmentally sustainable
plumbing, construction work, gas work,
heating and cooling work or products using
certified GreenPlumbers®.
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
ENV015 5.02 July 2009
Water
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> recycled water and greywater
Included in this fact sheet:
What can I use it for?
>> What is recycled and grey water?
Recycled water
>> What can I use recycled
and grey water for?
>> What are the benefits of recycled
water and greywater?
>> Where can I find out more?
This fact sheet provides an introduction to
recycled water and greywater, and explains
how it can be used around your home and how
it can help you cut your water usage and protect
the environment.
What is the difference between
recycled water and greywater?
Recycled water
Recycled water is wastewater that has been
treated to a high standard at a treatment plant
and then distributed in separate pipes from the
mains water supply. This is known as a third
pipe or a dual-pipe system. A recycled water
system can be easily distinguished from a
drinking water system as purple coloured pipes
and fittings are used.
Recycled water supplied through a third pipe
system has been treated to Class A standard to
minimise any health risks. It is most commonly
used for toilet flushing and garden watering, but
can also be used for other purposes as shown
in Figure 1 overleaf.
We recommend that you seek advice from your
water authority and appliance manufacturer
before using recycled water in your clothes
washing machine or evaporative cooler. We also
recommend that you approach your local nursery
for advice on suitable plants for your garden if you
plan on watering it with recycled water.
The taps and fittings are purple to ensure that
the recycled water supply is not confused with
the drinking water supply. Recycled water taps
also have removable handles to make sure
that children don’t come into contact with
recycled water or drink it while they are playing
in the garden.
Recycled water is not suitable for drinking.
However, it can be used for toilet flushing and
garden watering.
A third pipe recycled water supply provides a
constant source of water that usually is slightly
cheaper than drinking water. It is metered
separately from your drinking water by your local
water corporation.
Greywater
Untreated greywater
Greywater is the wastewater from clothes
washing machines, showers and taps from most
areas within the house, except kitchens and
toilets. It is generally reused on the same property.
The simplest way to use greywater is to install
a diverter that captures water directly from
sources such as the clothes washing machine,
shower or bath for use on the garden. This
untreated greywater must be used within 24
hours because of the risk of bacterial growth.
Greywater is not suitable for drinking. However, it
can be used for toilet flushing and garden watering.
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Some systems will include a filtering system
and a safety mechanism so that if the outlet
pipe gets blocked, a diverter will automatically
switch to discharge the greywater to the sewer
or septic tank.
Because it is untreated, this greywater is most
commonly used on the garden and is better
used through a subsurface irrigation system
than a spray irrigation system. This is to
reduce the risk of contact with humans, pets
and sensitive plants. It should not be used
on vegetables and herbs. Contact your local
nursery or the websites listed below for more
advice on suitable plants.
Some things to remember when using
untreated greywater:
>> minimise the potential adverse effects of
greywater on plants by choosing low salt,
liquid detergents – these have much lower
salt levels than powders
>> keep track of what is in the wash –
for example, the wash water from soiled
nappies should not be sent to the garden
>> divert the wash water to the sewer and
reuse the rinse water, which is much less
contaminated.
Capturing greywater from showers and baths is
more difficult because it is necessary to collect
water from taps at floor level and the diverter
cannot be located directly below the sources.
The increased supply may be difficult to absorb
usefully unless you have a very large garden.
Treated greywater
Greywater can also be treated through various
systems to reduce the health risks. Key features
of most treatment systems include:
>> a tank of similar volume to a rainwater tank
and used in much the same way
>> significantly higher costs than a rainwater tank
water > recycled and greywater
>> a regular supply of water, which is not
dependent on rainfall
>> higher plumbing costs – laundry and
bathroom sub-floor wastes must be diverted
to the greywater system, and overflows
diverted to the sewer
>> a treatment unit, controller and pump, all
connected to power.
Once treated, there are no restrictions on using
greywater in the garden as any health risks are
greatly reduced. It is typically suited for the same
purposes as third pipe recycled water as shown
in Figure 1. It is, however, still important to
differentiate between greywater taps and fittings
and those supplying drinking water to avoid
cross contamination and accidental exposure.
The treatment process does not remove salt
and other chemical contaminants so it is still
important to use low salt detergents to minimise
adverse effects on plants.
The cost of a greywater treatment system can
vary depending on the complexity of the system.
Most will also include costs for the ongoing
operation and maintenance of the system.
For more details, consult a local supplier.
What are the benefits of using
recycled or greywater?
Drinking water supplied through the mains
system has been treated to a very high standard
to ensure that it is safe to drink. However, many
uses around the home – particularly toilet flushing
and garden watering – do not need such high
quality water. You can significantly reduce the
amount of drinking water used around your home
by using alternative sources of water that are
‘fit for purpose’. Figure 1 lists the quality of water
appropriate for common household uses. More
information can be found through the links listed
at the end of this fact sheet.
page 2 of 4
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Figure 1 - Use and benefits of alternative water supply options, Class 1 dwellings
Rainwater
Recycled (Class A)
Greywater: untreated
Greywater: treated (c)
Stormwater
End use
Toilet flushing
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Sub-surface landscape irrigation
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Surface landscape irrigation
Yes
Yes
Possible(b)
Yes
Yes
Food crop/vegetable irrigation
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Outdoor uses such as car washing
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Cold supply to clothes washer
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Possible(b)
Swimming pool and spa pools
Yes
No
No
No
Possible(b)
Evaporative coolers, fountains
Yes
Possible(b)
No
No
Possible(b)
Cold water supply to dishwasher
Yes
No
No
No
Possible(b)
Personal washing (hot & cold)
Yes
No
No
No
Possible(b)
Drinking, cooking (hot & cold)
Yes(a)
No
No
No
No
Provides stormwater retention benefits
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
Need for management by the user and regular
drawoff to maintain storage capacity
High
No
High
Med
High
Least
sensitive
Most
sensitive
Consistent with (DSE 2006)
(a) Where a reticulated drinking water supply is available, it is recommended that the supply be used for this purpose
(b) These uses would be subject to controls to manage potential risks
(c) Greywater would need to be treated to minimum standards for certain uses
page 3 of 4
water > recycled and greywater
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Apart from reducing drinking water use, there
are a number of other benefits from using
recycled water and greywater. They include:
>> lower water bills
>> less sewage discharged to the oceans
and rivers
>> an available water supply not subject
to water restrictions
>> the ability to maintain your garden through
low rain periods.
Bushfire safety considerations
There are no bushfire safety issues associated
with recycled water and greywater.
However, gardens and plants with higher
moisture levels (from recycled water or
greywater) will better resist bushfire attack.
Further information
>> www.ourwater.vic.gov.au
Information on household water use,
Victoria’s Permanent Water Saving
Rules, Waterwise gardening and
other developments.
>> www.savewater.com.au
Information on suppliers of rainwater tanks,
greywater systems, water efficient irrigation
products, hot water re-circulators and other
water saving equipment.
>> www.epa.vic.gov.au/water/
Guidance on alternative water supplies and
water recycling.
>> www.pic.vic.gov.au
Information on plumbing requirements for
household water recycling and rainwater
collection systems.
>> www.greenplumbers.com.au
List of licensed GreenPlumbers® businesses
that can provide services including
environmentally sustainable plumbing,
construction work, gas work, heating and
cooling work or products using certified
GreenPlumbers®
ENV015 5.03 July 2009
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Water
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> rain water tanks
Included in this fact sheet:
Rainwater for drinking
>> Why put in a rainwater tank?
Where a property can be connected to the mains
drinking water supply, it is not recommended that
rainwater be used for drinking. If it is not carefully
managed, rainwater can contain contaminants
washed off roofs and fittings (such as bird
droppings and organic material).
>> What can rainwater be used for?
>> How do I know what size tank I need?
>> How do I know how much water
I can harvest?
>> Installation
>> Maximising tank performance
Why put in a rainwater tank?
However, where a mains water connection is not
available, rainwater can successfully be used for
drinking provided a few simple steps are taken:
Collecting rainwater from your roof allows you to
reduce your drinking water use and can provide
you with additional water for use around the
home in times of drought, particularly in
the garden.
>> maximise tank size to provide adequate
volume and detention time. It may be more
feasible to install a series of smaller tanks
than one large tank
It will also reduce the amount of runoff from
your property and help to protect our rivers
and streams.
>> install a ‘first flush’ diverter and maintain
it regularly. This diverts the first flow of a
rain event away from the tank preventing
contamination by debris and dirt from
the roof and pipes. This is particularly
important if your collection system includes
a ‘U’ bend in the pipes where water sits in
between rain events
What can rainwater be used for?
Rainwater can safely be used for most purposes
around the house including toilet flushing,
clothes washing, evaporative coolers and
gardening, including growing food crops. It can
even be used in some hot water heaters though
it is recommended to check with the supplier.
When the tank is connected to the house,
special back flow prevention valves are installed
so that if the tanks supply runs out it can be
switched to mains water supply.
One big advantage of installing a rainwater
tank is that in times of water restrictions it can
be used to maintain gardens, wash cars and
windows and top up pools.
>> regularly inspect gutters and clean gutters
of dirt and debris
>> ensure your roof collection area does not
contain lead-based paints, bitumen or tar
coatings, treated timbers or other potential
sources of contamination.
>> ensure your tank is covered and inflows and
outlets are screened to stop vermin and
insects getting in
>> ensure your tank is desludged every few
years (through an inspection hatch that is
secured to prevent child access).
For more information, please contact your local
council or the following site: http://www.health.
vic.gov.au/environment/water/tanks.htm
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
How do I know what size tank
I need?
There are some general rules of thumb you can
use as a guide to help determine the size of the
rainwater tank that best suits your situation:
1. Rainfall intensity and frequency in your area
– you can check this on the extensive rainfall
data on the Bureau of Meteorology’s website:
www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages
2. Your home’s roof catchment area and the
percentage of this area that can be used to
collect water.
3. The end use of the water – how much water
you’ll be using, what you’ll be using it for and
how reliable you need the supply to be.
4. Available space to install the tank.
5. How much you are prepared to spend.
For example: a house in the Melbourne rainfall
area with a rainwater tank of 2,000 litres fed
from 50 square metres of roof and connected
to the toilets would save about 28,000 litres of
mains water per year. This would fully use the
tank’s collection and storage ability.
A larger tank of 4,500 litres, fed from 100 square
metres of roof would have the capacity to
supply the washing machine as well, but not the
garden. The mains water saving would nearly
double to 56,000 litres a year.
water > rain water tanks
To harvest the maximum amount of water, the
tank needs to be sized so there is space in the
tank whenever it rains. Constant use within the
house (for example, toilet flushing and clothes
washing) reduces the level in the tank so there is
storage capacity for new rainfall events.
If the tank’s primary purpose is to supply water
for the garden, then it will need to be larger as
garden watering tends to be more seasonal and
intermittent and the water may need to be stored
for longer. This helps to provide enough water for
the garden through the hot summer months.
It is worth noting that if the tank is being installed
to meet the 5-star building standards then, as a
minimum, it must have a storage capacity of at
least 2,000 litres and drain a roof area of at
least 50 square metres and be connected to
internal toilets.
Calculating the exact tank size you will need to
meet your needs can be complicated, because
how often and how heavily it rains varies from
place to place in Victoria. For more assistance,
we recommend you seek expert advice from
your local water authority, licensed plumber
or rainwater tank retailer. Remember to check
with your local council to clarify the rules and
regulations for installing and using rainwater tanks.
page 2 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
How do I know how much water
I can harvest?
The amount of water you can harvest can be
calculated from the size of the catchment area
(m2), the annual rainfall (mm) and the catchment
efficiency (%). The catchment efficiency takes
into account yield reduction due to surface
saturation and evaporation, and for most of
Victoria is around 85%.
Annual yield (L) =annual rainfall (mm) x
catchment area (m2) x catchment efficiency (%).
For example, if the average annual rainfall is
600 mm and the roof area is 250 m2, then the
potential annual yield will be:
600 x 250 x 0.85= 127,500 L.
It’s important when you calculate the potential
yield of rainwater from your roof that you are
aware of the factors mentioned above, including
usage patterns and the amount of roof area
connected to the tank.
Installation
A licensed plumber must install the rainwater
tank if it is to be connected to the internal
plumbing of the house. This is to ensure there
is no opportunity for cross contamination of
the drinking water supply. It is also mandatory
to install:
>> a system to bring backup mains water to
the toilets if the tank runs dry
>> a backflow prevention device to prevent
rainwater entering the reticulated water supply.
We also recommend that you install a first flush
diversion device so that leaves and roof pollution
are not washed into the tank.
The cost of tanks, pumps and accessories
varies depending on the materials, volume and
shape of the tank, and how it is installed and
connected. Tanks are available in polyethylene,
concrete or galvanised steel and there are
models for every purpose and application – on
stands, on the ground or below the ground.
In bushfire zones, it’s preferable to use
galvanised/colorbond steel or concrete tanks
to better resist bushfire attack.
The typical cost of a 2,000 litre tank installation
connected to all toilets ranges from $2,000
to $4,000. It’s cheapest to install tanks when
the house is first built. This does not include
the cost of roof guttering and plumbing or any
design and construction costs for arranging the
roof layout to maximise water flow to the tank.
page 3 of 6
water > rain water tanks
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Maximising tank performance
Hints for areas with mains water
connections
To get the most out of your rainwater tank,
maximise the connected roof area and connect
the tank to at least one consistent indoor use,
such as toilet flushing or clothes washing.
The more uses you find for tank water, the
greater quantity you’ll use, saving more mains
water and reducing the chances of tank
overflow.
Toilet flushing and garden watering are the
most obvious uses for rainwater because the
water does not have to be treated to potable
standard. Toilet flushing is considered the better
option because it is a consistent year-round
demand that increases the reliability of water
supply and total water collected for a given
size of tank.
Using the tank water only for garden watering will
often lead to overflowing in the winter months
and the tank running empty during summer.
You also have to consider the space that a tank
will require and how to fit it on your property.
If you have a long, narrow space, such as the
space between your house and a fence, you
may consider a series of smaller tanks.
Hints for areas without mains water
connections
The size of a rainwater tank and the roof
catchment area are even more important
in homes not connected to mains water.
Fortunately, many of these locations offer more
outdoor space for much bigger rainwater tanks.
water > rain water tanks
Households relying entirely on collected
rainwater to meet their water demands will need
to consider a tank with a capacity of 50,000 to
100,000 litres.
Previous experience is always a useful guide and
we recommend asking your neighbours’ advice.
Bushfire protection is an important consideration
in many areas. The Country Fire Authority
recommends rainwater tanks hold at least
22,000 litres of water with a pump that does not
rely on the power supply.
Use for toilet flushing
In most of Victoria’s southern regions where the
average yearly rainfall is around 600 millimetres
or more, a 2,000 litre tank collecting from a
50 square metre roof catchment area (the
current 5-star building specifications) will provide
reliable year-round water for toilet flushing.
In regions with significantly lower annual rainfall,
mainly in Victoria’s north-west, you will need a
larger tank or greater catchment area.
For example, around Mildura where annual
average rainfall is below 300mm, a 5,000 litre
tank collecting from a 225 square metre roof
area is the minimum necessary for year-round
toilet flushing.
The bigger difference between summer and
winter rainfall north of the Great Dividing
Range compared with the rest of Victoria
means that rainfall harvest from tanks is
generally 10 to 20 per cent lower than areas
of comparable rainfall south of the Divide
(Plumbing Industry Commission).
page 4 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
On the garden
The size of your garden and types of plants it
contains affect the amount of water you will
need to keep it growing.
Most people use tank water for garden watering
during summer when rainfall is lowest. This puts
a strain on the tank reserve and means a larger
tank is needed to store more water from
wetter periods.
A garden hose connected to a rainwater tank
has a typical flow rate of 300 to 600 litres per
hour, so we recommend you buy the biggest
tank you can afford that fits on your property.
For areas like Melbourne, Ballarat and Geelong
with at least 600 millimetres average annual
rainfall, we suggest you install a tank of
between 4,000 and 5,000 litres for a reliable
supply to water your garden.
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Determining household water use
Average annual household water consumption
in Victoria is 209,000 litres. But this varies
between regions, with households around
Mildura using about 550,000 litres and those
in South Gippsland around 150,000 litres.
Within regions there are also big variations
because of people’s personal behaviour, what
they do to save water, and the size and type of
their gardens.
Bushfire safety considerations
Non-combustible (metal, concrete) rainwater
tanks are important in all bushfire zones.
These should be of an adequate size with
a pump and fittings that conform to Country
Fire Authority requirements.
Further information
>> www.ourwater.vic.gov.au Information on
household water use, Victoria’s Permanent
Water Saving Rules, Waterwise Gardening
and other developments.
>> www.savewater.com.au Suppliers of
rainwater tanks, greywater systems,
water efficient irrigation products, hot
water re-circulators and other water
saving equipment
>> www.epa.vic.gov.au/water/ Guidance on
alternative water supplies and water recycling.
>> www.pic.vic.gov.au about plumbing
requirements for household water recycling
and rainwater collection systems.
>> http://enhealth.nphp.gov.au/council/pubs/
documents/rainwater_tanks.pdf Guidance
on the use of rainwater tanks, which includes
comprehensive information about household
rainwater tanks, including correct tank sizing.
>> www.greenplumbers.com.au
GreenPlumbers® businesses that can
provide services including environmentally
sustainable plumbing, construction work, gas
work, heating and cooling work or products
using certified GreenPlumbers®.
>> www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/
Information on climate averages for all
regions of Australia from the Bureau of
Meteorology, including rainfall data useful in
helping to estimate the size of the rainwater
tank that will best suit your requirements.
ENV015 5.04 July 2009
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Water
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> water efficient gardens
Included in this fact sheet:
>> Minimising water, maximising amenity
>> Appropriate plant choice
>> Recycling in the garden
>> Mulching and composting
>> Alternative water sources
>> Smart watering methods
How do I make my garden
water efficient?
Gardens can be very personal in design and
function. However, no matter what the design,
there are a number of basic mechanisms that
can be used in all gardens to reduce water use.
They include:
>> using mulch and compost
This fact sheet explains useful steps you can
take to make your garden more water efficient,
and provides a comprehensive list of sources of
further information.
What is a water efficient garden?
Our gardens are an extremely important part
of our homes. Among other things, they
provide visual aesthetics, a connection to our
environment and an extension of our living
space. They are a valuable space for exercise
and relaxation, and contribute towards cooling
our houses.
It is possible to have and maintain a garden
even in times of drought and water restrictions.
It just requires a bit of planning and the
implementation of a few simple measures such
as mulching to help keep your garden healthy
all year round.
A water efficient garden uses the minimum
amount of water to maximise the amenity. Water
efficient gardens vary widely depending on size,
shape, location and personal preferences, but all
contain mechanisms to reduce the reliance on
constant watering.
>> plant selection
>> using alternative water sources
>> effective watering.
You should always consider how these
selections may impact on bushfire safety.
Mulch and compost
Mulch plays a critical role in helping reduce
water loss from the soil. It acts like an insulating
blanket, reducing evaporation by up to 70%.
It also prevents weed growth and keeps the
soil temperature more constant. Your choice
of mulch will depend on your plant selection,
desired look, availability and budget.
But dry mulch too near to your home at the
time of bushfire attack may carry fire right to
your door.
Mulches can be either organic or inorganic and
come in a range of particle sizes, usually graded
course, medium or fine.
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Organic mulch
These mulches have the additional advantage
of adding organic matter to the soil, which
improves its ability to hold water and adds to
the health of your plants. Healthy plants are
more likely to survive times of reduced water
availability. Organic mulches include straw-based
mulches such as pea straw, lucerne, bean and
sugar cane. Because they break down, they will
need to be reapplied seasonally.
Inorganic mulch
These mulches include river pebbles, gravel and
scoria and even recycled concrete. They don’t
break down and can come in a range of colours to
complement the design of your house. And they
can contribute significantly to your bushfire safety.
Tips for good mulching include:
>> do not lay fine mulch more than 3 cm deep
as it can form a hard layer and prevent water
penetration. Medium sized mulches should
be in layers of around 5 cm deep and coarse
mulches around 8 cm deep
>> organic mulching material will break down
and needs to be topped up regularly, but
adds nutrients to the soils
>> mulching before summer will help keep the
garden moist. In colder areas, mulching in
winter will help to keep heat in the soil
>> place watering systems under the mulch to
reduce evaporation and ensure the water is
getting to the roots of the plants
>> do not lay organic mulch close to your home
in a bushfire zone.
The main form of compost available to most
gardeners will come from generating their own
from green waste from around the home. There
is also a wide variety of other products on the
market, ranging from various manures, stable
straw and mushroom compost.
water > water efficient gardens
page 2 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Using green waste in the garden has a number
of advantages:
>> like organic mulch, it adds organic matter to
the soil and improves moisture retention
>> it improves the health of your plants, making
them more resilient to dry periods
>> it recycles green waste generated in and
around the home, reducing landfill.
For more advice on mulch, consult your local
nursery or visit the links at the end of this
fact sheet.
Plant selection
Gardens can be very personal and we often
have very strong views on what we want our
gardens to look like. It is essential, however,
that when designing our gardens, we take into
account how much water is available through
all the seasons.
Plants selection is critical to maintaining a
water efficient garden. Choose plants that are
native to your area or plants acclimatised to
local conditions. These are not only more water
efficient but are also more likely to attract native
birds and insects. Your local nursery will be able
to help you in your choice.
Alternative Water Sources
Gardening does not need high quality water,
such as drinking water from the mains supply.
Alternative water sources not only reduce the
use of drinking water, but also provide the
opportunity to maintain your garden even in
times of drought and water restrictions.
The most common alternative water sources
available for gardening include:
>> rainwater collected off roofs and stored
in tanks
>> Class A recycled water via a third or dual
pipe system
>> treated or untreated greywater
>> stormwater and dam water
>> bore water.
Whatever alternative water source you are going
to use, be sure to seek advice from your local
water corporation and/or nursery to ensure it
can be used for your desired purpose. Figure 1
overleaf offers a good guide to the uses of some
alternative water sources. Bore water has not
been included as the quality will vary widely
depending on location. It is important to note
that some plants will be more sensitive to bore
and recycled waters.
If you wish to grow more exotic plants or those
from other climatic zones, then consider the
following:
>> group plants that need similar watering
patterns together
>> create microclimates within the garden,
utilising features such as shade trees,
building, fences and the garden orientation.
>> consider ground moisture and leaf moisture
in your selection – as both factors can assist
with bushfire safety.
page 3 of 6
water > water efficient gardens
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Figure 1 - Use and benefits of alternative water supply options, Class 1 dwellings
Rainwater
Recycled (Class A)
Greywater: untreated
Greywater: treated (c)
Stormwater
End use
Toilet flushing
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Sub-surface landscape irrigation
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Surface landscape irrigation
Yes
Yes
Possible(b)
Yes
Yes
Food crop/vegetable irrigation
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Outdoor uses such as car washing
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Cold supply to clothes washer
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Possible(b)
Swimming pool and spa pools
Yes
No
No
No
Possible(b)
Evaporative coolers, fountains
Yes
Possible(b)
No
No
Possible(b)
Cold water supply to dishwasher
Yes
No
No
No
Possible(b)
Personal washing (hot & cold)
Yes
No
No
No
Possible(b)
Drinking, cooking (hot & cold)
Yes(a)
No
No
No
No
Provides stormwater retention benefits
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
Need for management by the user and regular
drawoff to maintain storage capacity
High
No
High
Med
High
Least
sensitive
Most
sensitive
Consistent with (DSE 2006)
(a) Where a reticulated drinking water supply is available, it is recommended that the supply be used for this purpose
(b) These uses would be subject to controls to manage potential risks
(c) Greywater would need to be treated to minimum standards for certain uses
water > water efficient gardens
page 4 of 6
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
When choosing an alternative water source for
the garden – in particular, greywater or rainwater
– some points to remember are:
>> If hand watering, use a trigger nozzle.
>> because garden watering is seasonal, the
tank size needs to be large enough to store
the water across winter for use in summer.
Therefore, install the largest tank possible
depending on your budget, land available,
and the roof area you can collect from. For
more information, see Sustainability Victoria’s
Rainwater Tank fact sheet
>> For more sensitive plants and pot plants, cut
the base off a plastic bottle and bury it upside
down next to the plants – any water you pour
in will then go straight to where it matters:
the roots.
>> untreated greywater cannot be stored for
more than 24 hours and should not be used
for growing vegetables. For more information,
see Sustainability Victoria’s Recycled Water
and Greywater fact sheet.
>> Maintain your garden to keep it healthy.
Remove weeds as these compete for water.
When you are planning your watering
system, it is important to be aware of
current water restrictions in Victoria. Visit
www.ourwater.vic.gov.au to find out more.
Can I still have a lawn?
Effective Watering
Lawns play a very important part in many
gardens. They are often attractive, provide
an external living and playing area, and can
contribute to cooling the house. However, they
do use a significant amount of water and can be
very difficult to maintain during hotter months.
No matter what source of water you use,
it needs to be used effectively to minimise
wastage. The best way to do this is to install a
well designed irrigation system.
Consider reducing the size of your lawn or using
an alternative to lawn, such as native grass,
water permeable paving or even synthetic grass.
>> your choice of garden plants is extremely
important. Consult your local nursery for
advice.
Some things to remember:
>> The water should be delivered to the roots
rather than the leaves. Use drip irrigation
rather than spray irrigation and place the
irrigation heads under the mulch.
>> Use good quality fittings to reduce leakage
and breakages.
If you still wish to have a lawn, make sure you
use a drought tolerant variety. Remove weeds
and, when mowing, raise the blades to provide
some protection against evaporation.
Remember, the watering of lawns with mains
drinking water is prohibited under some
water restrictions.
>> An automatic timer prevents systems being
left on by accident and can be turned
on automatically at night to minimise
evaporation and meet some water
restriction requirements.
>> Never water in the middle of the day
>> Many plants are hardier than we expect –
only water when necessary.
page 5 of 6
water > water efficient gardens
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Bushfire safety considerations
Select plants with higher leaf moisture content
for better bushfire resistance.
In rural situations, consider planting suitable
species as bushfire screens to protect buildings
from wind and radiant heat.
Keep your garden hoses protected at times of
bushfire attack for when you most need them to
protect your home.
Further information
>> www.ourwater.vic.gov.au
Information on household water use,
Victoria’s Permanent Water Saving
Rules, Waterwise Gardening and
other developments.
>> www.savewater.com.au
Information on suppliers of rainwater tanks,
greywater systems, water efficient irrigation
products, hot water re-circulators and other
water saving equipment.
>> www.irrigation.org.au
Guide to Good Garden Watering.
>> www.wsaa.asn.au/smartwatermark/
approved.htm
About the Smart Approved WaterMark,
a labelling program for outdoor water
saving products and services.
ENV015 5.05 July 2009
>> www.greenplumbers.com.au
Information on licensed GreenPlumbers®
businesses that can provide services
including environmentally sustainable
plumbing, construction work, gas work,
heating and cooling work or products using
certified GreenPlumbers®.
>> www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/
Information on climate averages for all
regions of Australia from the Bureau of
Meteorology, including rainfall data useful in
helping to estimate the size of the rainwater
tank that will best suit your requirements.
>> Ramsay, C. and Rudolph, L. (2003)
Landscape and Building Design for Bushfire
Areas, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.
>> Peate, N., MacDonald, G. and Talbot, A.
(2006) Grow whatever: over 3,000 Australian
native plants for every situation, special
use and problem area, Bloomings Books,
Melbourne. (Includes CD-ROM).
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Who should I talk to next?
Who should I talk to next?
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
> finding sustainable tradespeople,
professionals and products
Included in this fact sheet:
GreenSmart Builders
>> Finding sustainable builders
and tradespeople
GreenSmart builders are accredited through
the Housing Industry Association (HIA) and
provide advice on creating sustainable homes,
developments and building products for
consumers and the housing industry.
>> Finding sustainable landscapers
and gardeners
>> Find an energy efficiency assessor
>> Sustainable product and
service directories
In this fact sheet, you will find contacts for
accredited environmental services ranging from
builders to trades (electrical, plumbing and
painting), gardeners and landscapers, and energy
efficiency assessors. Some useful sustainable
product directories are also provided.
The right advice
When you are building or renovating your
house, it is much easier to achieve better
environmental outcomes if you work with
people who have the skills and experience to
advise you on effective sustainable options for
your house. In Victoria, we are lucky to have a
wide range of formal training and accreditation
schemes that provide a greater level of service
and confidence to people who are looking for
environmental features and performance.
The following list provides a summary of
professional associations, certifications
and product directories that will help you to
design and build a more sustainable home.
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/bushfirerebuildsupport
http://tradebuild.com.au/search/default.aspx
or phone (03) 9280 8200
Green Living Builders
Green Living Builders are accredited through the
Master Builders Association and can provide
you with advice about the benefits of making
your home more comfortable and efficient.
www.mbav.com.au/vpLink.aspx?ID=8533
or phone (03) 9411 4500
GreenPlumbers
GreenPlumbers, is an initiative by the Master
Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association
of Australia (MPMSAA). GreenPlumbers can
advise you on a range of topics including the
benefits of energy efficiency and solar hot water,
water conservation and the most appropriate
and cost effective appliances to suit your
individual needs.
www.greenplumbers.com.au/products/services/
find-a-greenplumber
or phone 1300 368 519
EcoSmart Electricians
EcoSmart Electricians are certified through
the National Electrical and Communications
Association (NECA ) to provide consumers with
advice about saving energy in the home using
energy efficient lighting, pumps, fans and motors,
solar generation systems, heating and cooling.
www.ecosmartelectricians.com.au/locate.html
or phone (03) 9645 5533
Find out more at resourcesmart.vic.gov.au
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Green Painters
Green Painters are licensed, fully insured
and certified tradespeople who adhere to
an Environmental Code of Practice. They
offer advice and services in such areas as
eco-preferable and natural paints, choosing
colours and textures, saving money and cutting
carbon emissions.
www.greenpainters.com.au/services.htm
or phone 0402 312 234
Home Sustainability Assessors
Home sustainability assessors are trained
advisors who, through home visits, provide
tailored advice on how to make homes
and lifestyles more sustainable and reduce
environmental impact.
resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
for_households_3636.html
or phone 1300 363 744
FirstRate Accredited Energy Raters
Accredited assessors are qualified to issue
certified ratings of house plans for submission
to Councils. Sustainability Victoria accredits
these assessors to provide energy ratings for
houses in Victoria.
www.sv.sustainability.vic.gov.au/buildings/
firstrate/firstRateListSort_new.asp?search_
criteria=
or phone 1300 363 744
Photovoltaic (solar power)
system designers and installers
Photovoltaic system designers and installers
accredited by the Australian Business Council
of Sustainable Energy.
www.bcse.org.au/default.asp?id=119
or phone (03) 9929 4100
Landscapers
Sustainable Gardening Australia has a certification
program for landscape professionals to design,
construct and maintain landscapes that:
>> minimise water use
>> minimise chemical use
>> enhance biodiversity
>> complement natural systems
>> minimise invasive plants.
www.sgaonline.org.au/eclips.html
or phone (03) 9850 8165
Green Building Council of Australia
A national, not-for-profit organisation that is
committed to developing a sustainable property
industry for Australia by encouraging the
adoption of green building practices. A directory
of Green Star accredited professionals is
available on their website.
www.gbca.org.au
or phone (03) 8612 2000
Who should I talk to next? > finding sustainable tradespeople, professionals and products
page 2 of 4
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Green Pages Australia
Architects Bushfire Home Service
An online directory of organisations that
offer services and products with clear
environmental benefits.
A number of architecturally designed homes
for bushfire areas are available for free from
www.thegreenpages.com.au
The Green Directory
An online resource for locating green
businesses, products and services. All
businesses in the categories have been selected
for their ‘green’ attributes and sustainable
business practices.
www.thegreendirectory.com.au/index.php
Sustainable Architects
An increasing number of architects have
training and experience in all aspects of
sustainable design, construction and lifestyles.
www.wewillrebuild.vic.gov.au/clean-up-arebuilding/architects-bushfire-homes-service.html
or phone (03) 8620 3866
Archicentre Concept Home Design
Service
A free service for those planning to rebuild
after the bushfires.
www.archicentre.com.au/rebuild/index.htm
or phone 1300 134 513
For further information or a copy of this fact
sheet, go to resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/
sustainablerebuildingideas or please call
Sustainability Victoria on 1300 363 744.
www.architecture.com.au/vic
or phone (03) 8620 3866
page 3 of 4
Who should I talk to next? > finding sustainable tradespeople, professionals and products
Sustainable rebuilding ideas
Notes
ENV015 6.01 July 2009
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