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New Australian homes will soon be required to meet Green Star status

Double-glazed windows, air filtration systems and LED lighting are some of the elements new Australian homes will have to feature in order to achieve ‘Green Star certification’.

A draft of the Green Star Homes Standard was released today, as part of the Building Council of Australia’s Future Homes Strategy.

“The Standard is being developed collaboratively with rigorous consultation and input from industry, consumers, builders, banks, investors and insurers to ensure it is fit for purpose,” said GBCA CEO Davina Rooney.

“To achieve Green Star certification, as a minimum, homes will need double glazed windows and doors, air filtration and LED lighting, good access to daylight in living areas and bedrooms, sufficient renewable energy generation to support the home’s operations and no fossil fuel use.”

Although the Standard is still in draft form, many residential developers, including Mirvac, Metricon, Stockland, and Rawson Homes have committed to piloting the program.

“Working in partnership with builders, financiers and investors, we want to help ensure the next generation of Australian homes are built to better withstand natural disasters, cope with a changing climate and lessen the built environment’s contribution to emissions,” Ms Rooney said.

“By significantly lifting the standard to which new homes are designed and built we can dramatically improve health and wellbeing while at the same time lowering energy bills and helping to meet our emissions reduction commitments.

“Drought, bushfires and now the coronavirus pandemic have all underscored how vital it is to have more resilient housing that better protects the health of residents and the planet.

“With our population set to continue growing to 31 million people by 2030, we will need to build an extra 197,000 new homes every year to meet demand,” Ms Rooney said.

“Australians are already feeling the worsening impacts of natural disasters and paying among the world’s highest energy bills, so we must act now to ensure this pipeline of new homes is built to higher sustainability standards.”

Achieving Green Star Homes certification

Houses will be required to meet a range of criteria across three primary categories.

Health

Green Star Certified homes will need to be well ventilated to prevent the growth of mould and built to minimise the entry of pollutants, such as bushfire smoke. They will need to be thermally comfortable, use materials that are low or non-toxic and have high quality lighting installed.

Resilience

Green Star Certified homes will need to be built with proactive measures to be better than Code at withstanding natural disasters and future climate change conditions such as bushfires, flooding, and heat stress. The draft Standard proposes that a Green Star Certified home achieve a 40 per cent reduction in water usage when compared against a reference home with measures such as landscaping to mitigate heat stress.

Energy use

Green Star Certified homes will need to be net zero energy, meaning that they have been built to generate sufficient renewable energy to power all estimated regulated loads as well as estimated appliances and plug loads. They do not use gas, major appliances including refrigerators, washing machines and dishwashers must have a minimum 4-star energy efficiency rating, solar systems must be battery ready and all windows must be factory built double glazed IGU (Insulated Glass Units).

A copy of the Green Star Homes Draft Standard is available here.

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