Archive | Energy efficiency

Australia moves to more energy efficiency, but campaigners see avoidable costs locked in

Public submissions close this week & next on draft changes to Australia’s national construction code relating to energy efficiency.

Submissions close this Friday on residential changes, and on Friday 20 April for draft changes to improve energy-efficiency standards in commercial buildings.

Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council executive director Suzanne Toumbourou said on Monday: “Energy-efficient buildings cost less to light, heat & cool, so more energy-efficient commercial buildings will save Australian businesses money. These very welcome new standards will also reduce carbon emissions, helping Australia meet our obligations under the Paris climate change agreement.”

The draft code also includes new measures to improve compliance with energy-efficiency standards for new homes. However, minimum energy performance standards won’t be changed for residential buildings.
Ms Toumbourou argued that, as technology provides new ways to save energy and for buildings to generate their own energy, while energy bills rise, “this would be a great time to lock in better performance for future homes as well as commercial buildings.”

The Sustainable Built Environment Council & ClimateWorks Australia have released a joint report, The Bottom Line, which shows that stronger energy efficiency standards for residential buildings could save households up to $A150/year in energy costs. They said a 3-year delay in implementing stronger energy performance standards for new homes could lock in $A1.1 billion of avoidable energy costs by 2050.

National Construction Code 2019 public comment draft
Have your say on the changes proposed for NCC 2019
The Bottom Line – household impacts of delaying improved energy requirements in the Building Code

Attribution: Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council release.

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Homestar v4 rating launched

Green Building Council chief executive Andrew Eagles thanked the construction industry last night for an extremely robust response when the council sought feedback on its proposed upgrade of the Homestar standard.

The outcome, he said, was a far better version that would make it easier to lift & verify the performance of new homes.

One important outcome is that it will be more readily available to large subdivision builders, enabling them to provide high volume of better homes at speed.

In Homestar version 4, the R values for energy rating are set out, doing away with modelling, and a one-page checklist can be used.

The Green Building Council introduced the original Homestar – an independent rating tool that certifies the health, efficiency & sustainability of homes – in 2010. After wide industry consultation, version 4 was re-engineered to align with the needs of volume builders, providing for volume certification, with more practical evidence requirements, and a removal of the requirement for slab edge insulation in Auckland, Coromandel or Northland.

Mr Eagles said: “Where Homestar v4 is applied to a new build, New Zealanders individually & collectively benefit. Over the course of 5 years, a 6 Homestar-rated household will save $5,000, an 8-star $10,000, carbon emissions will be 1900kg lower for 6-star and 6000kg lower for 8-star.”

Any questions about the need for improvement can quickly be negated. Mr Eagles said New Zealand’s building code as it concerned health & energy efficiency was the worst in the OECD. The 40% of homes that were damp & mouldy were a permanent cause of respiratory problems.

“We know our R values [for heat loss] are 2-3 times worse than other countries’,” he said.

From a slow start, the Homestar programme has started to take off and a market was being created for these tools, indicating better performance: “We know if every home was built to a 6-star rating, New Zealand would benefit to the tune of $350 million after 5 years and $150 million/year after that.”

Link: Green Building Council Homestar

Attribution: Green Building Council launch & release.

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Insulation campaign 50,000 homes above target as it closes

235,000 homes have been insulated under the Government’s Warm up NZ: Heat smart programme, well above the original target of 188,500 set in 2009.

Energy & Resources Minister Simon Bridges said yesterday a strong insulation industry had been built as a result of the programme, and the benefits of better home insulation had become well known.

The Heat smart programme is drawing to its planned completion following the launch of the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority’s targeted Warm up NZ: Healthy homes programme announced in this year’s Budget: “This new programme offers free ceiling & under-floor insulation for low-income households, particularly families with children & high health needs. It’s expected to insulate around 46,000 additional houses over the next 3 years.”

Attribution: Ministerial release.

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US company creates solar-energy tiles

Published 18 September 2009

Philadelphia-based SRS Energy launched a solar-energy roofing tile at the American Institute of Architects’ annual national convention in April and has begun limited distribution through a partnership with US Tile, the biggest manufacturer of clay roofing tiles in the US.


The Solé Power Tiles are dark blue, distinctly different from the red or clay colours of standard tiles, but SRS said they could be installed without compromising aesthetics.

Springwise, which produces a weekly web newsletter focusing on innovation, said the tiles were made from a high-performance polymer often used in car bumpers, and were lightweight, unbreakable & recyclable.


It said flexible solar technology by United Solar Ovonic was embedded inside each tile, allowing them to function independently of each other. Meanwhile, the performance of the system as a whole is monitored remotely by SRS Energy & US Tile. SRS Energy’s director of engineering, JD Albert, also developed the electronic ink technology used in Amazon Kindle & the Sony Reader.


Websites: SRS Energy



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Attribution: Springwise, SRS Energy, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Colliers Jardine manager cuts $400,000 from highrise energy bill

Fine-tuning heat and cooling systems did it

Colliers Jardine’s national manager of engineering & facilities management services, Val Moraes, has won an energy-wise award from the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority, mostly for chopping $400,000 from the annual energy bill at the National Bank Centre in Auckland.

Mr Moraes said he took a scientific and analytical approach to monitoring systems and fine-tuning, rather than driving improvement by major refurbishments or overhauls. About 75% of common-area energy consumption on highrises occurs through airconditioning systems, so Mr Moraes brought big savings through intensive management and calibration of heating and cooling plant.

“In highrise buildings there’s always a conflict between heating and cooling systems. Both are run simultaneously to maintain balance. We’ve found that if we reduced unnecessary heating, the load on the chilling plant, which is a significant energy guzzler, was automatically reduced.”

Striking a highly consistent temperature balance also significantly improved the comfort of occupiers and helped operationally with dramatically lower complaint levels.

The Government’s new energy strategy is due out in October. The smart energy management measures that have been put in place at the National Bank Centre will mean it is one of the very few buildings in New Zealand that will not require any major upgrading or modification to meet the strict new standards,” Mr Moraes said.

The ability to cut energy costs is important in terms of tenant perception, as tenants focus increasingly on total occupancy costs, making buildings with lower operating expenses more sought after. “In the current leasing market, which is highly competitive, a proactively managed building is a significantly more marketable product.”

The National Bank Centre is jointly owned by Kiwi Income Property Trust and Capital Properties Ltd.

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