Industry adaption to NatHERs 6 star energy regulations and energy performance disclosure models for housing
University of Melbourne Author/sO'Leary, Timothy
AffiliationArchitecture, Building and Planning
CitationsO'Leary, T, Industry adaption to NatHERs 6 star energy regulations and energy performance disclosure models for housing, 2016
Access StatusOpen Access
This thesis examines adoption of the current 6 star standard in Australia and principally South Australia one of the first states to adopt the new standard and from which most data sets were drawn. It is relatively recently that minimum energy performance standards were introduced for Australian housing, first in 2003 and then with stringency increases in 2006 (5 star) and then in 2010/11(6 star) the current standard mandated for action under a Council of Australian Governments Agreement (COAG) signed earlier in 2009. From the literature review it was found that whilst the science of energy and building shell physics is a mature field and the human behaviours around energy use for thermal comfort are well researched a gap has existed in relation to understanding the effectiveness of the current regulations. Using real world energy monitoring data for houses across a wide spread of star band ratings and undertaking thermal simulations consistent with the rating scheme the effectiveness of the NatHERs regulatory approach to the reduction of energy use was demonstrated. The cost impacts of moving to a 6 star standard are modelled and findings presented from a study of representative housing types. The findings show a modest capital cost increase of 1- 2% to reach the new standard measures from the previous less stringent 5 star standard. A qualitative survey of home builders around the industry adoption of 6 star was undertaken. Results shows some differences of adaptive measures and cost considerations but significantly a pattern of successful transition to the new standard in general. Older housing stock (pre 2003) suffers the legacy of lack of energy standards and these existing Australian homes are sold or rented with little or no measure of energy performance disclosure. This thesis has a goal of examining various models for residential energy performance disclosure finding that energy labelling or certification based on the modelled thermal performance of the building stock is potentially a far superior way of gauging energy efficiency, being more useful than using billed consumption data due to the wide variation in occupancy behaviours. The studies in this thesis propose that human behaviour becomes a more significant factor in milder climates such as in South Australia, whereas the building envelope is more important in harsher climates. A separate study and analysis has been undertaken and presented on the cost of retrofitting older South Australian homes which show a pathway to improve homes to the current 6 star standard and even greater efficiency with a logical application of building shell improvements and building sealing. Given the next opportunity to implement significant housing energy regulation change will not occur until 2019 under the 3 year cycle of building code review and mandated existing housing disclosure is uncertain the housing disclosure energy studies, 6 star implementation and industry and energy framework analysis presented in this thesis informs the national debate on future building energy standards and enhances knowledge of the role that residential buildings may play in addressing climate change and energy demand challenges.
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