New Building standards in Australia

By Sabine Lobnig, Mar 25, 2010, 09:43 3 minute reading

Under laws introduced in the Australian parliament last week, building owners will have to disclose energy efficiency information when they sell or lease office space. In the meantime, a list of Amendments to the Building Code of Australia 2010, which will now include provisions for greenhouse pollution reduction, has been published.

Starting in the second half of 2010, building owners in Australia will need to be hold of energy efficiency certificates when they put office space covering more than 2,000 square metres up for sale or lease. The certificates will feature an energy efficiency rating, information about the efficiency of the lighting and how energy efficiency could be improved. The ‘Building Energy Efficiency Certificate’ will include a National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy base building star rating.

"Energy efficiency is a fast, cheap way of making inroads into Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. This scheme will provide a strong incentive in the market for building owners to improve their properties by investing in cost-effective energy efficient upgrades. The disclosure scheme will also apply to office buildings owned by the Australian Government, in line with the Government's commitments under the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency", Environment Minister, Peter Garrett had said about the scheme already last year.

This scheme is part of a broader ambitious plan to make Australia's homes and businesses more energy efficient, by improving base standards and star ratings for appliances, equipment and buildings, and by phasing out inefficient technologies.

Amendments to the Building Code of Australia 2010

Another part of this Australia’s focus on energy efficiency relates to the Building Code of Australia (BCA) 2010. Already in January 2010 Senator Kim Carr, the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science & Research and Senator Penny Wong, Acting Environment Minister announced that new provisions for greenhouse pollution reduction would be included in the national BCA for 2010.

On 11 March 2010, the Australian Buildings Code Board published a list of Amendments to the BCA 2010. The notes provide a description of major changes made from the previous edition of the BCA, including:
  • Revised Objective, Functional Statements and some Performance Requirements to recognise that the goal is greenhouse gas emission reduction rather than energy efficiency alone and in doing so, give further credit for renewable energy sources.
  • The air-conditioning of a Class 3 sole-occupancy unit must cease if an external door to a balcony, patio or courtyard is left open.
  • As well as the current provisions for heating a space using a water heating system, there are now requirements for a heating system other than a water based one, eg electricity is not permitted and oil is limited to locations without reticulated gas.
  • Fixed space heating appliances installed outdoors must have automatic controls.
  • At the request of some industry stakeholders, the definitions of fan power and pump power have been revised.
  • New provisions have been added for the heating and pumping plant of swimming pools and spa pools and also pool & spa covers in some circumstances.
  • New provisions have been added for the metering of energy usage.
  • Additional information has been added to the Guide to Volume One.
  • A new Performance Requirement and Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions for supply water heaters favouring heaters using an energy source that is renewable or of low greenhouse gas intensity.
  • There are new provisions for the energy source and the performance of supply water heaters including a new Performance Requirement, Verification Method and reference Standards.
  • There are now limitations on the use of electric resistance space heating.
  • There are new provisions for supply water heaters that specify the performance of the heaters and also severely limit the use of electric resistance heaters. 


By Sabine Lobnig

Mar 25, 2010, 09:43

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