Upgraded requirements for Green Star certification

Building architecturally for sustainability is becoming an increasingly important factor in custom homes in Australia. On 5th August 2020 Green Star released new requirements for houses to receive the rating in a draft Green Star Homes Standard for consultation.

These new standards are working towards a transformation in residential architecture to create a market for healthier and energy efficient homes. They aim to lift the bar on current regulatory settings. Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) CEO Davina Rooney has stated:

“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.”

Green Star Homes will be a national standard and it applies the past success Green Star certification has achieved in other sectors of construction. The range of criteria to achieve a Green Star Homes certification are listed below:

  • Healthy

To register for the rating a home must be well ventilated to prevent the growth of mould and constructed to minimise the entry of pollutants such as bush fire smoke. The home needs to be comfortable thermally and built from materials that are low or non-toxic and have high quality lighting installed.

  • Resilient

Disastrous events such as the bush fires in 2019 highlight the need for resilience standards to be increased in the design and construction of new houses. Extreme heat in Australia kills more people than any other natural disaster. Urban areas with reduced vegetation and a lot of hard surfaces absorb, store and radiate heat resulting in the urban heat island effect.

To obtain a Green Star certification a home must be built with proactive measures to be better at withstanding natural disasters and climate adjustment. The Standard suggests that Green Star houses achieve a 40% reduction in water usage compared with a reference home, through measures such as landscaping to reduce heat stress.

  • Positive

Statistics have proven that 57% of Australia’s total built environment emissions come from homes. Most energy is used to heat and cool homes according to the season. Green Star homes need a net zero energy which means they have been designed to generate enough renewable energy to power all estimated regulated loads as well as estimated appliances and plug loads. They will not use gas, all major appliances need a 4 star energy rating and all windows double glazed.

Also air tightness is a key criteria to achieve the certificate as more than 25% of heat loss in winter is estimated to be caused from droughts. Good quality insulation and air tightness is able to save homes up to 40% in energy bills annually.

Consultation on the draft standard is running until 30th October 2020. To see a copy of the standard and to find out how to provide feedback click here.

 

Information credits: benp.com.au