• alpine living

The Cost vs Energy Gains of Sustainable Constructions

Sustainable construction is becoming the preferred option for many people looking to build homes or other structures in Australia, and as the demand rises, the costs are tipped to fall. The reasons people want sustainable homes are many, but boil down to energy-efficiency and cost, with new design principles bringing a healthier living environment and savings in the areas of energy, water and cold hard cash. When builders apply the principles of sustainability, they also create more comfortable, healthy, and enjoyable homes and buildings. The National Construction Code (NCC) in Australia now requires all new dwellings, renovations, additions and alterations to adhere to the energy-efficiency provisions in the ‘6-star standard’, so if your project is one of the above, you have to follow energy efficiency rules. ’

What is the 6-Star Standard?

This important energy-efficiency standard is applied to any building, home, addition, or renovation’s thermal performance, with new homes needing to include either a rainwater tank for flushing toilets or a solar hot water system. The 6-Star rating for energy-efficiency applies to your home's walls, roof, windows, and floor, that is, the building envelope, and also the lighting, however, it does not apply to plug-in appliances. The regulations don’t apply to building works that are minor and don’t require a building permit, but all new homes, major renovations and extensions must adhere to the energy-efficiency provisions of the (NCC). Hint: The way to save even more money and energy is to step up one more star and you will reduce the necessity for cooling and heating – and your energy bills – by 30 per cent.

Renewable Energy is Not Expensive When You Look Closely

Yes, energy efficiency measures are still considered costly, but according to an article in The Conversation(1), the reason for this misnomer is that most studies done on the issue use the wrong methods to determine whether sustainable housing is costly or not. However, research(2) shows how some studies could be missing some flow-on benefits like lower mobility costs and reduced energy bills and overlook the positive health benefits and quality of life that comes from improved thermal comfort.

What Are the Savings With Solar?

If you buy a solar system, it will be subsidised by a Federal Government scheme that’s worth at the moment around $630 per kW installed (this is based on a $37 Small-Scale Technology Certificates, or STC price). This adds up to about $3,150 off a typical 5kW system which is applied usually at the point of sale. This means that if you see an advertised price for solar installation, it probably has the rebate applied. When you buy a solar hot water device, or a solar or wind power system you get STCs based on your location and the size of the energy-efficient system. These STCs are sold to those power generators who use greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels to offset the price you pay for your electricity. You can find out how much of a rebate you can receive by using this calculator: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/tools/stc_calculator/.

The Prime Principles of Energy-Efficient Design

The way your block is orientated in relation to the sun and winds is crucial to energy efficiency so when you go looking for the perfect building site, keep that in mind. You need a block of land that will allow you to position a home with the rooms in which you will spend most of your time on the north side. Energy-efficiency aware designers and builders know that northerly aspects allow you to take advantage of the winter sunshine that will keep the rooms warm and bathed in natural light. South facing windows get no winter sun and if east or west-facing windows can’t be avoided, they would advise good summer shading.

Alpine living is a custom home builder focusing on Sustainable building and living, ensuring minimal waste is produced in the construction process. Any waste generated is recycled when possible and materials are sourced from sustainable forests. We also use the latest as well as proven materials and design concepts to ensure an energy-efficient homeinto the future. Feel free to contact us to discuss your build on 0408029850 or email michael@alpineliving.com.au

or carlie@alpineliving.com.au.



1. https://theconversation.com/sustainable-housings-expensive-right-not-when-you-look-at-the-whole-equation-60056

2. https://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/mNGmsHrIAyJFimtazyGY/full- Journal, Building Research & Information, Volume 45, 2017 - Issue 4

Author’s Bio

Alex Morrison has been a SEO Expertfor over 10 years. In this time he has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in depth understanding of many different industries including house cleaning, financial support and health care. As the owner of Integral Media he is now utilising his knowledge and experience with his rapidly increasing client portfolio to help them achieve their business goals.

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