If you’re planning on adding an extension to an existing Adelaide home, there are certain conditions that need to be met with regard to the Building Code of Australia (BCA) in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability. To some extent, these depend in which of South Australia’s three climate zones your home is located (metropolitan Adelaide is zone 5, while the Adelaide Hills are classified as zone 6, for instance).
However, the important point to note is that all new home extensions must have a 6-Star rating in terms of the energy consumption and efficiency. Star ratings go from 0-10, and the more stars a property has, the less energy it consumes to maintain a comfortable temperature.
Energy rating reports will show whether your proposed new addition meets the requirements of the Code, or whether changes need to be made in order for it to be compliant. Your extension builder will generally undertake to have an energy rating assessment done as a matter of course.
However, meeting compliance can be a burden at times, and your home extension builder should always be looking for the most cost-effective solutions to help you meet energy efficiency targets. Also, considering the energy rating of a proposed home extension early in the planning and design process means that you can avoid having to change plans or re-design later on.
The aim of an energy efficient home is to enable you to heat it in winter and cool it in summer using as little energy as possible. Assessing what is known as the thermal performance of your new home extension during the planning and design stage means your builder will be able to find the simplest and most economical way of keeping the temperature at a comfortable level (measuring this is known as comfort mapping).
For instance, it may be that you need to have double glazing or low emissivity (low-e) glass installed, reduce/increase the amount of glass you use, or include more insulation in your roof, walls and floor in order to achieve greater energy efficiency. The amount of natural light that you allow in or exclude can also impact on how much electricity you need to use to light your new extension, which further affects your energy use and costs. It can also be useful to assess the air circulation, to ensure there are no areas where heated or cooled doesn’t reach as this will impact negatively on your energy use, or whether natural air ventilation is a viable option.
The orientation of your new home extension (i.e., which way it faces) can also have a significant impact on achieving a 6-Star energy rating. Likewise, it may be that the properties around yours have an effect, in that they could be shadowing your new extension in a way that makes efficient heating harder to achieve. The colours of the exterior cladding can also make an impact in terms of the degree to which they reflect or absorb heat.
To put it simply, the more energy efficient your home is, the less it costs you to run. As has been all too well documented, energy prices in Adelaide are by far the highest in Australia, if not the world, and so it makes sense to be as frugal in your energy use as is possible with regard to your lifestyle. A home with a 6-Star energy efficiency is calculated to use 24% less energy than a 5-Star rated property, and this can mean you save hundreds of dollars each and every year on your heating and cooling costs.
Builders At Your Service are highly experienced Adelaide home extension builders, with extensive knowledge both of local building conditions and in meeting the requirements of the Building Code of Australia with regard to home energy efficiency ratings. We can help you to plan and design a home extension that will not only be compliant with all regulations, but will also mean that you use less energy to light, heat and cool your home, giving you long-term savings on your electricity bills and other energy costs. Get in touch with us to learn more about energy efficient home extensions and how Builders At Your Service can help you to get the best value from your new addition to your Adelaide home.