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5 Star House Regulations

5 Star House Regulations

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Published by Flowerdale
A guide to regulations relating to the 5 star energy requirement for new house or renovations over $40,000.
A guide to regulations relating to the 5 star energy requirement for new house or renovations over $40,000.

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Published by: Flowerdale on Aug 17, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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What you need to know about
5 Star for new houses,home renovationsand relocations
Victorians living in houses and apartments built since 2005are enjoying energy efficiency and water saving featuresthat are not only good for the environment but delivergreater comfort and lower utility bills.
These homes are 5 Star homes.Victoria was the first state to implement the 5 Star standardin its building regulations and feedback from residents showthey experience greater comfort and economic benefits fromliving in 5 Star homes.In fact, 5 Star homes use 50 per cent less energy for heatingand cooling compared with the typical 2 Star dwellingsbuilt before 2005. This is saving residents, on average, $200annually on heating and cooling alone.As more consumers experience the benefits of 5 Star,combined with increased awareness of sustainability in ourbuilt environment, support for greater energy efficiencyoutcomes is growing.Accordingly, from 1 May 2008 coverage of the 5 Star standardextended to include the 40,000 houses renovated, extendedor relocated in Victoria each year.As a flexible, performance-based standard, 5 Star allowshomeowners, builders and designers enormous choice inmeeting the requirements – whether building a new home,renovating or relocating a home.The result is that new homes, large renovations and relocatedhomes will provide occupants with greater comfort, lowerhousehold running costs and produce lower greenhouse gasemissions.
* A renovation is an alteration
Why the regulations?
With the impacts of climate change and global warmingwidely accepted as a reality, both the Victorian and Australiangovernments have responded to the challenge by settingtargets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.As part of the Victorian Government’s strategy to reducegreenhouse gas emissions, 2005 saw the introduction of the5 Star standard for new homes come into effect.It is estimated that within five years of its introduction,5 Star for new homes will deliver up to $40 million in annualenergy savings. A saving of 600,000 tonnes of greenhousegas emissions is anticipated over the same period – theequivalent of removing 150,000 cars from our roads orplanting 750,000 trees.While this is a sizeable impact, it only relates to a smallproportion of all Victorian homes – those built since 5 Starcame into effect. Existing older dwellings represent morethan 95 per cent of housing stock in Victoria, so improvingthe energy efficiency of these buildings is essential toreduce greenhouse gas emissions and address the impact ofclimate change.That is why the Victorian Government made a commitmentto require alterations to existing homes to achieve a 5 Starenergy performance.Requiring a 5 Star energy rating for renovations and relocatedhomes from 1 May 2008 brings Victoria into line with thenational standard in the Building Code of Australia. Thisdelivers benefits to the environment as well as to residents.It is estimated that energy efficiency levels for heating andcooling of the upgraded dwellings are expected to increase by40-50 per cent compared with the old insulation regulationsthat have been in force since the early 1990s.If you are planning to build, renovate or relocate a housein Victoria it is important to ensure your design takes intoaccount the flexible, performance-based 5 Star energyefficiency requirements.
How the regulations apply
5 Star for new homes
Since July 2005, new houses and apartments in Victoria mustbe built to meet the energy efficiency and water managementrequirements of the 5 Star standard.The 5 Star standard requires:5 Star energy efficiency rating for the building fabric;Water efficient taps and fittings; plusEither a rainwater tank for toilet flushing, or a solar hotwater system.For most houses, achieving the 5 Star standard requires a few simpleimprovements to the standard design and construction of a home.This may be achieved through a wide range of options, such asincreasing the level of insulation, better orientation and exteriorshading, better seals and draught-proofing and the use of high-performance glazing.The 5 Star standard is designed to be a flexible standard – it isperformance-based rather than prescriptive. This means designersand builders can use their creativity on how they meet homeowners’requirements of being cost-effective, functional and aesthetic indesigning and constructing 5 Star homes.The combination of energy and water saving features, of a 5 Starhome, work together to ensure a high degree of occupancy comfortand reduced operating costs.For example, residents of new homes who install a rainwater tankuse 20 per cent less reticulated drinking water. Their homes are also50 per cent more energy efficient for heating and cooling than theaverage 2 Star dwelling built before the regulations took effect.The 5 Star standard is one of the many initiatives helping to make apositive difference for our environment – but there is always morethat can be done.
Star for home renovations and relocations
From 1 May 2008, the national energy efficiency standard applies toall relocated homes and alterations to an existing home in Victoria.
What do the new regulations involve?
For some simple renovation work, that does not require a buildingpermit, the new regulations will not apply.All building projects to alter a home including an extension thatrequires a building permit will be required to comply with the newenergy efficiency regulations.The new requirements for alterations or relocations apply to thethermal performance of a home and do not require a solar hot watersystem or a rainwater tank for toilet flushing.Alterations representing more than 50 per cent of the originalvolume of the building (including any alterations carried out in theprevious three years) require the existing building to be broughtup to the same standards as the new construction (that is 5 Starbuilding fabric, not a rainwater tank or a solar hot water system).Any extension above 25 per cent of floor area of the existingbuilding or 1,000 square metres (whichever is the lesser) must fullycomply with the new standard.There are certain circumstances where the relevant building surveyorhas discretion, under
Regulation 608
, to allow partial compliancewhere the requirement is overly onerous, technically impracticalor does not provide a level of benefit commensurate with cost.A revised Practice Note No. 55 is available to building practitionersregarding the application of the new technical requirements and theuse of their discretion under
Regulation 608
Renovation & relocations regulatory requirements
Type of workCompliancerequiredEntire buildingto comply?Building surveyor discretion?
Building renovation work including extensions less than
 (the lesser of) 1000m
or 25% of existing floor areaYesNo*YesBuilding renovation work that represents more than50% of the original volume of the building (includingthe re-erection of an existing dwelling)YesYesYes^
(discretion applies to compliance of both the
alteration work and the remainder of the building)
Building renovation work that is an extension of floorarea greater than (the lesser of) 25% of floor area ofthe existing building or 1000m
* Subject to the alteration not triggering the 50% rule^ If the alteration includes an extension that exceeds the size described in the row below, the discretion only applies to the requirement to bring the remainder of the building into compliance.

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