Green homes explained

by Chris Lang on August 12, 2009

Green houseWhile we’re on this subject of green and energy efficient housing, how many of you know what 5 stars energy rating means?

5 stars rating

Just a week ago I was writing about how all the new homes in Victoria must be rated 5 stars, but I didn’t explain exactly what a house needs to have, to be rated 5 stars for energy efficiency. Here are the compulsory features:

  • A rainwater tank for toilet flushing or a solar hot water system
  • A star energy rated building fabric
  • Water efficient taps and shower heads

Now having dealt with 5 stars, we’re getting to 6 stars rating. One thing is definite – it will make the houses more expensive, but what are the benefits for occupiers? Although I couldn’t find a firm standard anywhere, I did find an example of what a 6 stars building is like.

6 stars rating

There is a suburb in Melbourne called Aurora and it is planned to have only 6 stars rated houses. And here are the features that justify the rating:

  • Solar water heating
  • Insulation of buildings
  • Houses designed with good ventilation and orientation of windows.
  • The size and orientation of the windows are such that in the summer when it’s hot, the cool air at night is able to flow rapidly through the windows and cool the house down quicker. In winter, the house manages to capture as much of sun’s heat as possible, reducing the need for artificial heating.

  • The windows are double-glazed
  • I was especially blown away by this feature:

  • The streets in Aurora are designed to capture for optimal capturing of solar power. Wow.
  • The way homes are positioned enables them to make the most of natural lighting, which means that less electricity is used.
  • They also are using a thing called rain gardens.
  • I don’t know about you but I’ve first heard about it just yesterday. Apparently rain garden is a garden designed around driveways, roofs, footpaths etc, and the it is designed to absorb as much of stormwater as possible. That kills 2 birds with one stone – the people will use less water in the garden and there will be less water flowing into the storm drain, which causes all kinds of nasty things.

    And the question of the day is: Would you consider making your next home a 6 stars one and why?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Real Estate in Christ Church August 28, 2009 at 12:27 am

As a blogger, I always value people who writes something that will make their readers learn something new.

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Steph @ Greening Families September 6, 2009 at 1:44 am

This is so exciting to read and, at the same time, so depressing to read as an American. I live near Austin, which recently required home sellers to conduct an energy audit before listing their home for sale. This is a much smaller step than you describe here but folks are still grumbling about the change.

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Chris September 6, 2009 at 2:35 pm

But this is a step in the right direction, that’s for sure. In Australia we still aren’t required to get existing homes certified in energy-efficiency and there are too many houses that aren’t insulated at all, which results in them being an energy-sucking black hole.

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EcoMark Group November 5, 2009 at 5:55 am

This is awesome to see how Australia is really making progress with building green. Here in America we have a long way to go but we are making changes everday. My team and I are realtors in Denver and we are trying to promote green building as much as possible. Thanks for the article!

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Windows double glazed December 11, 2009 at 9:50 pm

Great post! Maybe the 6 star homes in Aurora are an example of green future homes to come.

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Land Surveyor March 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm

As someone who designs and implements rain gardens I can tell you that they really work if properly designed. In fact if they are properly designed they will last for a long time with proper maintenance and truly reduce stormwater impacts on a given site. We have utilized rain gardens in both commercial and residential applications and have seen them be great and reducing runoff and improving stormwater quality. Great site!

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