Council encourages everyone to incorporate Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) and energy efficiency principles into the design of their new dwellings or additions.
Incorporating these principles at the pre-development stage has a range of different benefits including a reduction in operating costs, a potentially more desirable dwelling which may fetch a higher sale price, and a more comfortable living environment for occupants.
Including Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) and energy efficiency measures in your initial design is a lot easier than trying to retrofit these measures later on.
Dealing with the big picture issues during the initial stages of design assists with optimising ESD and energy efficiency outcomes at the development stage. Some of these big picture issues include the orientation of the dwelling or renovation, the internal layout, the positioning of windows to capture the northern sun, and incorporating water reuse into housing design.
The aim of Environmentally Sustainable Design principles is to reduce negative impacts on the environment and increase the health and comfort of a building for its occupants. The principles of ESD include:
Considering ESD at the design and concept stage of your proposal will assist with achieving the greatest benefits. These benefits include:
In order to improve your dwellings energy efficiency and reduce operating costs, consider the following when orientating and designing your dwelling (or addition):
Building regulations mandate a minimum standard only when it comes to ESD and energy efficiency. All new dwellings (and renovations, alterations and additions of a certain size) are required to achieve a six-star energy rating. This includes incorporating either a solar hot water system or a rainwater tank connected to all sanitary flushing systems.
There are a range of Design Assessment Tools to measure environmentally sustainable design and energy efficiency. Some of the most common Tools include:
BESS is an online sustainable design assessment tool. It is:
For more information visit the BESS website.
STORM is a free tool which assesses storm water management qualities. The purpose of STORM is to assess whether best practice water quality objectives can be achieved as part of a development. STORM is managed by Melbourne Water.
For more information visit the STORM website.
NatHERS is a star rating system (out of 10) which determines the energy efficiency (heating and cooling) of a dwelling, based on the design of the dwelling. It assists with meeting the requirements of the National Construction Code. The purpose of NatHERS is to assist with designing homes which are more comfortable for inhabitants and to reduce the operating costs of the dwelling.
The orientation of your dwelling and its individual rooms can play a significant part in the ongoing operating costs of your home and the comfort of your family. Depending on the season, the position of the sun varies. It is important that you position your dwelling to take advantage of these sun variations. Good orientation and siting can reduce your dwellings use of energy for heating and cooling purposes, which in turn can reduce energy bills and increase comfort levels within the home.
Consider the following when orientating and siting your dwelling:
The materials you use to construct your new dwelling or addition can have a significant impact on the carbon footprint of the building, and also how energy efficient the building will be. It is important to consider your building materials up front because it can be difficult and more expensive to retrofit an existing building. In addition, while the initial costs may be higher in order to incorporate these materials, they can pay off over the lifetime of the building.
Windows play an important part in the makeup of a dwelling. Windows let in air to cool and ventilate a dwelling, as well as natural light to provide a comfortable living environment. They also enable views of the outdoors and connect the interior and exterior of dwellings. It is important to appropriately design and locate your windows to take advantage of these benefits, and also in order to reduce heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter.
Shading of your dwelling and outdoors spaces can assist with reducing summer temperatures, improving the comfort of your building, and saving energy. The shading of glass is critical to assist with minimising heat gain, as one of the greatest sources of heat gain in a dwelling is unprotected glass. Once heat passes through the glass, it becomes absorbed by building materials and furniture, effectively becoming trapped and creating a greenhouse like effect.
The purpose of solar panel systems is to harness sunlight in order to generate electricity. The rising cost of electricity has left many homeowners worried about future electricity costs, and many are turning to solar panels in order to reduce energy bills. Others are also looking to install solar panels to produce greener energy and be environmentally friendly.
Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) integrates water cycle management into the built environment (ie. into planning, design and construction).
Often, our waterways are filled with chemicals and pollutants from stormwater, causing them long term harm. WSUD recognises that waterways are an important asset and need to be protected. By incorporating WSUD measures into our developments, we can reduce the negative effects of stormwater on our waterways.
WSUD measures can be implemented at any scale of development, from the single dwelling level to large scale developments and subdivisions. Common types of WSUD include rain gardens, porous paving and rainwater tanks.
A well-designed dwelling or addition helps to reduce water usage, finds ways to take advantage of water that is captured on site, and can assist with improving water quality for water which flows back into our important waterways.
Water Sensitive Urban Design recognises that all water streams in the water cycle are valuable resources including rainwater (collected from the roof), runoff (including stormwater, collected from all impervious surfaces), potable water (drinking water), groundwater, grey water (water from bathroom taps, showers and laundries) and black water (from toilets and kitchen sinks). Some examples of WSUD measures are outlined below.
Raingardens work in the following manner (Source: Melbourne Water):
Incorporating environmentally sustainable and energy efficient design principles into subdivisions is important to ensure ongoing sustainability in Victoria's towns and communities.
This information outlines the environmental sustainability and energy efficiency of subdivisions, rather than the actual dwellings/buildings which will be constructed within the subdivision. Incorporating environmentally sustainable design and energy efficiency measures in subdivisions can be undertaken at a range of different subdivision scales. Often such measures can be selling points for potential homeowners.
Good Environmentally Sustainable and Energy Efficiency design elements for subdivisions include:
Source: Environmentally Sustainable Design for Subdivisions in Regional Victoria (AECOM)
The following are some ESD and Energy Efficiency Case Studies:
The Cape at Cape Paterson is located in Cape Paterson, about 140km southeast of Melbourne, approximately 10 minutes from Wonthaggi. The vision of The Cape is to create a benchmark for sustainable living, with dwellings required to achieve a minimum 7.5-star energy rating. For further information on The Cape, please visit The Cape website.
Sustainable House Day encourages members of the public to visit some of Australia's most sustainable houses. To explore some of these dwellings, please visit the Sustainable House Day website.
For some other examples of best practice sustainable design and construction, please visit the YourHome website.
The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) provides a range of Guidance Sheets on heritage places and environmentally sustainable design.
For more information please visit Council's Sustainability page.