Are you planning to start a residential project in NSW? Then, you need to be aware of the upgraded BASIX (Building Sustainability Index) requirements. The Australian housing industry is undergoing a transformation towards more sustainable and eco-friendly practices. And the BASIX certificate plays a pivotal role in improving the sustainability and energy efficiency of residential buildings. So what exactly is BASIX, and what can you do to comply with the advanced standards of the new BASIX? Let’s find out!
What is a BASIX certificate?
BASIX, an acronym for Building Sustainability Index, is a web-based planning tool that has been designed to promote sustainable construction in the residential sector. BASIX is a tool that assesses potential performance against a comprehensive range of sustainability standards. In simple words, BASIX strives to bridge the gap between architectural innovation and environmental consciousness. Here, the BASIX report is the preliminary sustainability report that you get after entering your project details on the BASIX software. The report is not legally valid. After properly evaluating the correctness of all the details you’ve entered, you can generate a final BASIX certificate. A BASIX certificate serves as documented proof that your residential projects comply with the minimum BASIX standard. This certificate is required in various steps of the development process, including development application requests, construction certificate applications, etc. But to ensure better outcomes, BASIX has recently upgraded their existing standards for energy efficiency, water efficiency and thermal comfort. So, how do you ensure your recent development is compliant with the increased BASIX standard? Let’s find out!
Energy Efficiency Enhancements
Since buildings account for a considerable portion of global energy consumption, every decision you make regarding your residence can tip the scales towards a greener world and BASIX certificate compliance.
Harness Natural Light Through Building Orientation
Strategic building orientation can position your residential dwelling in a way that it can take full advantage of the sun’s path. This way, you can minimise the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours. Not only does this save energy, but it also creates a serene and inviting atmosphere within the living spaces.
Focus on High-performance Insulation and Sealing
High-performance insulation materials and proper sealing keep the indoor environment comfortable, regardless of the exterior weather conditions. Insulation acts as a barrier, preventing the unwanted exchange of heat between indoor and outdoor spaces. Coupled with impeccable sealing to eliminate drafts, they ensure that conditioned air stays put, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling. You can connect with reputed BASIX consultants to get more such tips on energy conservation.
Install Efficient Appliances and Lighting Fixtures
You’ll find several choices for energy-efficient electrical appliances–from LED lighting that illuminates while consuming minimal electricity to star-rated energy-efficient appliances that make life more convenient. Incorporating these devices can help your project align with the upgraded BASIX standards, thus demonstrating a commitment to responsible resource usage.
Thermal Comfort Solutions
Thermal comfort and energy efficiency are interrelated concepts. In BASIX, you can demonstrate the sustainability and efficiency of your thermal systems (passive heating/cooling and HVAC usage) through the NatHERS assessment. The BASIX consultants can also help you with this assessment and reporting.
Passive Design Strategies
Passive design strategies tap into the inherent power of nature to achieve the thermal comfort of a dwelling. Some proven passive design strategies include cross-ventilation and shading. Cross ventilation facilitates free air movement, thus naturally cooling indoor spaces and reducing the need for energy-intensive air conditioning. Shading, through the intelligent placement of structures (awnings, tilted roofs, sun shades, etc.) or vegetation, shields interiors from the crude glare of the sun. All these design elements prevent overheating during scorching days.
Double-glazed windows entail two layers of glass with a gap in between, creating a barrier that insulates against temperature extremes. In cold weather, they prevent indoor heat from escaping, and in hot weather, they block out unwanted heat. Therefore, by maintaining a consistent indoor temperature, double-glazed windows enhance thermal comfort, contribute to substantial energy savings and make your project comply with the increased standards required in the BASIX certificate.
Solid Foundation of Thermal Mass
Materials with high thermal mass, for example, concrete or stone, absorb and store heat during the day and release it slowly at night. This natural rhythm helps stabilise indoor temperature fluctuations, preventing abrupt changes that can disrupt comfort and reducing pressure on the HVAC systems. Thus, with just a simple inclusion in your building design, you achieve two objectives.
Water Conservation Strategies
Water is both a vital resource and a limited commodity. Therefore, the NSW Government also introduced the concept of water conservation in the BASIX.
Low-Flow Fixtures and Water-Efficient Appliances
These innovations curb excessive consumption without compromising functionality. Low-flow toilets, faucets, and showers ensure that every drop serves its purpose, while water-efficient appliances like dishwashers and washing machines minimise wastage. Simple modifications in water fixtures can help you achieve the BASIX water target and improve the economic value of your project in the market.
Rainwater Harvesting Systems
Rainwater harvesting systems collect rainwater from rooftops, diverting it into storage tanks for later use. This harvested rainwater is perfect for non-potable applications such as irrigation, flushing toilets, and even laundry. By incorporating provisions for rainwater harvesting, you not only reduce demand for traditional water sources but also help the occupants take a step towards self-sufficiency.
Other Innovative Inclusions
Apart from these traditional modifications, you can also include various technologically advanced and innovative energy conservation approaches to comply with BASIX standards. These include:
– Installing or making provision for rooftop solar panels that silently generate electricity from the most abundant resource on our planet – the sun.
– Introducing solar water heaters that harness the sun’s energy to heat water for domestic use, eliminating the need for electricity or gas-powered heaters. Grid-tied systems allow excess energy generated by solar panels to be fed back into the local grid, effectively turning homeowners into energy contributors.
– Installing building automation systems that control lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), and other essential functions based on occupancy patterns and external conditions. This ensures that energy is allocated precisely where and when it’s needed.
Need help with the BASIX report and certificate? Connect with reputed energy professionals today to kickstart your residential project.