The energy efficiency bar has been lifted for the residential building market with the recent confirmation that the minimum energy efficiency requirement for new buildings will rise from five stars to six stars and will take effect no later than May 2011.
The new measures offer greater opportunity for building professionals to respond to consumer expectations for more energy efficient housing by encouraging the selection of energy efficient materials and building components in the early stages of a building’s design.
According to the Australian Building Code Board’s Energy Efficient 2010 provisions, with most other building elements at practical limits of thermal performance, glazing is the remaining pathway to better ratings.
Lachlan Austin, General Manager of Marketing for Viridian, the glass manufacturing and processing business of CSR Ltd, says this is an exciting time for the industry to take advantage of the improved technologies in high performance windows and glazing that are available in the market today.
Lachlan points to the fact that, increasingly, better windows will be required to satisfy the customers’ desire to limit their environmental impact and household energy costs while also maximize their views, light, and home aesthetic appeal.
“By considering the more technologically advanced glass alternatives, builders and architects can more easily meet these requirements and clearly demonstrate improved value for their client,” Lachlan said.
“Our consumer research tells us that for people building their own home, capturing views and natural light is fundamental – a home design with ample well-positioned windows is a ‘given’.
“Yet, with increasing community interest in environmental impacts and rising energy prices, underscored by the forthcoming changes to the building regulations, they also want a home that helps decrease their energy bills, and reduce their carbon footprint.
“These two concepts – appealing light and spacious homes and energy efficiency – are by no means mutually exclusive. There is still every opportunity to give people building their own home what they want.
“We are fortunate to have a glass and window industry here in Australia which is passionate and knowledgeable about the many choices available and are primed to support other building professionals in selecting the best options for each project.
“The great virtue of the high performance windows and glass available today is they can contribute significantly to meeting the 6 Star standards and provide a higher benchmark of home comfort WITHOUT sacrificing the outlook, spaciousness and natural light available in the home.
“For example, our Low E glass, which we now manufacture here in Australia, achieves a high insulation performance with just a single sheet of glass, as easy to handle and install as ordinary glass.
“The same Low E glass can be incorporated into other glazing systems, such as the Viridian ComfortPlus™ range of laminated glass and Viridian ThermoTechETM double glazing, which offers up to 68% better insulation than ordinary glass.
“Through combining the properties of different glass make-ups we can achieve energy efficient glazing systems that offer a wide range of other benefits, such as noise reduction, increased safety and security, and reduction of condensation on the windows.
“Simply by identifying key issues at the design stage, attractive glass products can be selected to match specific applications to achieve valuable, long lasting energy efficient performance to meet the 6 Star requirements – these well-proven technologies are accessible right now to home-builders and renovators throughout Australia,” Lachlan said.
For more information on Viridian and how to implement creative solutions using glass and windows to help meet these new requirements, visit our website, or to better understand and prepare yourself for the opportunities available through high performance windows, see www.seebeyondwindows.com.au.