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Futureproof your home: The Essential Guide to Energy Efficiency in Australia

Bradford Insulation 5 mins read
Bradford Insulation

As Australians contend with rising home prices, the significant surge in gas and electricity costs, which far outstrips inflation, highlights energy-efficient homes as a crucial solution for keeping costs down. Building or renovating your home with the right insulation isn’t just about comfort – it’s about creating a sustainable future and saving on energy bills, no matter the season. Here’s how you can make the most out of insulation to enjoy year-round comfort and contribute to a healthier planet.

Understanding Insulation Basics and Energy Efficiency

Insulation acts to slow down heat flow and is essential for regulating the temperature between inside and outside.  It’s typically installed in walls, ceilings and floors. Older Australian homes often lack adequate insulation, making them extremely hot in summer. As a result, improving even the most accessible roof and ceiling insulation can help minimise heat loss, which in turn reduces the need to rely on appliances, potentially saving up to 45% on heating and cooling costs.[1]

Homeowners embarking on new builds should proactively discuss with their builder what type of insulation will be installed in the walls and whether it is considered standard or an upgrade. This initial decision is crucial as retrofitting wall insulation in these newly constructed homes is not feasible later during renovations, especially due to structural limitations. For existing homes, opting for roof and ceiling insulation remains an effective alternative to enhance thermal efficiency. It’s important for homeowners to confirm the insulation type during the planning phase to ensure their new home reaches the right level of comfort and energy efficiency from the start.

As of October 2023, Australia’s National Construction Code mandates a 7-Star energy efficiency requirement for new homes to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This standard ensures that modern homes are built to a higher energy efficiency target. The implementation timeline and specific requirements vary by state and territory, affecting local building and renovation practices. So, what does this mean for where you live?

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

  • The ACT has been proactive, adopting both liveable housing and 7-Star provisions from 1 October 2023. Homeowners and builders in the ACT must enhance their insulation levels, especially in walls, ceilings, and floors, to help meet these higher standards, which is the most cost-effective method to ensure minimal heat loss in winter and reduced heat gain in summer.

New South Wales (NSW)

  • NSW has already aligned the BASIX thermal targets with 7-Star rating and adjusting its energy targets to match whole-of-home energy usage. These changes will necessitate the use of higher-performing insulation materials that help to address both thermal bridging in steel framing and seasonal temperature variations, particularly in climates ranging from warm temperate (Zone 5) to cool temperate (Zone 7).

Northern Territory (NT)

  • While the NT implemented the liveable housing provisions from 1 October 2023, it will continue to maintain the 5-Star energy efficiency requirements for now. This will be a phased approach to energy efficiency standards in the territory.

Queensland (QLD)

  • Set for 1 May 2024, Queensland is gearing up to implement the 7-Star energy efficiency standard across new home construction. This upgrade will enhance the energy efficiency of the building shell and include considerations for the energy consumption of household appliances for the first time. It’s crucial for those building or renovating to focus on features like optimal house orientation and high-performing insulation, which are key to maximising comfort and achieving energy savings. The new standards not only contribute to make homes more comfortable and reduce living costs but also aim to lower emissions, providing a net benefit to the community and aligning with Queensland’s commitment to a sustainable future.

South Australia (SA)

  • With the transition to the 7-Star energy efficiency requirement extended to 1 October 2024, South Australia is currently exploring exemptions for certain types of housing. This consideration implies that while the new standards will eventually apply broadly, specific housing types might receive adjustments to their compliance requirements. For homeowners in South Australia, particularly those in the warm temperate climate of Zone 5, this means that while there is more time to prepare for these changes, it’s important to focus on selecting insulation solutions suited to mild winters and warm summers. Homeowners planning construction or renovations need to ensure their homes are equipped to handle these conditions efficiently, balancing comfort with energy savings as the new standards are phased in.

Tasmania (TAS)

  • Tasmania will adopt the liveable housing provisions by 1 October 2024 but will not move to the 7-Star rating. The focus in this state remains on combating the cool temperate climate (Zone 7), with a high demand for insulation that combats cold conditions effectively.

Victoria (VIC)

  • Victoria’s transition period extends until 1 May 2024. The state’s varied climate zones from mild temperate (Zone 6) to alpine (Zone 8) demand a versatile approach to insulation, ensuring materials and building techniques can accommodate a wide range of thermal demands. This transition to 7-Star will enhance the energy efficiency of the building envelope and include considerations for the ‘whole of house’ energy consumption of household appliances for the first time, which would also assist to reduce energy consumption to lower emissions.

Western Australia (WA)

Set to adopt the 7-Star requirement by 1 May 2025, Western Australia’s vast climatic differences from hot dry summers in the north (Zone 3) to cooler southern regions (Zone 6) necessitate a highly adaptive insulation strategy to meet the varying needs.

The climate varies significantly across Australia, and is categorised from Climate Zone 1, high humidity summers and warm winters to alpine conditions of Climate Zone 8. To maximise energy efficiency and comfort, it’s crucial to select the right insulation type based on your local climate.

Making sure your home is compliant

One easy way to ensure that your home is built or renovated to meet new standards is by checking local regulations or speaking to your builder, who can also advise accordingly. Upfront costs for quality insulation may be slightly higher but the long-term savings on energy bills and increased home comfort are invaluable investments.

Comfort comes in many forms and there are different ways to insulate your home. By choosing insulation products, we can achieve significant strides in sustainability and environmental conservation. These efforts not only benefit individual households but also contribute to broader initiatives aimed at combating climate change.

For details about how Bradford Insulation products can help make your home more energy efficient, check out https://www.bradfordinsulation.com.au/.

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About us:

About Bradford Insulation

Bradford Insulation, part of the CSR Group, is one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of insulation solutions for both residential and commercial spaces. With an extensive range of products designed to control temperature fluctuations and in turn reduce dependency on energy-consuming heating and cooling appliances, Bradford can help to create healthy & comfortable homes and places to work. Bradford is proud to celebrate 90 years of supporting Australia. With a commitment to building better with a focus on quality and compliance with Australian Standards and its understanding of Australia’s diverse climate zones and environments, Bradford is trusted by architects, builders, and homeowners with their insulation needs. Unyielding in its pursuit of excellence, Bradford Insulation is helping to shape the future of the industry with a commitment to customers, society, and the environment. For more information visit https://www.bradfordinsulation.com.au/


Contact details:

Lisa Lim| lisa@nichegroup.com.au | 0478 966 468

Kate Crosbie | kate@nichegroup.com.au | 0437 087 807

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