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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Energy Efficiency Rating for Apartments

A few weeks ago, I was speaking to one of our valued Developers, who had questions about the energy efficiency rating for apartments.  It seems to be a grey area that is not clearly understood.  With the new regulations coming into effect May 2011, I thought to write this newsletter to dispel some of the mysteries.
In the table below, I have simplified the current and future requirements of the BCA.


Energy Efficiency Requirements for Apartments for Classes 2 and 4
Comments and application for insulation
Current Regulations BCA 2009 Section J0.2
·         Individual apartment to be not less than 3 stars
·         Combined average of all apartments to be not less than 5 stars
·         Services not required
·         External walls to be insulated by minimum R1.5
·         Wall insulation between apartments not required, only optional
·         Highest floor to be insulated by minimum R2.5
·         Ceiling insulation between apartments not required, only optional
From May 2011 Regulations BCA 2010 Section J0.2
·         Individual apartment to be not less than 5 stars
·         Combined average of all apartments to be not less than 6 stars
·         BCA Section 3.12.5.5, artificial lighting requirement to be 5W/m2 for living areas
·         External walls to be insulated by minimum R2.0
·         Wall insulation between apartments recommended minimum of R1.5
·         Highest floor to be insulated by minimum R3.5
·         Ceiling insulation between apartments recommended minimum of R2.5



Sustainability Tip
For building permit application, rainwater tank and solar hot water are not required for either the BCA or Building Commission requirement for class 2 and 4 buildings. However, they may be requested by Councils for planning applications as an ESD management requirement.
However, a rainwater tank or a solar hot water system is required for class 1 buildings (detached or units) as part of the Building Commission Practice Note 2008 – 55 requirement.
For further information, feel free to contact myself at Efficient Energy Choices, on 03 9390 2934 or via email at info@efficientenergychoices.com.au
Share your feedback or questions....
Talk again soon,

Karim Ghobrial
Electrical Engineer; Energy and Sustainability Consultant


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

NEWSFLASH - R2.5 to fit inside a 90mm Stud Wall

Over the last couple of years, I have spoken to many people who have found it difficult to find wall insulation batts of R2.5 to fit inside a 90mm stud wall.
Recently, I came across an email update from The Insulation Council of Australia and New Zealand (ICANZ). The members are Bradford and Fletcher insulation. Fletcher has just come out with these great pink batts products of R2.5 and R2.7 that can fit inside a 90mm stud wall. You can visit their website for more information http://www.insulation.com.au/.
When it comes to energy rating and assessment, additional wall insulation can make a huge difference and save on other material and labour costs on site to comply. I recently rated this large double-storey house of approximately 45 sq/m for a volume builder. The house (depicted below) has a large number of windows and I found it difficult to achieve 5 stars compliance.
Drawing: courtesy of Simonds Homes, used by permission.
The table below outlines our findings:

Ceiling Insulation
Wall Insulation
Energy Rating Efficiency
Comments
1st trial
R3.5 for upper floor
R2.0
4.8
Standard insulation throughout the house. Ceiling insulation only for upper floor
2nd trial
R3.5 per floor
R2.0
5.6
A significant increase for energy rating efficiency. Ceiling insulation per each floor would be required, adding additional material and labour costs. However, this cost is minimal in comparison to double-glazing or treated glazing.
3rd trial
R3.5 for upper floor
R2.5
5.0
A sufficient increase for energy rating efficiency to comply. Ceiling insulation only for upper floor. The only additional cost is to upgrade the wall insulation from R2.0 to R2.5. This is a minor cost increase in comparison to the 2nd trial.


As you can see from the above trials, R2.5 for wall insulation can be very effective for compliance, whether to current regulations for 5 stars or for upcoming regulations, 6 stars from May 2011. 
What are your thoughts on this one?
Cheers
Karim Ghobrial

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Part 3 - What about wall insulation?

Did you know that wall insulation can affect your star-rating by up to 35%?  Now thatcartoon house's worth looking into further....

We recently rated a double-storey dwelling; walls for both floors were light weight Polystyrene 75mm foam board. The project complied with 5 stars exactly, with ComfortPlus type windows. The client requested to change the ground floor from Polystyrene to brick type. When rated, it did not comply, it was 4.9 stars. We suggested the use of Air-Cell Glareshield foil type or an approved equivalent, giving additional insulation of approx R1.7 to the ground floor walls. Total wall insulation = R2.0 + R1.7 = R3.7. When it was rated, it complied at 5.2 stars.

Good quality foil products can significantly increase insulation performance and improve the energy rating efficiency. They can also be used in roof, giving additional insulation of approx R1.2. Total ceiling/roof insulation = R4.0 + R1.2 = R5.2. For suspended enclosed timber floors, Air-Cell Permifloor 500 or approved equivalent, will give R.3.

For application in apartment buildings, even though each apartment is already thermally insulated and protected by its adjacent neighbours,  adding wall insulation between apartments will be of great benefit. From our experience, this will significantly increase the thermal rating efficiency by approximately 10% - 20%, and provide acoustic benefits as well of approximately 8 - 10 dB(A).

For commercial application, classes 5 - 9, the minimum requirement is a total of R2.3 for concrete / brick type walls. This can be easily achieved by R2.0 insulation batts plus foil and construction material such as plaster, studs, air-gap, etc...  For office internal walls in warehouse buildings, the minimum is R1.8. This can be achieved by R1.5 insulation batts plus foil and construction material such as plaster, studs, air-gap, etc... 

We recently completed an offices development project in Beaconsfield and recommended  Kingspan Koolthem K17 insulated plasterboard panel, R2.8. Refer to photograph depicted. For more information about this product, refer to http://www.insulation.kingspan.com.au/.
3331029502_5b0f5b8ccb_m

When your designing new projects, consider the inherent thermal efficiencies of these wall types, ranked most efficient to least efficient:
  1. Hebal Panels
  2. Polystyrene (EPS)
  3. Brick work
  4. Weatherboard
  5. FC Sheet Cladding
  6. Metal Cladding
Have you found this to make a difference?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Does Insulation impact star-rating? Part 2

Insulation, and the impact it has on the star-rating, seems to be the hot topic at the moment. Following on from the previous issue on floor insulation, in this e-newsletter we will be discussing insulation further with a focus on ceiling insulation.

Residential Application – Class 1








(image used with permission from Joe M. Drafting Copyright 2010)

The above is a typical duplex. Unit 1 is double-storey and unit 2 is single-storey. Both units have plenty of north facing windows.

Summary of findings

Unit 1: Ceiling Insulation R3.5; Wall Insulation R2.0; Energy Rating Efficiency 6.0 stars.

Ceiling insulation used between floors. Complies with current BCA 2009 and upcoming BCA 2010.

Unit 1:  Ceiling Insulation R3.5; Wall Insulation R2.0; Energy Rating Efficiency  4.3 stars.

Ceiling insulation only used for upper floor only. Does not comply with current BCA 2009. Few windows will need to be changed to be double-glazed to increase the rating.

Unit 2: Ceiling Insulation R2.5; Wall Insulation R2.0; Energy Rating Efficiency 6.8 stars.

Complies with current BCA 2009 and BCA 2010, from May 2011. Garage internal walls and garage ceiling have been insulated and roof has sarking.

Unit 2: Ceiling Insulation R2.5; Wall Insulation R2.0; Energy Rating Efficiency 6.3 stars.

Complies with current BCA 2009 and BCA 2010, from May 2011. Without garage internal walls, ceiling insulation and sarking.

From the above, it is evident that ceiling insulation between floors will significantly increase the energy rating in an economical way. Additionally, roof sarking, garage walls and ceiling insulation can increase the energy rating by about 0.5 stars. This application is useful now for 5 stars regulation and will add value when 6 stars regulations applies from May 2011.

Insulation for Apartments – Class 2

We have recently completed several multi-level apartment projects. When ceiling insulation is proposed between floors, the energy rating efficiency will generally improve by 10% - 20%. This is significant! A particular 16 apartment project in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, had an average rating of 6.7 stars without using any treated or double-glazed windows! This complies with the current Code of a combined average of 5 stars and the upcoming BCA 2010 (to be applied from May 2011), a combined average of 6 stars.

For further information, feel free to contact our office on 03 9390 2934 or by email info@efficientenergychoices.com.au. You may also wish to visit our website http://www.efficientenergychoices.com.au/

Kind Regards,

Karim Ghobrial

Electrical Engineer; Energy and Sustainability Consultant

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Does Insulation impact star rating?

Would you agree that with the BCA 2010 being rolled out, in particular Section 3.12 and Section J, it’s never been a better time to get your head around how to improve the energy efficiency of your designs and projects? In the next few e-newsletters, we will discuss insulation.



Insulation for Timber and Suspended Floors





Houses on timber floors lose a significant amount of heat through their floors. The easiest and most economical way to improve the energy rating is to install minimum R2.0 insulation, as depicted. This insulation will make the floor as good as if it was slab on ground. We recently completed a project on timber floor. When rated with R2.0 for floor insulation, it achieved 5.9 stars. On the other hand without floor insulation, the project did not comply, only achieving 4.5 stars. For floor insulation, Air-Cell Permifloor 500 or Foil Board Super 15 or an approved equivalent can be used.


For commercial application, with a typical suspended floor without an in-slab heating or cooling system, minimum for most parts of Victoria is R1.0 for non-conditioned space to comply with Part J. For conditioned space, the minimal requirement is R2.0 Part J. For example: the floor of an office in an upper level would need to have insulation of minimum R2.0.

For further information, feel free to contact our office, Efficient Energy Choices, on 03 9390 2934 or via email at info@efficientenergychoices.com.au


You can also visit our website http://www.efficientenergychoices.com.au/