Saturday, 12 March 2011

Home lag in energy efficiency

Hobart Mercury
3 March 2011, Page: 14

A TASMANIAN building expert says the state is lagging behind the rest of the nation in energy efficiency and the State Government has some serious work ahead if it is to get homes up to standard. Energy efficiency advocate Phil Harrington said Tasmania had a lot of catching up to do with the rest of Australia, having been the last to adopt a five star energy efficiency policy, which is scheduled to become six stars nationwide in May.

"There just hasn't been enough vigilance on building regulations to ensure homes are being built up to the five star standard", he said. "That's not to say that builders are shirking their responsibility but there need to be secure measures to ensure that all homes are being built with five star energy efficiency". Mr Harrington said it would make little difference if the state was to move to a six star minimum standard, if homes still hadn't met the current five star standard.

"It's a bit of a moot point in the end", he said. "It would make little difference, as the rate of five star homes in Tasmania is already below par so how can we expect to move to six stars?" Archicentre regional manager David Hellett said it was in people's best interests to ensure builders had met the five star standard when building their homes. "Make sure you're satisfied that the standard has been met, because you don't want to find out it hasn't later down the hack", he said.

As power bills continued to rise, there was a concern the lack of energy efficiency in homes could drastically affect consumption. "The amount of homes in the state that are wasting power because of poor energy efficiency is staggering", Mr Harrington said. "If people just took a few measures to properly insulate and seal their homes, they would see a drastic difference in their power bills". He said effective insulation and weather stripping were two key components of ensuring an energy efficient home. "You can increase your home's insulation from one to four stars just by putting in proper insulation". Mr Harrington said.