From July 1st, 2004 all new buildings, including units and additions will need to meet the requirements of BASIX. At the time of lodging plans with Council, an additional certificate will need to be presented before approval is given. The building designer or architect will be the person that completes the online form which must achieve a pass mark before approval can be given by Basix. The criteria covers the energy requirements of the building, as well as the water usage of the property. The relevant information is fed into an online form and the results are printed out and attached to the building application.
The requirements of BASIX are different to the previous NatHers system which is used in other states. BASIX requires the assessment of water usage. All developments now require the installation of a rainwater management system. This means a collection tank at/or below ground level. The main tank can collect roof water, with this water being used to service toilets, laundries, gardens and for washing cars. Surface water usually discharges to a pit or the street. Landscaping, including type of plants and watering systems also form part of the assessment. Mains water will still be supplied to the main part of the building including bathrooms (but not the toilets) and the kitchen. Energy efficient shower heads will become standard. The target is a 40% reduction in use of drinking quality water in the average house.
The energy usage of the building is also to be assessed. This is measured against the amount of energy that the house will use. Air conditioning units will detract from the energy rating as it consumes electricity. Energy efficient glass and windows help as they reduce the heat loss in winter and reduce the need for air conditioners. Insulation in the walls and roof also help. Gas and solar hot water tanks rate much higher then electric systems and will almost be standard. Energy efficient lighting is also a benefit. Eave overhang to windows reduce the sun onto windows and will reduce the temperature within the building during summer.
The target is to reduce greenhouse gases by 25%. The greenhouse gases are usually a result of burning coal to generate electricity which is then used to heat, cool or to used in the day to day operation of a building.
From July 2017, there will be an increase in energy targets in buildings. Improvements in design and technology will allow these changes to occur. The target is a 10% improvement in houses and low rise units and 5% for mid to high rise on the previous targets.
While the initial costs will be higher, the benefit will be gained over the years and costs recovered in lower running costs for the building. More information can be obtained on the website of www.basix.nsw.gov.au.