How to Build an BASIX Compliant, Energy Efficient Home?


What is BASIX?

BASIX, or The Building Sustainability Index, a part of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, was launched in 2004 by the NSW Government to drive sustainable, environmentally friendly homes.

The performance target defines by the NSW Government under the BASIX scheme include:

  • 40% reduction in potable water usage
  • 40% reduction in carbon footprints
  • Minimum required performance levels for thermal comfort

A BASIX certificate is the minimum requirement for initiating a residential construction in NSW.

Passive Design For Energy Efficient, BASIX Home

Various building plans and design elements need to function together to achieve an energy-efficient residential building. Passive Design principles are the key to deliver a BASIX compliant energy-efficient home.

Around 40% of residential energy consumption in the Australian subcontinent is due to the heating and cooling requirements to achieve a comfortable thermal level.

A passive design emphasizes building practices that take advantage of your building’s geographical location, climatic condition, etc., to naturally maintain a comfortable thermal level. This enables a comfortable home every time of the year with reduced energy consumption for additional heating and cooling.

Get your BASIX report filled by a professional consultant to avoid delays in your project plan.

Expert thermal performance assessors incorporate passive design strategies in energy rating software to help you obtain a BASIX certificate.

What Is Passive Design?

In simple words, the passive design innovations implement strategies to utilize solar heating principles for heating and cooling purposes.

Therefore the residential building needs less energy expenditure on heating and cooling devices. The building remains cool during hot months and warm in the winters.

Whilst passive design may involve higher upfront costs in the building design and certain construction materials, the overall project is a cost-effective solution since-

  • it saves on energy bills
  • reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps get a BASIX certificate easier
  • higher value in the market

The passive design principles consider various factors that function in a balanced way.

7 Factors That You Need To Consider For Building A BASIX Compliant Energy-Efficient Home

Considering The Climatic Zone Of Your Residential Project

Australia is divided into eight major climate zones ranging from hot, humid to cold. It’s essential that you correctly identify your climate zone in the designing and conceptualization phase itself.

A building design that is excellent for tropical homes would not prove beneficial for a home located in cool, temperament zones.

The geographical location of your building is the first factor considered in the BASIX report.

The Orientation of Your Building

Orientation is defined as the positioning of your building at the construction site to take optimum benefit of the sun angles and breezes pertaining to that particular climatic zone.

For instance, residents in southern Australian zones should face north for maximum sun exposure to utilize natural heat during cold seasons.

You need to document this factor in your BASIX report.

Incorporating Shading Features

Shading is an essential component of your building’s passive design strategy to reduce temperature increases from direct sunlight during the hot season. The shading factor is extremely beneficial for tropical homes where the climate is primarily hot and humid.

Incorporating Shading design elements include window shadings or awnings, eaves, and roof overhangs, installing plantation shutters, glazing materials, etc.

You need to document all these factors to obtain your BASIX certificate. If area permits, planting large deciduous trees can be an environmental-friendly way to block sun exposure during summers and allowing it through during Winter months.

Also Read: 12 Tips And Tricks To Build A BASIX Compliant Energy Efficient Home

Building Sealing

Air leaks can be a major cause of heat loss and heat gain. Therefore, to obtain a BASIX certificate, it’s mandatory to implement an optimum sealing strategy.

Minimizing air leaks is one of the simplest ways to enhance your home’s thermal comfort levels and reduce energy bills. However, you should keep in mind the climatic zone of your project. In certain zones, airtight sealing may cause condensation and air quality concerns.

The Thermal Mass Of Your Construction Material

Thermal mass determines construction materials’ energy storage, heat absorption, energy release, and heat distribution capacity.

While preparing your design and BASIX report, consider the thermal mass of your construction according to the climatic zones. High thermal mass materials like concrete have a greater capacity to store energy, while low thermal mass materials like wood reflect heat.

Window Glazing

Another crucial factor in the BASIX report is the window glazing. Glazing is a significant element for heat gain (during Summer months) and loss (in Winter months). Therefore it’s crucial for a good Passive Design strategy.

Choosing the correct glazing options, window sizes, and location inside the home is mainly dependent on the climate zone of your project.

Insulation Level Of Your Building

Well-insulated window covering/glazing, walls, roofs/ceiling, and floors are excellent for keeping heat inside or outside (depending on what is required in your climatic zone). This approach helps to maintain year-round comfortable thermal levels and reduce energy bill expenditures.

Again, insulation needs to be documented in your BASIX report.

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