Domain discusses how sustainable home design is rapidly (almost explosively) becoming an essential foundation for prestige buyers. If a residence wasn’t designed for red hot summers, if it doesn’t collect rainwater or include solar panels, then what is the point of spending the money? Realistically, without these types of items, ongoing overheads are effectively increased and/or life will inevitably become less comfortable. With ongoing drought and increasing power grid load during extreme temperatures, utilities are not being taken quite so for granted.
In the same vein, a story on The Conversation asks whether the air conditioner may be contributing to our ‘unlearning’ of building practices that can help cope with summer heat. For example, the classic Aussie homestead or Queenslander style buildings with wrap-around verandahs are much better at responding to the Australian summer than many contemporary designs that favour large glass facades.
Perhaps illustrating broader Australian attitudes, a 2012 article from The Conversation discusses the relative importance that Australian building practices place on energy efficiency. Now in 2019 the same levels of the NatHERS (National House Energy Rating Scheme) are still required. From the NatHERS website: “The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) is a star rating system (out of ten) that rates the energy efficiency of a home, based on its design.” Nothing in Australia requires over 6 stars out of 10. By comparison, the article claims most developed countries require the equivalent of 8 stars.