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InsulLiving Achieves 9.5 Energy Rating

Australian residential builders looking for an energy-efficient alternative to traditional building styles can look to Bondor® InsulLiving® following a recent study that showed how the revolutionary system slashed home energy bills by almost 50 per cent.

One year after an Aussie family of four moved into Bondor’s InsulLiving® prototype house in Burpengary, QLD, the house has achieved an incredible 9.5 star ‘real life’ energy rating.

Built by Bondor® to showcase its InsulWall® and SolarSpan® thermal building products, the stylish single-storey home originally achieved an 8-star ‘as designed’ energy rating, easily surpassing the Australian Building Code’s current minimum of six stars.

Now an independent study by the Queensland University of Technology, assessing the energy performance of the house during the past year, has recalculated the home to an even higher ‘real life’ rating of 9.5 stars.

Over the monitored period, the house required much less heating and cooling than the national average, 13 per cent compared to 39 per cent, according to the report by Dr Wendy Miller of QUT’s Science and Engineering Faculty.

“The house used 48 per cent less electricity than the average South-East Queensland home, which equated to a heating and cooling bill for the year of just $160, or 44 cents a day,” Dr Miller said.

“This is because a house with a high rating of 9 stars, in this climate, provides a very high level of thermal comfort 87% of the year, without the need to purchase additional space heating or cooling.

“If occupants choose to provide additional comfort through the use of cooling or heating appliances, the energy required to provide this additional comfort is very minimal, about one third of the energy that a 6 star house would need to provide the same level of comfort.”

Dr Miller said the InsulLiving® construction, which featured structural insulated panels, “provided a more consistent and reliable insulation quality for the building envelope, compared with other construction methods.”

Bondor® general manager Geoff Marsdon said the QUT findings justified the six years of research and development that went into the InsulLiving™ system, as the next step towards zero energy housing.

“Bondor® is committed to optimising thermal efficiency in the built environment and reducing the need for heating and cooling,” Mr Marsdon said.

Mr Marsdon said the house energy rating system was based on house plans but that homes, when constructed, often failed to live up to the performance levels predicted by computer simulation. Unlike Bondor®, few building products manufacturers checked the ongoing performance of their insulation systems.

“With the cost of electricity rising all the time, this new data paints a very clear picture of how families can save money.”

Mr Marsdon stressed that the energy savings outlined in the report were only possible with a combination of good design incorporating the InsulLiving® system, in conjunction with lifestyle habits that focused on energy efficiency.

For the monitored period, the InsulLiving® house was ‘net zero energy’ for space heating and cooling, lighting and most water heating, with renewable energy sourced from a modest solar system.

Dr Miller’s report concluded that the installation of a larger, 5kW solar system would allow the home to be completely solar powered.

In order to make her assessment, Dr Miller gathered data on electrical and solar power consumption; internal room temperatures; solar cell temperatures; external wall material temperatures; internal air quality; and thermal imaging, used to highlight any gaps in insulation which indicated energy “leaks” within the home.

“In contrast [to homes built via traditional framing methods], the InsulLiving® house did not reveal large gaps in the insulation. This is to be expected, as the insulation is manufactured into the wall and roof products, eliminating the risk of poor worksite practices, during construction or maintenance, impacting negatively on thermal performance,” Dr Miller said.

For more information on the InsulLiving® system, call 1300 300 099.