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What is a Star-Rating?

With a recent shift by regulatory bodies towards a more environmentally sustainable Australia, the national Star-Rating program is being used to evaluate the environmental design and construction of buildings and communities throughout the nation. A minimum Star-Rating must now be achieved to obtain approval to construct a new home in Australia.

The Star-Rating system measures the heating and cooling energy efficiency of houses, with the worst performing buildings achieving a zero rating, through to a 10-star rating, for a building that needs no artificial heating or cooling. A house’s Star-Rating is determined by the design of its envelope — i.e. roof, walls, windows and floors. Star-Ratings do not take into consideration a house’s fixtures and appliances, such as hot water systems, air conditioners, lighting and fridges.

For most locations there will be a 6-Star minimum requirement. Bondor’s InsuLiving® system can help meet, and in some cases exceed, thermal and Star-Rating requirements. Please note that potential and actual energy savings are heavily reliant on good design, compatible construction methods and materials and lifestyle habits.

To see read more in Star-Ratings, see the Australian Building Codes Board.

InsulLiving® 9 Stars


How InsulLiving® Performs

Bondor’s InsulLiving® system has been CodeMark certified as meeting minimum R-values required for most climate zones.

In many instances, more energy is used to heat or cool a home than predicted by the Star-Rating system. However the reverse is true for Bondor's InsulLiving® system. Monitoring by Queensland University of Technology showed that Bondor's Burpengary InsulLiving® home, with originally a 9-Star-Rating, had the real-life performance of 9.5 Stars.

This home used far less energy, as it took far less heating and cooling power to keep it at a comfortable temperature throughout the year. It took only $160 worth of energy to control the temperature in the home for a year, compared to $520 to heat/cool a comparative 6-Star-Rating home.

What Makes InsulLiving Different?

In real life Bondor’s InsulLiving® system minimises the heat lost due to gaps, settling, thermal bridging, moisture gain, compression and incorrect installation techniques. Bondor’s InsulLiving® system provides continuous insulation, does not compress, absorb moisture, rot or settle, providing superior insulation for the life of the building.

Tips On Boosting Star-Ratings

Whilst Bondor’s InsulLiving® system will put you well on the way to meeting minimum Star-Rating requirements, there are many other proactive ways you can improve your Star-Rating. The easiest way to ensure your home is energy efficient, is to design it to suit the local climate. Ways to achieve this can include:

  • Placing non-habitable rooms such as laundries and bathrooms to the east and west.
  • Placing bedrooms to the south.
  • Placing the main living rooms such as dining and meals to the north.
  • Seriously considering the number, size and type of windows you wish to have: windows are a major source of heat loss and gain.
  • Maximising north windows and minimise western, southern and eastern windows.
  • Ensuring eaves and awning size are maximised to allow winter sun in and keep summer heat out.
  • Painting roofs and walls a lighter colour.
  • Using ceiling fans in living areas and bedrooms instead of air conditioning.
  • Promoting natural ventilation and cross breezes with well located and designed windows.
  • Considering external window treatments such as shading and coatings to reduce summer heat gain.
  • Considering internal window treatments such as the use of curtains , pelmets and double glazing to reduce winter heat loss.
  • Considering choice of window frame - metal windows without a thermal break will be a weak point in your homes thermal barrier, providing heat and cold the perfect place to enter and leave, much like a hole in your roof allows the passage of water.
  • Draught proofing by installing draught excluders on the bottom edge of doors, sealing strips around doors and windows, and ensuring exhaust fans are self sealing.
  • Use energy efficient appliances.
  • Ensure air conditioners and heaters are appropriately sized for heating and cooling needs.
  • Use floor coverings appropriate for the climate, for example using carpet can improve the Star Rating of home in Melbourne but reduce the Star Rating of a home in Brisbane.

Lifestyle Habits

Now you have designed and built you highly energy efficient home all you need to do is live in it efficiently. You can do this by ensuring the thermostat is set to a comfortable level, closing/opening doors, windows, curtains and/or shadings to utilse your homes energy efficient design by capturing cooling evening breezes or keeping out unwanted heat/cold. Think of your home as a finely tuned machine which needs to be driven with care.

Above all, keep size in mind; the bigger the home, the more difficult it is to obtain a higher star rating.

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