Do I need a NatHERS assessment?
NatHERS assessments produce an energy rating certificate with a star rating. Based on which state your project is located in the required star ratings may vary. In Victoria every new home is required to achieve a rating of at least 6 stars. The energy certificate must be submitted with your building permit application.
Where do you operate?
Our office is based in Melbourne and we are accredited with the Building Designers Association Victoria (BDAV). We are licensed to work all across Australia (except Canberra) including producing BASIX certificates for projects located in NSW.
What is passive solar building design?
Passive solar building design is a set of strategies that minimise the requirements for mechanical heating and cooling. Examples of such strategies are:
Thermal mass helps reduce the heat influx in summer by taking on and storing the incoming heat during the day. Hence the interior does not warm up as much. At night time it gives up the heat which is, with the help of ventilation, transported out of the building.
Eaves are used to protect window areas from sunlight in summer when the sun is high in the sky, but let the sun shine through the windows in winter when the warming effect of the sun is desired. Eaves also provide some protection from rain.
Insulation reduces the heat flow in and out of the building in both summer and winter, hence improving the thermal performance of the building. Insulation batts also help to dampen noise coming in from the outside.
Trees can provide shading to windows on the east and west side of the building protecting the window areas that cannot be shaded by e.g. eaves because the sun is very low in the sky. Trees may also alter the strength and direction of the wind conditions around a building and depending on the location either positively or negatively support other passive measure such as ventilation.
How does the height and form of a building affect its thermal performance?
The higher the building the more difficult it becomes to use passive solar design principles, e.g. eaves. At a higher height eaves need to extend out further to provide appropriate shading in summer.
The more complex the shape of the building the more complex the arrangement of passive design elements become. Designs might reach the point where passive solar design is not possible and expensive materials need to be used to achieve the required energy rating. Passive solar design is one of the cheapest components in the quest of achieving the required energy rating.