Michelle Lensink

Energy, Star Rating

I seek leave to make an explanation before asking the Minister for Urban Development and Planning a question about six star green ratings.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: In May 2006, the minister announced an increase from four star to five star energy efficiency requirements. I will paraphrase the information contained in his media release, because I think there is a grammatical error in it. He stated that increased energy efficiency would help meet the target in the South Australian Strategic Plan (target 3.10) to increase energy efficiency of dwellings by 10 per cent within 10 years.

In May 2008, in a further media release from the minister and the Premier, it was stated that every property in the Blakeview development would have a five star energy rating, with a solar boosted hot water service in every house. More recently, honourable members may recall that last month the minister announced that, as of 1 September 2010, all new homes and home extensions must meet six star energy efficiency requirements. My questions are:

1. What contribution did the 2006 requirement make to the government's State Strategic Plan target?

2. Why are the new targets for increased efficiency not going to be a requirement for existing homes?

3. What percentage of South Australia's emissions come from existing residential dwellings?

4. What are the new requirements for electric gas-boosted solar hot water systems under the new six star requirements?

5. Given that the six star rating may add up to $5,000 to the cost of each home, will there be any offset for housing affordability, particularly for first home buyers?

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY (Minister for Mineral Resources Development, Minister for Urban Development and Planning, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister Assisting the Premier in Public Sector Management) (15:59): There are a number of questions there. I will take on notice some of the historical aspects of the questions and see what information can be gathered for the honourable member.
There are basically two ways the six star rating can be achieved. One is through meeting design parameters and the other is through achieving specific objectives that are set out in the building codes. Although those codes come under the Development Act and therefore are under my responsibility, they are developed by the relevant agencies that have responsibility for those matters.

I think the honourable member asked about the requirement for existing homes and why it is not retrospective. Obviously that would impose a significant burden on existing homeowners. The average life of a residential dwelling is something of the order of 40 years, and that is why it is important that we strive to ensure that all homes are energy efficient when they are built because they do have a long life. Of course, in relation to retrofitting, that would add significantly to the cost. That brings me to the last part of the honourable member's question which was about cost. In fact, the government believes—and it is the advice that we have had—that requiring a six star rating for residential dwellings should not add undue cost to new homes.

Our advice is that many of the homes that are built by the largest builders in this city are close to (if not above) a six star rating. The main way in which the six star rating can be achieved over the current five star rating is often just the orientation of the building and good design. I think the honourable member used a figure of $5,000; that should not be the case. In fact, for most builders, we believe that the cost would be much less than that. Of course, that needs to be set off against the savings that will be made. In the press release the honourable member was referring to, I provided a figure—I think it was up to about $320 per year or something of that order—that householders could save through having a more energy efficient building because of the better design of that home and the greater ability not to lose energy in winter or require extra cooling in summer.
So, there are significant savings which should apply to all new housing that is compliant with the six star rating relative to other housing. They will be significant savings, and we believe that the benefits of those savings should significantly offset any costs. As I said, the advice I had was that very few of the major builders in this city would not now be producing something fairly close to a six star rating. What is important is the orientation of housing on blocks to ensure that energy efficiency is achieved. There are some other questions the honourable member raised that were of a more historical nature, and I will take those on notice.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

In reply to the Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (6 May 2010).

The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY (Minister for Mineral Resources Development, Minister for Urban Development and Planning, Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister Assisting the Premier in Public Sector Management): I have been provided with the following information:

1. The State Strategic Plan target to increase the energy efficiency of houses by 10% is over a 10 year period. Accordingly the contribution of the incremental increase from 4 to 5 stars in 2006 is relatively small. However, as the number of new houses having this level of energy efficiency, or higher, increases as a proportion of the total housing stock the new standards will contribute towards the State Strategic Plan target, including reducing emissions by 60% of 1990 levels by 2050.

2. Changes to building requirements are as a matter of common practice not applied retrospectively. To do otherwise would require homeowners and investors to continually modify their houses to meet new building standards. Other mechanisms are used to encourage the upgrading of existing buildings. In the case of energy efficiency The National Strategy for Energy Efficiency, which has been adopted by COAG, requires the phasing in of mandatory disclosure of building performance at the time of sale or lease. South Australia is working with other jurisdictions on this and a Regulation Impact Statement is currently being prepared for public consultation. Another measure is South Australia's Residential Energy Efficiency Scheme under which energy retailers are required to deliver energy efficiency measures and energy audits to households.

3. The 2007 State Greenhouse Gas Inventory indicates that residential energy emissions amount to approximately 4 mega tonnes or 14% of South Australia's emissions. It is worth noting that since 2003 all new houses have been required to have a minimum level of energy efficiency, starting at four stars, and these now count as existing buildings.

4. In South Australia the efficiency standards for hot water systems in new houses are the same as those for replacement water heaters in existing houses and are determined by the type of heater, the capacity of the heater and the climate zone. The requirements for electric and gas boosted solar hot water systems are:

(a) An electric boosted solar heated water service or heat pump heated water service (air sourced or solar boosted) with a single tank and a volume of 400 litres or more and not more than 700 litres—

(i) At least 38 Renewable Energy Certificates in zone 3; and/or

(ii) At least 36 Renewable Energy Certificates in zone 4.
(b) An electric boosted solar heated water service or heat pump heated water service (air sourced or solar boosted) with a single tank and a volume of more than 220 litres and less than 400 litres—

(i) At least 27 Renewable Energy Certificates in zone 3; and/or

(ii) At least 26 Renewable Energy Certificates in zone 4.

(c) An electric boosted solar heated water service or heat pump heated water service (air sourced or solar boosted) with a single tank and a volume of not more than 220 litres—

(i) At least 17 Renewable Energy Certificates in zone 3; and/or

(ii) At least 16 Renewable Energy Certificates in zone 4.

(d) An electric boosted preheat solar heated water service with a series connected instantaneous booster or a second tank and a preheat tank volume of 200 litres or more and not more than 350 litres—

(i) At least 38 Renewable Energy Certificates in zone 3; and/or

(ii) At least 36 Renewable Energy Certificates in zone 4.

(e) An electric boosted preheat solar heated water service with a series connected instantaneous booster or a second tank and a preheat tank volume of more than 110 litres and less than 200 litres—

(i) At least 27 Renewable Energy Certificates in zone 3; and/or

(ii) At least 26 Renewable Energy Certificates in zone 4.

(f) An electric boosted preheat solar heated water service with a series connected instantaneous booster or a second tank and a preheat tank volume of not more than 110 litres—

(i) At least 17 Renewable Energy Certificates in zone 3; and/or

(ii) At least 16 Renewable Energy Certificates in zone 4.

(g) A natural gas or LPG boosted solar heated water service with a total tank volume of not more than 700 litres and at least 1 or more Renewable Energy Certificates in any zone.

(h) A wood combustion boosted solar water heater, with no additional heating mechanism and a total tank volume not more than 700 litres.

In these requirements Renewable Energy Certificates are those issued under the Commonwealth Government's Mandatory Renewable Energy Target Scheme and the climate zones are those according to the Australian Standard AS/NZS 4234 for Heated Water Systems—the Calculation of Energy Consumption.

The water heater requirements for South Australia for 2010 are the same as those used in 2009, with the addition of climate zone 4 to make provision for the South East and Kangaroo Island.

5. Six star houses can be built for either no or a very small additional cost provided they have a good design with all of the main living areas facing north. Accordingly the new provisions encourage people to choose affordable houses with good energy efficient design and construction while still allowing some flexibility regarding how the six star level is achieved.

 

 

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