Sustainability tools and frameworks for high performance housing

29 Oct 2017

Residential housing is a major contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with most emissions being generated during the operation of buildings. The housing sector is considered by many as presenting the most cost effective opportunities to reduce GHG emissions and the use of assessment tools and frameworks can assist in the guidance of design, implimentation and operation to improve buidling efficiency and performance to achieve this goal.Currently there are two tools used in Australia for the mandatory assessment of energy efficiency in residential buildings at the design stage. The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) is the most wellknown, being mandatory in five out of six Australian States. The Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) replaces NatHERS in New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).Energy efficiency is clearly a key component in reducing household GHG emissions, however Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) that account for the carbon footprint across the life of the building should also be considered. Other characteristics such as accessibility, adaptability, and livability are all important in the context of improving the sustainability of residential buildings.This Report provides an overview of NatHERS and Basix, as well introduces two emerging sustainability tools (eTool LCA and ARCActive1). A high performance housing Case Study is provided to demonstrate how these tools and framworks can be applied.Keywords: High performance housing; Sustainability rating; low carbon housing