The BASIX energy targets in NSW will be changing on 1 July 2017.
Since 2005 the benchmark energy target has been 40 for houses, which means that a new home will on average produce 40% less greenhouse gas emissions than a pre-BASIX home.
The changes taking effect will result in energy targets increases by 10% for houses and low-rise units, and by 5% for mid and high-rise units. However, the increase will vary based on the location of the dwelling.
What is changing?
Energy targets will increase by 10% for houses and low-rise units, and by 5% for mid and high-rise units and these increases to the current targets vary depending on the location of the dwelling.
For houses in metropolitan areas and coastal regions the targets are increasing from 40 to 50. In regional areas the targets for houses are increasing from 25 to between 35-45. For mid and high-rise units there the targets will also increase but generally by a smaller margin.
Maps showing the target increases for each postcode can be viewed on the BASIX webpage: energy and thermal comfort heating and cooling caps.
Ensure you carefully check what zone your project is in as the zones have been updated creating significant jumps in stringency for certain areas.
What do the changes mean?
The new targets will lift the energy efficiency stringency for Class 1 and Class 2 buildings and Class 4 parts of a building in NSW.
The changes will result in an increase in the thermal comfort score (heating and cooling caps) for buildings and align more closely with the national building standards for building insulation and glazing requirements (thermal comfort) contained in the BCA i.e. an equivalent 6 star energy rating.
While every house is different considering climate, design, orientation, window sizes and locations and insulation properties are typical responses to the changes that are expected for an average house.
Two of the three existing methods to demonstrate compliance with the thermal comfort target will be retained – DIY and simulation. The ‘Rapid Method’ will no longer be available when the changes take effect.
The DIY method is prescriptive and locks in the products that must be used according to the climate zone for the project. Some changes to the DIY method is forecasted to limit it to projects within a listed eligibility criteria i.e. dwelling can only be one or two storeys, max conditioned floor area not to exceed 300 m², no more than 40 windows, etc.
The Simulation method is generally used for more complex designs and sites with poor orientation. The Simulation method provides better scope to find cost effective solutions for a project
Will water targets change?
No. The government is not currently making changes to water targets but will undertake consultation on potential changes during 2017.
When will the change take effect?
The BASIX online assessment tool will incorporate these changes as of 1 July 2017.
There is however a transitional period for applications which are in progress up until 30 September 2017. BASIX certificates generated before July 1 will still be accepted for Development Approvals and Complying Development Certificates intended to be lodged with council or a private certifier before 30 September 2017.
The changes will not affect any Development Approval or Complying Development Certificates that has been approved and will not affect Construction Certificates for projects which already have approval.
Can I trial changes to the BASIX tool?
Yes. A BETA testing version of the tool will be available to trial for practitioners’ mid-May.
If you are unsure about the potential impact of the change on projects currently in design phase, it is recommended that you undertake testing using the BETA version as soon as it becomes available.
Further information on the changes
The NSW Department of Planning has further information on BASIX and the BASIX target changes which can be found at www.planning.nsw.gov.au.
HIA Executive Director – Hunter