Changes to the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 are set to make a minimum Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) efficiency rating of 7 stars mandatory in all new home builds.
For builders, architects, and designers this may involve rethinking your materials, layouts, orientations, and construction methods.
The Catch of Double-Glazing
Synonymous with energy-efficient homes is the use of double-glazed windows - and it’s not hard to see why. Double-glazing can improve your home insulation by 40%, make your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer - and go a long way towards making 7-star compliant homes.
However, like all good things, there’s a catch.
Double-glazing is more expensive than single-glazing, and when combined with the cost of energy-efficient material, insulation and design - these are costs that you’ll ultimately have to pass on to your consumers.
It’s estimated that the added cost for a new home to achieve 7-stars can be as much as $23,000 depending on the size of the build, potentially passing the feasibility point for some home buyers.
There are some alternatives to double-glazing that may help you achieve a 7-star rating at a lower price in some cases.
Alternatives to Double-Glazing Can Include:
Timber Windows and Doors.
Not only does timbers luxurious aesthetic and warm appeal look great, but it can also improve the energy efficiency of your home. By reducing heat transfer, timber can save you money on energy bills by creating living spaces that are cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
This style of glazing works similarly to double-glazing in that it aims to absorb and reflect radiant energy. But the similarities end at cost and efficacy. Low-e windows are substantially cheaper than double-glazed windows but not as energy efficient. But, depending on the needs of the home and the window location, a Low-E option could be a great choice.
Low Floor-to-Glass Ratios
Glass typically represents a thermal weak point in any building - so generally speaking, less glass = a more efficient home. With a home built with less glass overall, you may be able to get away with single-glazed or Low-E options - depending on home location and orientation.
Lower U Values on South Facing Windows
In Australia, you’re always going to want your most thermally efficient (and expensive) windows facing North, but you might be able to get away with windows with a lower U value. U values, which refer to the thermal transmittance ratings of heat through a structure, can be lower in south-facing areas of a home due to lower levels of regular sun exposure.
It is important to remember that replacing double-glazed windows may not always be possible - and they make a great option to any home.
If you or your team need guidance around the best window and door options to meet the needs of your projects, get in touch with our team of experts.
They’ll be able to tell you when you are better off going for double-glazed windows, and when there might be a cheaper alternative that you can use to meet NatHERS ratings.
Get in touch with our team here.
Or learn more about the changes to new home energy requirements in the NCC 2022.