Future Canberra House: Defining a new standard of residential construction in cool climates

Project: Research

Project Details


The implementation of sound environmental design principles -orientation, sun shading and insulation - gives rise to better homes demonstrating a reduced reliance on heating and cooling. The energy required to build, heat and cool our homes constitutes the majority of an average household’s contribution to environmental impact and the emission of greenhouse gasses. A reality, sadly underpinned by an absence of meaningful government-regulation, namely legislated targets, related to embodied energy, thermal performance and energy consumption.

Despite this, growing community ecological concern and household awareness of the financial burden imposed by poorly designed and constructed homes is leading to a grass-roots increase in the demand for, and adoption of, sustainable design practices in both new build and retrofit markets. That this cultural change has already been observed by the financial sector, is evidenced by Bank Australia’s recent launch of a Clean Energy Home Loan scheme for any home that attains a minimum 7-star rating against the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) criteria.

This research asks a fundamental question: What does a NatHERS 7-star dwelling look like and what are the barriers to achieve it? Given Canberra's climate is among the most challenging in Australia, any lessons learnt here will offer valuable knowledge and insights to the rest of the country.
Effective start/end date1/07/201/05/21


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