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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    QUEENSLAND HOMES GO GREEN

    Premier
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Sunday, December 14, 2008

    QUEENSLAND HOMES GO GREEN

    All new houses in Queensland will be required to achieve a minimum 5 stars (out of 10) energy equivalent rating from early next year under new sustainable housing regulations.

    Premier Anna Bligh said the 5-star rating—which will also apply to major renovations where possible—is just one of several new mandatory regulations covering house design and construction, and energy and water fixtures and fittings.

    “If we want to build a greener future for Queensland, the change has to start at home,” said Ms Bligh.

    “One of our targets under the Towards Q2: Tomorrow’s Queensland program is to cut the State’s carbon footprint by a third and these measures will reduce the amount of electricity we use.

    “From 1 March 2009, the current minimum rating will be increased to 5 stars instead of the current 3.5 to 4.

    “This rating applies to the building shell: roof, walls, windows and floors.

    “It means architects and designers will need to give more thought to the orientation of the house, location of rooms, amount of insulation, ventilation, shading such as eves and awnings, and window location and size.

    “This will increase the natural comfort of homes and lower energy use by reducing the need for air conditioners and heaters.

    “We expect this will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 85,000 tonnes by 2020—equivalent to taking 17,000 cars off the road.”

    Ms Bligh said the higher rating would also apply to all new units from 1 March 2010.

    The announcement of the new regulations follows three months of public consultation on a discussion paper—Improving sustainable housing in Queensland—which proposed 11 new measures.

    Nearly all the proposed measures were strongly supported by the community and building industry stakeholders and will be implemented over the next two years.

    They also include:

    Better recognition of outdoor living areas: From 1 March 2009, outdoor living areas connected to an indoor living area of a new or extensively renovated house will attract a credit towards its energy equivalence rating. This credit will only apply to fully-covered outdoor living areas that are at least 12 m2 in size and attached to homes in the ‘tropical’ and ‘sub-tropical’ climate zones (prescribed by Building Codes Australia). The Department of Infrastructure and Planning will consult with the building industry on whether the credit should be 0.5 star or 1 star.

    4-star toilets, 3-star tapware and 80 per cent energy-efficient lighting in new houses and units: From 1 March 2009, all new houses and units will be required to install minimum 4-star Water Efficient Labelling Standards (WELS) Scheme rated toilets, 3-star WELS rated tapware to kitchen sinks, bathroom basins and laundry taps, and energy-efficient lighting to 80 per cent of fixed internal lights. Irrigation systems—in areas of Queensland where they are not prohibited under water restrictions—will also be required to be water-efficient, e.g. low-flow systems.

    Prevention of residential estate covenants that restrict the use of energy-efficient design features and fixtures: Laws will be introduced as quickly as possible to render invalid new and existing covenants and body corporate statements or by-laws that restrict an owner or body corporate from using selected sustainable features, such as roof-mounted solar hot water systems.

    Preventing the sale and installation of inefficient air-conditioners: From 1 July 2009, newly installed air-conditioners will be required to meet 4-star Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS). Laws will also be introduced to prohibit the sale of air-conditioners in Queensland that do not meet this minimum rating.

    Sustainability declaration: From 1 January 2010, a sustainability declaration must be completed as part of the sale of a house or unit. It will not form part of the contract of sale, but rather serve to inform prospective buyers about the sustainability features of the dwelling. This requirement will not apply to rental properties.

    “There will be further investigations and consultation on other measures such as a star rating for building materials, minimum energy ratings for pool pumps, and higher performance standards for large new homes,” Ms Bligh said.

    Media Contact: Matthew Klar 0437 435 223