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Unhealthy advances in Australian building regulations


Dewsbury, MA and Nath, S and Olaoye, T and Kunzel, H, Unhealthy advances in Australian building regulations, InnoRenew CoE International Conference, 10-11 June 2021, Online (2021) [Conference Extract]

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Housing in Australia is mostly low rise, detached dwellings, with a timber-framed structure (Nolan and Dewsbury, 2006). Due to Australia’s generally temperate climates, national building regulations requiring the insulation of houses was not introduced until 2003. The primary focus of these new regulations was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are associated with energy used to heat and/or cool houses (ABCB, 2003). Since 2003, there have been three significant enhancements to the energy efficiency requirements requiring greater levels of envelope insulation and air-tightness (Ambrose, et al, 2013; Ambrose and Syme, 2015). The Australian regulations have included the establishment of the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, (NatHERS), which initially set the bar at 4 Stars in 2003, followed by 5 Stars and 6 Stars. It is planned that the national residential energy efficiency building regulations will advance to 7 Stars in 2022. However, the singular focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, without due consideration of hygrothermal design principles has created an influx of housing constructed in the last fifteen years that has shown unwanted surface condensation, interstitial condensation and mould growth (Dewsbury and Law, 2016; Law and Dewsbury, 2018; Nath et al., 2019). The team at the University of Tasmania has explored steady-state, hybrid and transient hygrothermal simulation methods, settling on the transient WUFI suite of hygrothermal simulation tools in 2018. One of the key challenges facing the national building regulatory framework is the diversity of hot-humid climates to cool-temperate climates that span between the northern and southern reaches of the continent. Attempting to have all jurisdictions agree on the need for regulatory development poses significant challenges for forwardthinking manufacturers, researchers and regulators. This paper will report on the Australian experience to date, current areas of research focus at the University of Tasmania and plans for ongoing improvements to bio-hygrothermal simulation and national regulatory improvement.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:energy efficiency, air-tightness, condensation, hygrothermal, bio-hygrothermal, timber-framed construction, mould, Interior Air Quality (IAQ),
Research Division:Built Environment and Design
Research Group:Architecture
Research Field:Architectural science and technology
Objective Division:Construction
Objective Group:Construction design
Objective Field:Residential construction design
UTAS Author:Dewsbury, MA (Dr Mark Dewsbury)
UTAS Author:Nath, S (Mrs Shruti Nath)
UTAS Author:Olaoye, T (Mr Toba Olaoye)
ID Code:144822
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Architecture and Design
Deposited On:2021-06-15
Last Modified:2021-07-02

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