Can you significantly reduce the energy requirements for standard homes? Yes!
A major project by Delfin Lend Lease, the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency, the Centre for Design at RMIT and GreenMode, using commonly available and off-the-shelf technologies, home impacts can be cut by more than a Factor of Five without any substantial redesign of the home.
The improvements are achieved on typical homes in new South-East Queensland residential development sites. Importantly these changes are affordable. Additional capital costs are approximately paid back by savings on power use.
The project models the performance of a representative selection of 35 standard homes approved and/or constructed at Springfield Lakes near Brisbane. A set of sustainability changes - including efficient appliances, construction materials, shading and only mirror changes to orientation (flip the house on one axis) - were applied. The home's environmental impact was then re-modelled.
The results are outstanding. Affordable change, little or no redesign, and no need for extra architectural input.
Factor Five change is not only about homes although they are responsible for nearly a third of an Australian's environmental footprint. The Natural Edge's Factor Five book shows the way for our whole society beyond just homes.