There is a growing demand for energy efficient houses. © CSIRO, CT Image Technology
Today, more than ever before, home owners are demanding cost-effective, sustainable comfort – and that means finding smarter ways to make home heating and cooling affordable.
Despite the rising cost of housing, Aussies have remained undeterred from their dream of home ownership. But if committing to a mortgage and a home build isn’t scary enough these days, the costs of heating and cooling it certainly might be!
Yes, we are creatures of comfort, and although we love our sunburnt country — droughts and flooding rains and all — the many climate variables in this beautiful land can pose a challenge when it comes to maximising energy efficiency in the design of our homes.
So our clever energy scientists asked: What if we could find a way of to model how particular house designs respond to certain climates, and then, at minimum cost, tweak their energy efficiencies to suite?
And they did it!
Drawing on the decades of experience and research in house energy modelling upon which the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) is based, the team came up with AccuRate — a smart software tool that can calculate a home’s annual heating and cooling energy requirements down to an hourly rate.
The benchmark simulation software can assess a home’s energy requirements in up to 69 different climatic zones in Australia and rate its comfort level based on its annual energy requirements for heating and cooling. Homes are rated according to a ‘0 to 10 stars’ system — the higher the stars the more comfortable and energy efficient.
AccuRate can model up to 50 living spaces and 99 zones within a home, and takes into consideration the impact of variables such as insulation, natural ventilation, air leakage, thermal mass, roof spaces, sub-floor spaces, skylights, horizontal reflective air gaps, windows and external shading structures like trees, fences, and the neighbour’s house.
AccuRate helps designers delivery energy efficient homes © Energy Inspection.
By flipping or rotating buildings and apartments, the software allows a designer to explore how different orientations might maximise energy and comfort. Additional AccuRate modules test sustainability parameters outside of energy efficiency ratings like lighting and water usage.
AccuRate compares well to similar programs in Europe and the US and is available commercially from Energy Inspection. It is the benchmark software set by the Australian Government DCCEE for compliance to the building code.
AccuRate is just one of the way we are supporting Australia’s transition to a prosperous, secure and lower emissions energy future.
Want to learn more?
During November, thousands of Australians will experience the power of renewable energy when they they hop on our Infinity Swing — a giant eight-person swing that generates real renewable energy to power a stunning light and sound show. Find out about the Infinity Swing and our other top energy innovations at: www.csiro.au/infinity