Overview of BASIX Sustainability Scheme
BASIX goal is to minimise the water consumption, Green House Gas emission, and energy consumption of the NSW residential developments by setting up certain performance benchmarks for these sustainability factors. These benchmarks are called BASIX indices and are being addressed in 3 different sections for energy efficiency, water efficiency and thermal comfort rating. The following is a brief overview of these sustainability metrics:
BASIX Water Efficiency
BASIX water efficiency target is defined so that the highest water efficiency target is applicable to at least 90 percent of new residential developments in the state of NSW. The target is changed in the BASIX online tool based on the climate zone of the development so that a development in a dry and hot climate will have less stringent targets to meet compared to developments in mild and humid climates. This will ensure fair comparison and rating of all the dwellings being assessed statewide.
BASIX Thermal Comfort
The thermal comfort section of the BASIX assessment tool is on a pass / fail basis rather than being based on performance scores. To get a pass mark a dwelling must have a certain thermal heating and cooling load for it to be comfortable throughout the year. In Rapid and DIY methods of BASIX thermal comfort assessment, cooling and heating loads are being calculated by the online BASIX assessment tool based on the characteristics of the building. In thermal simulation method, these loads are calculated by a certified NatHERS thermal assessment software and the results are being inserted in the online assessment tool in form of a valid ABSA Certificate by an ABSA Accredited Assessor or her Assessor. Heating and cooling loads are being addressed separately in the BASIX and therefore a more informed approach is being followed compared to NatHERS star ratings which are the summation of heating and cooling loads.
Three factors determine the maximum heating and cooling loads; climate zone, floor construction type and development type. Three types of floor construction are recognised in BASIX tool, slab on the ground, suspended floor with open sub floor and suspended floor with enclosed sub-floor. BASIX considers each dwelling in a multi-unit apartment, the average of all units and separate dwellings as three different types of construction with different BASIX maximum heating and cooling loads. Also, there are 21 different climate zones in NSW and in each climate zone, the thermal comfort loads are different for each combination of the previous two factors.
To comply with this scheme a BASIX certificate must be submitted at the Development Application stage to local government area councils of NSW along with other necessary documents. BASIX online assessment tool generates this certificate by collecting all the development specifications and calculating the energy efficiency, water efficiency and thermal comfort scores of the development if they are above the minimum required performance indices. All the provisions nominated on the BASIX certificate become part of the development plans and specifications which must be deployed during actual construction and be verified by the building's principal certifying authority prior to issuance of an Occupation Certificate.
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