Australia is a large continent with many different climates. For instance, brutal dry summers in Western Australia are contrasted with hot and humid summers in the Northern Territory. Somewhere in between is the more temperate climate of NSW. So, in an attempt to categorise our tough Australian conditions and diverse climates, the National Building Code of Australia (B.C.A) has grouped our climate into 8 zones. Furthermore, to maximise building sustainability, each zone is regulated by different building codes. For NSW, the main legislation that governs building codes is the Basix requirements. The Basix legislation aims to reduce energy use and to use water resources better. Broadly, the three main improvements focus on appropriate sun control (shades), provision of natural ventilation, and use of wall and ceiling insulation.
Combating Our Tough Australian Conditions with Basix Main Principles
Our sun is in the northern portion of the sky for most of the day. Therefore, the northern side of a home tends to have the living and outdoor spaces. Furthermore, ancillary rooms such as laundries, bathrooms and garages are generally located on the east, west or southern side.
The amount of direct sunlight that enters a building plays a large part in how comfortable an interior space is. Consequently, designers incorporate building overhangs and horizontal slat sun shades to improve passive heating and reduce excessive heat gain.
The addition of adequate insulation to walls and roof spaces provides a substantial improvement to the efficiency and comfort of a home. Insulation is perhaps the most effective way to mitigate our tough Australian conditions. For older homes without existing insulation, one of the most effective insulation improvements is vinyl cladding. Indeed, the best vinyl cladding incorporates insulation as well as being highly reflective and heat resistant.