5 Star Standard
From 1 July 2005, all new houses in Victoria must meet the 5 Star standard. 5 Star houses feature a greater range of energy efficient and water saving features, improving occupant comfort and reducing the cost of energy and water bills.
From 1 July 2005, compliance with the 5 Star standard requires:
- 5 Star energy rating for building fabric and water saving measures including water saving tapware, flow reducing showerheads and water pressure reduction to 500kPa at outlets within the home, plus
- Either a rainwater tank for toilet flushing or an approved solar hot water service
Prior to the 5 Star standard, every Victorian used an average of 400 litres of water each day. Around 30 per cent on household uses such as gardens and around 20 per cent on toilet flushing. As Victorian water shortages continue, we must avert a permanent water crisis through more efficient use of precious water supplies, regulation and education.
The plumbing requirements under the 5 Star standard are outlined in the Plumbing Regulations 2008. From 1 May 2008, the 5 Star standard will be extended to cover house alterations and relocations of homes. The changes will not require solar hot water systems or rainwater tanks.
Benefits of 5 Star
5 Star homes are more affordable
An independent report has revealed that 5 Star adds only around two per cent to the average upfront cost of building, which are offset by reduced household energy and water bills over the life of a home. Average annual savings from 5 Star homes:
$200 on household heating and cooling bills
$100 saving on hot water for installing a solar hot water system and
$50 saving on water bills for installing a rainwater tank annually - with the potential for even more.
5 Star homes also need smaller heating and cooling systems that cost less to buy and to operate.
5 Star homes are more comfortable
Even without using the heating or cooling, 5 Star homes are up to five degrees warmer in winter and 10 degrees cooler in summer than the typical 2 Star home built prior to the new standard.
5 Star homes benefit the environment
Within five years, energy efficient homes will save Victoria more than 200,000 tonnes of greenhouses gases annually. This is equivalent to removing 45,000 cars from our roads, or planting 750,000 trees.
Homes that require less cooling will help reduce pressure on Victoria's power supplies during high-use summer periods.
5 Star homes are good for Victoria's economy
Annual energy savings in Victoria are estimated to be worth $30-40 million within five years. Over the next 20 years, introduction of the 5 Star standard will mean:
Increased economic growth in Victoria of up to $570 million
1100 new jobs in the energy efficient product manufacturing sector
Less money spent in the energy sector and more on energy efficient building products and services
Enhanced competitiveness of Victoria's export industries
Lower energy prices as more than 30,000 houses use half of today's energy consumption for heating and cooling.
Some important points
- The 5 Star standard applies to all new houses and apartments (BCA Class 1 and 2 buildings)
- Apartment buildings will need to achieve a 5 Star average for the whole building, with no individual dwelling rating less than 3 Stars.
- On 1 May 2008, national energy efficiency laws will apply to Victorian home alterations and relocated homes through the Building Code of Australia.
- All alterations and relocations work that requires a building permit applies.
- The new requirements apply to the thermal performance of a home (a 5 Star energy rating for the external walls, floors and roofs of your home) and do not require a solar hot water system or a rainwater tank for toilet flushing.
- Alterations that are more than 50 per cent of the original volume of your home (including any alterations carried out in the previous three years) require your existing home to be brought up to the same standards as the new construction. There are certain circumstances where your building surveyor has discretion, under Regulation 608, to allow partial compliance. Normally, this is where the requirement is overly onerous, technically impractical or does not provide a level of benefit commensurate with cost.
- Any extension above 25 per cent of floor area of your existing home or 1,000 square metres (whichever is the lesser) must fully comply with the new energy efficiency regulations and have a 5 Star building fabric.