Sustainable, affordable, comfortable, achievable. Photo: Warren Reed.
In exciting news for the Cape, an independent 12-month study by RMIT University and analysis by leading not-for-profit RENEW has highlighted The Cape estate as a scalable blueprint for how the Australian housing industry can build affordable, energy efficient, carbon neutral homes that dramatically reduce energy bills, with consumers, the economy and the environment set to benefit. The results are stunning and the study has received nationwide media attention here.
Net zero emissions living and transportation at The Cape. Photo: Warren Reed
The study has confirmed that The Cape has successfully combined passive solar design and construction techniques with off the shelf, affordable technologies such as heat pump heating, cooling and hot water systems, and solar power, to achieve carbon neutral, healthy homes that are comfortable year round, resilient and healthy in hot spells and heat waves, with super low running costs compared to conventional homes.
"The houses are consuming 88 % less energy from the energy grid compared to a typical new 6-star house in Victoria,” said Trivess Moore of RMIT’s Sustainable Building Innovation Laboratory. “This results in the houses having very low energy bills making them much more affordable to live in.”
The best-practice fit-outs produce three to four times the energy needed for the estate, and resulted in energy bills of about $500 per year or less.
The 10 star house at The Cape. Photo: Ben Mulligan.
According to Damien Moyse, Policy & Research Manager and Acting CEO at RENEW "it is fantastic to see what the research told us 10 years ago is best practice, now a living reality down at The Cape. The combination of on-site solar energy, efficient appliances, an all-electric fit out and high thermal building performance, is seeing these homes actually perform better, in terms of reduced energy use, reduced bills and reduced carbon, than even we predicted through the original research work.”
The Cape is a real, live example that demonstrates how energy positive new estates can:
The Cape team would like to acknowledge RMIT and Renew for their research efforts, our residents for participating in the study, as well as all of our builders, designers and project team for delivering a national benchmark project. With Stage 3 about to open up, there has never been a better time to secure your home site at The Cape.
The Project Team
Blower door tests prove Cape homes are constructed to the highest standard
Sustainable homes are well sealed and remain comfortable in all weather conditions
TS Constructions have constructed over 20 homes at The Cape to date, and over the past two years have quietly introduced blower door testing to all of their builds to validate the performance of their homes. All blower door tests are being conducted by accredited, independent technicians from Baw Baw Sustainability Network.
A blower door test is a test of how airtight a house is to ensure that when a resident warms or cools the air in the house, the air doesn’t leak out and waste hard-earned energy dollars and reduce comfort levels. Air tightness is as important as high R-values in your walls and ceiling – a home can have great insulation, but if there are air gaps and air is leaking out (or in) it will increase the running costs and energy usage of your home while reducing your comfort levels.
To conduct a blower door test, a qualified technician covers an exterior door with an air tight membrane and runs a computerised fan connected to a laptop according to an international standard testing process. By measuring the pressure difference between the interior and exterior of the house, the fan flow and knowing the volume of air in the house the technician can tell you how much air is leaking in and out. Blower door test results are measured in “air changes per hour at 50 Pascals” (ACH50). This is the measure of how many times in an hour your house leaks all the air inside of it!
A 2015 CSIRO study of 129 recently completed 6 star homes across Australia showed that almost half the houses tested were above 15 air changes per hour which is considered quite leaky and inefficient for a newly constructed house. Imagine trying to heat all the air in your home 15 times every hour on a cold windy day and you can see how costly and uncomfortable it would be.
Blower door testing for TS Constructions at The Cape
TS Constructions have been undertaking blower door tests to ensure their homes are sealed to a high standard, and to train their staff on the common mistakes that can lead to a leaky home. All trades working on their homes, including builders, plumbers, electricians and other trades have been invited in to watch these tests take place, and to learn how to seal up these homes to a very high standard.
The homes tested to date by TS are showing an average of below 5 air exchanges per hour. TS Constructions Director Tony O’Connell told us “the blower door tests are a great training tool for our staff, and provide an extra level of confidence to our clients that homes are built to their badged star ratings and are well insulated and sealed to stay comfortable year round and reduce energy loss. We believe all new houses across Australia should be pressure tested upon completion to ensure people are buying well sealed, high performance, energy efficient homes”
Both sides of a blower door test conducted at The Cape
Thoughtful passive design with high standard of construction creates homes that are comfortable all year round, even during Australian heat waves. Come on down to The Cape and experience these homes for yourself!