How do you design and build an energy efficient, zero carbon home?
An energy efficiency assessor (or thermal performance assessor) can work with your designer to help you get it right.
This is Part 2 of my conversation with Melanie Lupis from Sustainability Certified. (Catch up on Part 1 here).
Hello! This is Episode 263, and in it, I’m continuing my conversation with Melanie Lupis from Sustainability Certified.
If you haven’t listened to Part 1 yet, you can find it in Episode 262. Just head to Episode 262 – The Residential Efficiency Scorecard for Existing Homes, with Melanie Lupis, Sustainability Certified to listen now or download the free PDF transcript.
As we continue the conversation in this episode, Melanie shares with me her thoughts on NatHERS and Passive House. Being certified to assess with both modelling tools, she has great perspective to share on them both.
We also talk about the True Zero Carbon Challenge that Design Matters National ran in 2022, and Melanie entered with building designer, Lachy McEwan, from Harmonic Design.
The aim of the True Zero Carbon Challenge was to design a home that not only produces more power than it uses over the year; through energy-efficient design, careful appliance selection, and photovoltaic integration.
Entries also had to consider and calculate embodied carbon in material selection, and to put on enough extra photovoltaic panels to pay back the home’s entire carbon debt by 2050* (based on today’s carbon intensity).
Thermal Performance Assessors or Energy Efficiency Assessors, as they’re also known, paired up with Building Designers and Architects to create a home design and assess its energy efficiency and carbon footprint.
At the time of recording this episode, Melanie and Lachy had submitted their entry, and were waiting to hear the results.
Well, I’m super excited to share that they were declared the NSW State Winners – isn’t that fantastic!
You’ll hear Melanie talk more in detail about how she and Lachy worked together to design and assess the home in preparation for entering, and what insights it gave her for all home designs. I think you’ll find it really interesting.
Now, let’s dive in!
Melanie Lupis is an environmental enthusiast, nature lover and mum. She works as a Home Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Consultant and heads up her own company Sustainability Certified Pty Ltd. She has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) majoring in environmental studies.
Melanie is a NatHERS Accredited Assessor, Passive House Certified Consultant and Residential Scorecard Accredited Assessor. She is trained in BERS Pro, FirstRate5 and Hero Software packages.
With her two daughters about to complete their Environmental Science degrees and with husband Kel running support in the business, Melanie is fortunate to have the opportunity and the means to help educate; eliminate the confusion; and create a shift in mindset towards sensible, sustainable design.
Before I wrap up, I wanted to add some info about the ‘as built verification’ we were discussing at the beginning of this episode, and the Passive House process compared to NatHERS and Basix.
Now, when I first discussed Passive House here on the podcast, back in Season 8, it sparked a lot of interest from listeners who weren’t aware of it. And since then, I’ve seen lots of Undercover Architect community members pursue Passive House homes.
One of the things I see homeowners loving about Passive House, as well as the sustainability, energy efficiency, and thermal comfort, is the ‘as built verification’.
The process of building a Passive House requires the builder to take photos and document construction, as they need to demonstrate that they’ve built the home as per the design modelling and requirements.
This is something that doesn’t occur in conventional construction. Builders don’t actually have to demonstrate or prove that they have built your home according to the designed energy efficiency modelling, etc, unless you include it contractually.
Many of my HOME Method members are adjusting their contracts to include specific requirements of the builder in order to add in an ‘as built verification process’.
Some of these checks and verifications can include a blower door test, a thermal imaging camera inspection, photographs of the insulation installation, a WUFI analysis to examine the wall build up prior to construction, and a range of other steps and contractual inclusions to help protect the designed performance of the home in how it is constructed.
If you’d like to learn more about this for your project, check the links in the resources for this episode.
In this episode, I ask Melanie questions such as:
- Being Passive House Certified as well as NatHERS, what are her thoughts on balancing these, and how homeowners can choose
- What she learned participating in the True Zero Carbon Challenge, hosted by Design Matters National
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE NOW.
Sustainability Certified Website >>> https://sustainabilitycertified.com.au/
Residential Scorecard >>> https://www.homescorecard.gov.au/
True Zero Carbon Challenge Winners >>> https://www.designmatters.org.au/Web/Web/True-Zero-Carbon-Challenge/2022-TZCC-Winners.aspx?hkey=572fdd57-2a16-4c74-97f6-e8eeba879dc1
Melanie and Lachy’s winning entry >>> https://www.facebook.com/designmatters.org.au/photos/a.325362570872156/8194283077313360
Passive House episodes on the podcast
- What is Passive House (or Passivhaus) | Episode 105 >>>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-what-is-passive-house-passivhaus-daniel-kress/
- The Client who wanted a Passive House | Episode 106 >>>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-what-is-passive-house-passivehaus-homeowner-owl-woods/
- The Architect who designed a Passive House | Episode 107 >>>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-what-is-passive-house-passivehaus-architect-talina-edwards/
- The Consultant who tests and measures the Passive House | Episode 108 >>>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-what-is-passive-house-passivehaus-certified-consultant-luc-plowman/
- The Builder constructing Passive House | Episode 109 >>>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-what-is-passive-house-passivehaus-builder-stuart-lee/
- The Certifier and an Australian Passive House Pioneer | Episode 110 >>>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-what-is-passive-house-passivehaus-certifier-clare-parry/
- The Passive House Renovator | Episode 111 >>>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/podcast-what-is-passive-house-passivehaus-renovation-armadale-house/
Sustainability Victoria Resources
Videos are here: https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/energy-efficiency-and-reducing-emissions/building-or-renovating/7-star-homes-program/7-star-homes-program-resources/insulation-installation-and-air-tightness
ABV Factsheet and Checklist is here: https://assets.sustainability.vic.gov.au/susvic/Document-energy-7-Star-Homes-as-built-verification-ABV-factsheet-and-checklist.pdf
Additional info here: https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/energy-efficiency-and-reducing-emissions/building-or-renovating/7-star-homes-program/7-star-homes-program-resources/the-ins-and-outs-of-as-built-verification
Access the support and guidance you need to be confident and empowered when renovating and building your family home inside my flagship online program >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/courses/the-home-method/
Learn more about how to get started with your home design with the Happy Home Design mini-course >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/courses/happy-home-design
Access my free online workshop “Your Project Plan” >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/projectplan