Housing

All-Electric Household Monitoring and Evaluation

This project tested the potential of the all-electric home to improve environmental performance, operating costs and occupant comfort compared to a ‘normal’ gas/electric suburban home. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) constructed 3 pilot all-electric dwellings with 7 star NatHERS ratings. AEF was engaged by DHHS to lead the monitoring, evaluation and reporting. AEF conducted technical testing to verify the 7-star rating of the dwellings and gave advice on the key design features used to attain the rating. We monitored energy usage, temperature and humidity in the dwellings and applied financial modelling to provide a comparison with a gas/electric home. We also worked directly with tenants to gauge their level of satisfaction with comfort levels and all-electric appliances in the home. AEF’s final report showed a positive outcome for the all-electric pilot dwellings and made recommendations for improvements in future developments of this kind.

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Residential Energy Monitoring Project (REMP)

This series of projects tested the effectiveness of various energy efficiency retrofit measures in Victorian homes. The project went through several iterations; the success of the first project, (focused on heating/cooling, hot water and household appliances) led to further iterations focusing on building upgrades including lighting, draught sealing and different types of insulation, either singly or as a group. Technical monitoring in the homes included internal temperatures, electrical circuits, gas and hot water and energy consumption of end-use appliances. AEF’s responsibilities were to identify and recruit appropriate households, engage the required trades for installation of monitoring equipment, and liaise between the two to ensure proper and easy installation and operation. AEF worked alongside Energy Efficient Strategies, who had overall responsibility for metering equipment and data collection. The data collected was used by Sustainability Victoria to develop a report on optimal retrofit cost-effectiveness for Victorian homes.

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Bendigo Heatwave

This project, initiated by the City of Greater Bendigo, sought to reduce the impact of heatwaves on its vulnerable population. The project enlisted the home and community care (HACC) workers who were already in contact with the community and had an existing relationship and understanding of the people they worked with. AEF worked with the Council to develop training and supporting materials to allow HACC workers to undertake assessments of at-risk people’s homes, to recommend small retrofits (such as draught sealing) and to make action plans that people could use to reduce the impact of hot weather on the client base. AEF delivered the training on-site and developed a small booklet and action plan that was simple to use, easy to understand and could be tailored to the individual. This project demonstrated the value of using existing service delivery organisations and staff, i.e. the HACC workers. The trusted relationship they

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Solar and retrofit cost study

This project examined a range of different retrofit options for the DHHS’s extensive range of public housing. The housing was divided into categories and recommendations were made on the most cost-effective options for each housing type. For example, some housing types gain the most value from draught-sealing, others from solar power systems, others from insulation. The project also made recommendations on how different retrofit measures complement each other, e.g. airconditioning gives the best results in terms of cost-effectiveness and resident comfort if it is paired with draught-sealing. The project considered the various options from a cost-effectiveness and resident comfort point of view. The information AEF provided is now used by DHHS to inform decision-making on housing retrofits.

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Cooling Communities

In partnership with Moreland City Council, AEF retrofitted ten social housing properties in Moreland to improve understanding of the actions required to mitigate impacts of the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE). The project was funded through DELWP’s Victorian Climate Change Grants 2015. Health issues Global warming is leading to longer, hotter and more frequent heatwaves across Victoria. These conditions are compounded in dense built up areas through the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE), which is recognised as a key issue for Moreland. This extreme heat can cause and exacerbate a range of serious health issues. Social housing residents are particularly at risk from heat stress as they are more likely to live in poorly designed or maintained properties and have chronic health conditions. They also may spend more time in their properties than residents renting privately or owner occupiers. Upgrades Upgrade works included improvements to building fabric (insulation, draught proofing

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North-West Housing Adaptation

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has identified a need for increased protection from extreme heat events for its clients in north-west Victoria. AEF was engaged to tackle this problem, leading a consortium including Design Inc, Ernst and Young, Breathe Architecture and Josh Byrne and Associates. New approaches The consortium developed a new suite of dwelling typologies and precinct approaches that will guarantee summer performance for DHHS clients. The consortium also took cost-effectiveness and and durability into account in the selection of sustainable design measures.

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Residential Sustainability Business Case

AEF was commissioned by the Victorian Building Commission to undertake research to investigate the impact of differing levels of residential thermal performance upon energy, financial and greenhouse gas savings, comfort levels, and construction cost. The main objective was to identify and analyse the benefits and costs associated with energy efficient homes, and different approaches to delivering high performance homes. AEF undertook the research in collaboration with Net Balance. Objective The objective of the research was to determine to what extent (and to what point) energy efficiency investments in residential buildings make good economic sense for the home owner.  This is in the context of a “whole-of-life” analysis of the costs and benefits, in a context of the broader issue of housing affordability. Outcomes The final report was based on case studies and was directly usable by the Building Commission in the form of fact sheets and other capacity building material.

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Movable units cooling trials

This project was undertaken for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in response to a growing demand for cooling devices within dwellings that are owned by the department. AEF used on-ground research to gather further information and data that would assist the DHHS to build upon its existing knowledge-base on upgrading the energy efficiency of department-owned apartments and movable housing units. For many DHHS housing assets the issue of maintaining comfort over summer is becoming of increasing importance. This is due to both the likely increase in frequency and longevity of hot weather conditions as projected by climate change, and the high proportion of DHHS residents that have heightened sensitivity to temperature, such as the elderly and those affected by illnesses. The study was designed to investigate the potential costs and benefits associated with the installation of different cooling technologies and to undertake a comparison between active systems

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Six star scoping study

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science contracted AEF to undertake a scoping study for an evaluation of the benefits and costs resulting from the introduction of the 6-star energy efficiency standard for housing in the Building Code of Australia from 2010. This required us to review the methodology used by CSIRO for evaluating the costs and benefits resulting from the introduction of the 5 star standard and to propose at least one, or alternative options for a statistically valid, cost effective methodology for undertaking a study to evaluate the actual costs and benefits of the 6 star standard. AEF delivered the project in partnership with Pitt & Sherry.

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Carlton Housing Redevelopment – Post Occupancy Study

AEF was engaged by Citta and Australand to deliver a suite of Post Occupancy Studies for a major public and private housing redevelopment in Carlton with key partners the Department of Human Services. The projects were undertaken to understand how successful the developments have been, 12 months into operation, in meeting a range of objectives relating to occupant comfort, building efficiency, resource consumption and environmental sustainability more broadly. Outcomes The studies enabled recommendations to be made to improve operational comfort and sustainability through ongoing behaviour support and building performance modifications. The studies also made recommendations about refining design and technology measures for application to future property developments to improve cost efficiencies and performance outcomes. Study methods The study utilised a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to perform analysis directed to understanding whole-of-building performance as well as developing case studies to document the experience and performance of a number individual

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Energy Efficiency Potential of Victorian Homes

A study by the Australian Energy Foundation for Sustainability Victoria, May 2010. AEF is undertaking a consulting contract with Sustainability Victoria. The research project is gathering information about the energy efficiency of existing Victorian houses. The study so far has given us a better understanding of just how inefficient Melbourne’s older houses are, what needs to be done to improve them, and how much it might cost. Pilot project As a first step, in 2009 Sustainability Victoria contracted AEF to undertake a pilot on-ground assessment project based on 15 existing houses. The houses chosen were typical of many of the homes in Melbourne’s inner north; built between 1900 and 1980, ranging from 75m 175 metres squared – much smaller than the average new home built today, and mainly free-standing weatherboard or brick-veneer. Assessment process The assessment of the houses consisted of the following steps: Measure up of house to generate

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