In brief - BASIX scheme aims for greater reduction in water
consumption and energy emissions
The NSW government's proposed changes to the BASIX scheme
involve a 20%-50% reduction on baseline water consumption and a
reduction of up to 50% in energy emissions.
NSW government announces proposed changes to BASIX targets
The Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) scheme was introduced
in 2004 as a water and energy efficiency target requirement for all
new homes constructed in NSW.
In December 2013 the NSW Department of Planning and
Infrastructure announced proposed changes to the BASIX targets. The
proposed new targets were published for public comment until 31
January 2014, but it appears that significant interest from
stakeholders who raised their concerns resulted in an extension for
submissions to 14 February 2014.
Currently BASIX targets require energy and water use reductions
of up to 40% on residential developments and 20% on multi-unit
residential developments of over six storeys.
The government's proposed new BASIX targets include
increases to the following targets:
Water consumption targets - between 20% and
50% reduction on baseline consumption
NSW government's view of benefits of increased BASIX
The NSW government claims that the proposed increases to BASIX
bring them in line with national standards
create a "fair for all" scheme
prepare for the changing climate
provide financial savings by reducing the overall projected
price increases for water, electricity and gas
ensure that more people benefit from water and energy efficient
create improved design utilising more energy efficient
technology in keeping with current trends
The Allan Consulting Group cost benefit analysis supporting the
proposed new BASIX target estimates $1.3 billion in household
savings over time, less $794 million increased capital costs for
Further, the government claims that the average cost of
compliance with the proposed new BASIX targets will be $3,322.
Cost of complying with increased BASIX targets could exceed
An article in the Sydney Morning Herald on 21 January 2014,
titled Cost increases as BASIX rule revisions hit homes,
claimed that home builders will in fact pay up to $8,000 more in
complying with the proposed new BASIX targets. A more detailed
analysis claims that the average regional four-bedroom,
single-storey home will incur an increased cost from $724 to
$8,950, with a more typical five-bedroom, double-storey home
incurring a cost of $8,930 from the current $2,645.
Ultimately, the article claims that the increase in costs in
complying with the new proposed BASIX targets detrimentally impacts
on housing affordability, outweighing the benefits claimed by the
Support for efficient use of energy and water
There appears to be a significant number of those in support of
the NSW government's proposed new BASIX targets and in fact,
some of those supporters have even submitted that the proposed new
targets need to go further.
Proper consideration needs to be given to the benefits sought to
be achieved and whether the proposed new BASIX targets can achieve
those benefits practically.
It is not uncommon for those who can afford it and have the
available space to go beyond the current BASIX requirements to
achieve energy efficiency in their homes. However, imposing targets
that may impact negatively by restraining housing affordability due
to cost or limiting the ability to comply due to land area requires
further assessment and the availability of alternatives to achieve
Efficient water and energy use: financial and practical
By way of example, the upfront cost and physical requirements of
a 2,000 litre rainwater tank as opposed to a 10,000 litre
underground rainwater tank can raise the following issues:
where to locate a 10,000 litre rainwater tank which can be up
to 3m in height and diameter
the cost of excavation and removal of soil/clay/shale when
installing a 10,000 litre rainwater tank underground
cost of a 10,000 litre rainwater tank compared to a 2,000 litre
cost of associated pumps and equipment to achieve the BASIX
requirements of the 10,000 litre rainwater tank
the overall benefit that would be achieved by the installation
of a 10,000 litre rainwater tank compared to a 2,000 litre
Ultimately, the ideal outcome is to achieve a balance between
increased water and energy efficiency of residential buildings and
overall benefit to the community and environment whilst maintaining
housing affordability. What is the perfect balance?
Many retail leases include a covenant to trade, requiring the tenant to open the premises for trade during certain hours.
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