Monday, May 5, 2008

ESD AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN AUSTRALIA (4) - BCA SECTION J - ENERGY EFFICIENCY

I think I may move on to BCA Section J.

Some time ago, I read an article in "Ecolibrium" (AIRAH professional journal) about "paradigm shift" in the Australian business sectors towards "Sustainabilty".

It was viewed as a "nice to have" features. But nowadys, the view is that sustainability is essential to the continuing development. And after all, sustainability really bear benefits for the building owners and building users.

And from my personal experience, large developers are really embracing sustainability whole heartly. Smaller ones are not so consistent but the trend is clear that sustainability has its place and is becoming more and more important!

Back to BCA (Building Code of
Australia).

BCA is similar to “Building Ordinance” in HK. For some quick info on HK’s Building Ordinance, see this: http://www.bd.gov.hk/english/services/index_support3.html

However, BCA, starting from 2004, is updated annually.

In 2000, all State and Territory governments had agreed to introduce mandatory energy efficiency standards into the BCA in order to reduce GHG emissions attributable to the operation of buildings.

The first stage was to introduce energy efficiency measures into the BCA Volume Two on
1 January 2003. (BCA Volume Two relates to requirements and regulations for freestanding / detached houses and garages.)

The second stage was to introduce energy measures for multi-residential buildings into BCA Volume One on
1 May 2005.

The final (third) stage for introducing energy efficiency measures is to include energy efficiency measures for all other building classifications in BCA Volume One. (BCA Volume One includes requirements and regulations on all other buildings including commercial, retail, industrial, institutional, recreational, schools, hospitals, aged homes, etc.)

I’ve said it before – the inception of the plan dates back to 2000. The actual “full” implementation date is 2006!

For places that haven’t started, how long will they take to have some proper legislation in place?

You can have some good in-depth understanding on the rationale of Energy Efficiency in BCA by reading these "Handbooks". Mind you one of them is over 150 pages and the other is over 300 pages!

http://www.abcb.gov.au/documents/energy/Handbook_vol1.pdf

http://www.abcb.gov.au/documents/energy/Handbook_vol2.pdf

So how can a building comply with BCA Section J?

Basically, there are two approaches:
1.Deemed-to-satisfy (DTS) method (prescriptive method)
2.Verification method (JV3) (JV2 is superseded from 1 May 2008)

With the DTS method, it is like ticking a checklist to comply with
ALL the requirements.

With the JV’s, the annual energy consumptions of the building under different scenarios are calculated. If they are under a certain benchmark, then they are compliant.

And I list some major categories in the DTS method.

There are eight categories to be checked for Energy Efficiency compliance:

Part J1 – Building Fabric

Roof and Ceiling Construction
Roof Lights
Walls
Floors
(In most cases, insulation, esp. roof insulation, is required to keep the temperature in a building less prone to outside temperature fluctuations.)

Part J2 – External Glazing

Two methods (spreadsheets) for checking compliance
Shading is also important
(Generally, large glass area without shading will fail.)

Part J3 – Building Sealing

Chimneys and flues
Roof lights
Windows and doors
Exhaust fans
Construction of roofs, walls and floors
(Basically, there should be some things to prevent unwanted air coming in or out of a building)

Part J4 – Air Movement
Only applicable for multi-residential buildings
(This part requires that the openable window area equals or exceed a certain % of floor area.)

Part J5 – Air-conditioning and Ventilation Systems
Air-conditioning and ventilation systems
Time switch
Heating and chilling systems
Miscellaneous exhaust systems
(Energy efficient air conditioning and ventilation systems with proper controls (like the inexpensive time switches) are required to pass the requirements.)

Part J6 – Artificial lighting and power
Interior artificial lighting
Interior artificial lighting and power control
Interior decorative and display lighting
Artificial lighting around the perimeter of a building
Boiling water and chilled water storage units
(Simply speaking, you need good energy efficient lightings and control switches to comply. Normal light bulb in most cases will fail.)

Part J7 – Hot water supply
(Need a proper design to comply, i.e. don’t just get a “no-body” to do it.)

Part J8 – Access for Maintenance
(Just allow access to repair and fix equipment and components.)

It may sound simple from the above descriptions. But there are many small details to check.

And I have some insiders' comments to the BCA Section J. .......

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