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Last year, most Australian states and territories adopted new building code standards for energy efficiency. Under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, the minimum energy efficiency requirement for new houses and apartments will increase from 6 to 7 stars (out of 10).

Much has been written about the new ‘7 stars’ rating and how to achieve it. There are many routes to success, including adjusting insulation in the walls, floors and ceilings; adding ceiling fans in all rooms; choosing lighter colours for roofs and other external elements; and bringing in a NatHERs assessor to assist early on in the design process.

But what effect will this change have on the way you build? And what will it cost?

How BIM and 3D help you meet energy efficiency codes

Many builders (and owners) have been concerned about the increased costs that could come along with the new standards – for instance, more insulation, thicker walls, and triple glazed windows can increase material costs.

However, building for 7 stars doesn’t have to be overly costly or complicated. Careful material choices make a big difference when it comes to energy efficiency and a house’s energy rating.

In addition, the effective use of Building Information Modelling (BIM), 3D designs, and proper planning can help reduce expenses, fine-tune your estimates quickly and allow you to see where adjustments can be made before you quote or build.

Here are four ways that BIM and 3D modelling can help you reach 7-star energy efficiency levels:

  1. With BIM, you can not only identify energy inefficiencies during the design phase, but also simulate the performance of HVAC systems, lighting, and overall energy use so that you can see whether your design will meet performance standards.
  2. BIM allows you to try things out and evaluate a variety of energy saving opportunities, such as high-performance insulation, before finalising plans and purchasing supplies.
  3. By keeping the angle of the sun in mind – as well as the location of large trees – you can take advantage of more natural lighting solutions, reducing the need for more electric lighting. With BIM, you can incorporate the home’s location into a design that lowers heating and cooling needs.
  4. With BIM, you have a more accurate idea of exactly which, and how many, materials you need in advance, so there’s much less material waste In addition, BIM allows better collaboration between all parties, so everything is more efficient and projects can be completed more quickly, saving time and labour.

With the proper use of BIM and 3D during your estimation and planning phases, you can easily prepare for and construct homes that meet – and exceed – the new building code guidelines.

If you’d like to know more about BIM, our article on using it to get ahead of your competition is worth a read.

If you’re interested in using 3D construction models to improve your build estimates and your next project’s energy efficiency rating, contact our team today.

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