House size and future building energy efficiency regulations in Australia

  • YEAR
    Stephan, Andre
    Crawford, Robert H
    2015 Conference Papers
    Buildings and Energy
    Conference Papers


The size of houses in Australia has significantly increased over the last decades. New houses have higher embodied and operational energy requirements due to their increased use of materials and larger area. Yet, current building energy efficiency regulations fail to adequately capture the effect of house size because of their omission of embodied energy and their sole use of a spatial functional unit for operational energy (e.g. MJ/m²). This study quantifies the effect of house size on life cycle energy demand in order to inform future building energy efficiency regulations. It uses a parametric model of a typical suburban house in Melbourne, Australia and varies its floor area from 100 to 392 m² for different household sizes. Both initial and recurrent embodied energy requirements are quantified using hybrid analysis and all operational energy end-uses (thermal and non-thermal) are calculated in primary energy terms over 50 years. Results show that larger houses appear to be more energy efficient per m² than smaller houses while actually having a much higher life cycle energy demand. Also, embodied energy represents 49-70% of the energy demand across all 360 variations. Guidelines are provided to improve current building energy efficiency regulations.


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