The cost effectiveness of housing thermal performance improvements in saving CO2-e

  • YEAR
    McLeod, Philip
    Fay, Roger
    2010 Conference Papers


ABSTRACT: To reduce the CO2 emissions associated with the energy needed to heat and/or cool
houses, the Building Code of Australia (BCA) requires that new houses meet a minimum level of
thermal performance. A star rating system is used to indicate the level of thermal performance a house
achieves. Ratings range from 0-10 stars. Currently all states and territories in Australia require a
minimum 5 or 6 star performance, however this is likely to be increased incrementally in the next

Generally, increasing the thermal performance of a house will increase the embodied CO2 emissions of
the building envelope. While it is widely claimed that improving the thermal performance of houses is a
low cost way to reduce CO2 emissions, the increase in embodied CO2 emissions is rarely considered
when assessing the cost effectiveness of thermal performance measures. This paper examines the
cost effectiveness of incremental thermal performance improvements, taking into account their
embodied emissions. Improvements are described and ranked in order of their cost effectiveness. The
results show that the cost effectiveness of achieving a certain level of thermal performance varies
significantly depending on the methods and materials used.


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