Doors open on Australia’s first zero-emission home

By April 29th, 2010

Designed to fit the Australian climate – and the lifestyle of a typical middle-income family –  Australia's first Zero Emission House (AusZEH) will be officially opened today in Melbourne.

Working with industry partners Delfin-Lend Lease and the Henley Property Group, and supported by the AusZEH consortium, CSIRO designed and built the demonstration house 30 kilometres north of Melbourne’s CBD, in the community of Laurimar in Doreen, Victoria.

The eight-star energy-efficiency rated AusZEH showcases off-the-shelf building and renewable energy-generation technologies, and new future-ready energy management systems.

Nearly 13 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are due to home energy use.

The AusZEH is designed to produce enough ‘zero-emission’ electricity from 6kW solar panels to supply all the operating energy needs of the household so that its net total CO2 or other greenhouse gas emissions is zero.
The Director of CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship, Dr Alex Wonhas, says the uptake of zero-emission housing in Australia could have a significant impact on reducing emissions nationwide.

“CSIRO scientists estimate that if all the new housing built in Australia between 2011 and 2020 were zero-emission houses, 63 million tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would be saved,” Dr Wonhas said.

Nearly 13 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are due to home energy use.

“This would be equivalent to taking all of Australia’s private cars off the road for two years and 237 days, or closing all Australia’s power stations for up to 100 days.”

CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship initiated the AusZEH project to demonstrate and evaluate how low-carbon housing can be achieved in Australia to reduce GHG emissions and create a more sustainable future for the nation.

For 12 months, the AusZEH demonstration house will become a home for an Australian family and a laboratory for CSIRO.

The house has been fitted with a unique energy management system developed by La Trobe University in partnership with CSIRO, which tracks energy use in the house and provides feedback via customised reports to household members.

This information on the performance of the ‘living’ house will be used to identify ways to improve the design of future zero and low-emission houses.

“Our greatest impact comes through partnerships with others,” Dr Wonhas said.

“Through the AusZEH consortium, expertise from CSIRO, industry, university and government partners have been combined to create a demonstration house which provides an example of how Australians can achieve a more sustainable future living in their homes.”

The AusZEH consortium membership includes: CSIRO, Delfin Lend Lease, Henley Property Group, La Trobe University, Sustainability Victoria, SP AusNet, Telstra and the Victorian Department of Human Services.

CSIRO initiated the National Research Flagships to provide science-based solutions in response to Australia’s major research challenges and opportunities. The 10 Flagships form multidisciplinary teams with industry and the research community to deliver impact and benefits for Australia.

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