Society is paying more attention to eco-friendly measures, but the relaxed energy-efficiency requirements that form part of the proposed National Construction Code (NCC) 2016 could impede the sustainable construction movement. Read on to understand the potential changes and their implications.
Suggested NCC changes aim to make it easier for project proponents to provide innovative solutions in different buildings. Rather than the existing “deemed to satisfy” approach to energy compliance, new requirements promote a performance-based approach.
Under the proposed NCC, a Class 2 multi-residential building would face a similar energy and thermal assessment regime as a Class 5 commercial building. Currently, each individual apartment must receive a five-star NatHERS rating, and the whole building must get a six-star rating. Under new requirements, the building must still get a six-star rating, but individual apartments would not be assessed. So this overall rating could be achieved if some apartments are below standard, simply because others are outstanding.
The new NCC also eliminates the objectives for reducing greenhouse emissions and the functional statements for achieving them included in the 2015 code.
Implications for Sustainable Construction
According to a group of sustainable building experts, led by Darren O’Dea, the proposed regulations will allow clients to approve a reduced level of energy efficiency in new construction projects. His group fears architecture and engineering firms will find clients asking for reduced efficiency measures to save money in the short-term.