CSIRO unveils Australia’s first ‘zero emission’ house

The AusZEH demonstration house. Image: CSIRO.

By Angela Dorizas

Australia’s first zero emission house, situated in the Victorian community of Laurimar, will soon be put to the test by its new occupants.

Designed and built by the CSIRO, the demonstration house has an eight-star energy-efficiency rating and includes off-the-shelf building and renewable energy-generation technologies and new future-ready energy management systems.

It was built in partnership with partners Delfin-Lend Lease and the Henley Property Group, and supported by the AusZEH consortium.

For 12 months the demonstration house will be occupied and tested by a typical middle-income family.

Zero-emission electricity from 6kW solar panels will supply all the operating energy needs of the household.

A unique energy management system, developed by La Trobe University in partnership with CSIRO, will track energy use in the house and provide feedback via customised reports to household members.

The information will in turn be used by the CSIRO to identify ways to improve the design of low-emissions houses.
Nearly 13 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions are due to home energy use, so the uptake of zero-emission housing could have a significant impact on reducing Australia’s carbon footprint.

CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship director, Dr Alex Wonhas, said estimates show that if all new housing built in Australia between 2011 and 2020 were zero-emission houses, 63 million tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would be saved.

“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,” Dr Wonhas said.

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