Western Australia plans for water efficiency

Plumbing designed to keep options open: "Stage 2, the next phase to be introduced next year, will require the plumbing of new homes be done to ensure that they can be connected to an approved alternative water supply at a later date. An alternative water supply might be a water tank, a bore, or pipes for recycled water.

Garden lovers need alternative supply…: "New homes with a high water demand for landscaping will need an approved alternative water supply for appropriate non-potable use.

…big water users too: "New homes with a high water demand for internal use will also need an approved alternative water supply for appropriate non-potable use.

Good guide for existing homes: "While codes will be mandatory for all new homes approved from September 2007, owners of existing homes can also use the ratings tools under 5 Star Plus to find out how to make savings around their existing homes.

Easy retrofitting: "The great part about the initiatives in this phase of the building codes is that they are things that, in many cases, can be retrofitted into our homes. People can change their taps, update their hot water systems and look to the new standards as a way of improving the energy efficiency in their home.

Building costs to go up: "Will it cost more to build a house? This is one of the questions that has been floating around in this debate. It is viable to introduce these as universal standards because best change comes slowly. When we look at how we want to change things, we must inspire a little bit of new momentum and thinking on an issue that builds up over a number of years.

Aim to challenge status quo: "From there, in this case, we can inspire builders and providers to begin implementing it, who then begin to build up a culture in the industry until a critical mass is reached, at which stage we can make everyone comply and try to force those who have not been self-motivated to introduce those standards.

Little red tape: "The great thing also about 5 Star Plus is that it has not resulted in more red tape. The benefits to the consumer of 5 Star Plus are considerable because they will result in lower water and energy bills.

75pc reduction of hot water bill: "For example, by changing from an electric hot water system to a solar hot water system and using an efficiently controlled booster, the hot water bill in Perth will reduce by about 75 per cent. That will add up to thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the system and offset the initial extra expense considerably.

Reference: Legislative Council of Western Australia, Thursday 6 September 2007 – Clerk of the Legislative Council and Clerk of the Parliaments – Building Sustainability Index – 5 Star Plus Scheme.

Erisk Net, 22/10/2007

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