12 March 2012 – Letter: As part of making NSW No 1 in green building, does the NSW Environment Minister  intend to revise BASIX so that its building envelope requirements match the national standard of six stars?

It’s now clear that the assumption of BASIX – that a “reasonable” building envelope would be OK as long as the lighting and equipment were efficient – is falling short.

To manage peak summer demand you need both a good building envelope and efficient equipment.

On the other hand, the BASIX approach of requiring separate performance standards for summer and winter could help the national code work better.

For example, Victorian homes are optimised for winter performance under six-star, so they are often hot boxes in summer because of lack of management of glazing.

And on the issue of   Pixel [which recently was awarded the top US LEED green building rating] is the building actually fully occupied yet? Does it have any real performance data? We shouldn’t get too excited until we’re sure it really works. If it is occupied and performing, then this is a great outcome for Australia.

Professor Pears is adjunct professor at RMIT and director of Sustainable Solutions Pty Ltd