August 28, 2020
In order to build comfortable and cost- effective homes for the future it is vital to continue adapting and innovating to our changing climate and environment. 2020 began for us in Australia with the largest bushfires in recent history.
Bushfires are increasingly affecting more and more of our population due to expanding urban sprawl and CSIRO are at the forefront innovating for Australia’s future in a bushfire prone land.
Over the last twenty years Justin Leonard has been studying this as Research scientist leader focusing on bushfire urban design. He’s reported that there is a great opportunity to look at the overlap of energy efficiency and bushfire resilience. Some of these overlaps can be design principles like the use of double brick or mudbrick while others are product choices like choosing non-flammable insulation and toughened glass. When designing and building for the future, we need to look at his research and these principles as a blueprint for how we can create homes that can perform and survive our Australian summers.
Just as our emergency services were getting the bushfires under control, before we could draw breath, 2020 threw a curve ball that has impacted everyone in the country: COVID-19. This has led to a large shift in people working from, and spending more time, in their homes due to COVID-19 lockdown.
A survey by Swinburne University shows that four in 10 people have shifted to working from home and 65% of managers believe this shift will remain beyond COVID-19 based restrictions. With all this additional time in their homes, the energy consumed to maintain comfort levels are even more important. It was reported by EnergyNetwork.com.au that Victoria residential energy demand increased by 14% in the week lockdowns were announced and a 5% increase from the same time last year. With additional time spent in our homes and energy demand increasing, it’s apparent the building industry must build homes to that support the way Australian’s want to live and work during and after this pandemic.