Building a home and running it in an envrionmentally and efficient way takes careful planning. There are multiple benefits including comfort levels, impact on the planet, and cost savings. Planning this before or during a build is a must, but you can also determine where you can make improvements in your existing home, with an energy assessment. Sometimes simple changes can be made. Carly Gowers, from Star Rate Services, says that there are a number of different methods for assessing the energy performance (or thermal performance) of a building, and each new building project requires an energy assessment to show it complies with building regulation. Joining the Sustainable Home Hub, the team is offers professional energy assessment services for both residential and commercial building projects.
The energy assessment services show how energy efficient a proposed or existing building is. “While some people will opt for a building that will meet only the minimum energy efficiency requirements (and that’s okay!), others prefer to maximise thermal improvements to a building, to ensure it runs as efficiently as possible, therefore having a comfortable and low running cost building year round” explains Carly. Star Rate Services also has a sustainability focus in the way they operate, by working electronically wherever possible, and keeping printing to an absolute minimum.
Carly has been working as an Accredited Thermal Performance Assessor for approx. 18 months. Her background is varied (including a long stint working for an iconic SA environmental non-profit organisation), but her current work at Star Rate Services is enhanced with a degree in Interior Architecture and a life-long love of buildings and architecture. “In my spare time I make mid-century inspired rocket lamps using reclaimed timber and recycled/upcycled vintage fabrics” she says.
The other half of Star Rate Services is Stewart, her father, who has been working as an Accredited Thermal Performance Assessor for over 10 years. He has a very diverse background in building and planning, and is also a Building Surveyor. In his spare time he and Carly’s mum, Ann, produce their own wine from the grapes on the property where they have lived for 35 years.
The business was started by Stewart once he became an accredited Thermal Performance Assessor over 10 years ago. Both he and Carly have a passionate interest in sustainable buildings and wanted to be a part of the movement forward into building energy efficiency.
Tips on creating a more sustainable home
- Sustainability is very important to me in both business and at home.
- Obviously it is a big part of the service we provide, in being able to recommend the best thermal improvements to a building for both comfort and budget.
- At home we try to recycle and reduce as much waste as possible, spend as much time outdoors as we can (this is not only sustainable but also great for our health), and also be very mindful consumers!
- In terms of creating a sustainable home there are many aspects to take into account (especially if you are going to build), but my tips are:
- making the most of natural light;
- use natural materials where possible;
- use as many efficient/ethical/locally produced products as you can; and
- try to stick with your own style to avoid trends that you will want to replace later.
Carly says that an energy assessment is often requested at the end of the design process. But if you can be a little bit flexible, often some simple changes can make a big difference to how efficient a building performs. For example, site orientation or eave width can affect the solar gain in a building.
You can find out more about what Star Rate Services offer, and the importance of energy assessment for your home here