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Conference paper
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Abstract: This paper investigated the relationship between house size, star ratings and renewable energy systems to identify a range of affordable low carbon housing scenarios for the Australian market, specifically focusing on Zero (net) Energy Housing (ZEH) for Melbourne, Victoria. Research is increasingly emerging around the world identifying the technical and financial feasibility of low carbon housing, and policy development is beginning to reflect this. However debate still surrounds the additional upfront costs to achieve low carbon housing, particularly in terms of the costs to include renewable energy technologies. This paper therefore estimated the upfront costs of constructing 15 ZEH’s from a variety of house sizes and star ratings scenario. Analysis of the results indicated that: an 8 star ZEH could be constructed for a similar amount to a 9 star house connected only to traditional utilities; a small reductions in floor area can offset most, if not all, of the additional upfront costs associated with achieving a ZEH, as house size is a key determinant of energy consumption. The findings provide valuable insights for architects, planners and policy developers interested in progressing ZEH led development in a carbon-constrained future in Australia.

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