Australian Building Codes Board
BCA 2010 AWARENESS RESOURCE KIT
MODULE THREE: UNDERSTANDING ENERGY
FOR CLASS 1 & 10 BUILDINGS
A Case Study
B u i l d i n g A u s t r a l i a ’ s F u t u r e
This document was first published in 2006. It was revised in 2010 as part of the
amendments to the increased stringency of the energy efficiency provisions in the Building
Code of Australia, as part of the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency.
© 2007 – 2010 Australian Government and the State and Territory Governments of Australia
A Case Study – Module Three: Understanding Energy Efficiency Provisions for Class 1 & 10
Buildings (BCA Awareness Resource Kit). Material contained in the publication may be
reproduced for educational purposes and for use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968.
Otherwise, no part may be reproduced without prior permission. Requests and inquiries
concerning reproduction and rights should be directed in the first instance to:
The General Manager
Australian Building Codes Board
GPO Box 9839
CANBERRA ACT 2601
BCA 2010 AWARENESS RESOURCE KIT
MODULE THREE: ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROVISIONS FOR
CLASS 1 AND 10 BUILDINGS
A Case Study – Typical Brick Veneer House
The energy efficiency elemental Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) Provisions for Class 1 and
10 buildings are relatively detailed because they cover all of the major components of
a house and because they vary considerably depending on the applicable climate
zone. Given this level of complexity, it is important that practitioners have a good
understanding of how to apply the energy efficiency provisions to a house.
The purpose of this case study is to examine how the energy efficiency elemental
DTS Provisions apply to a typical brick veneer dwelling. A fairly typical house has
been chosen to provide a good understanding of how the provisions are applied.
More complex houses can be assessed using the same basic principles.
Of course, houses of this type can also be designed using house energy rating
software in accordance with an alternative DTS pathway. However, this study will
focus on the elemental DTS Provisions because it represents more of the BCA
2. The project
A three bedroom brick veneer house is to be constructed in climate zone 6. It has a
cavity brick wall in the lounge room, and the wall between the house and garage is a
stud wall. The house is to be constructed on a concrete slab-on-ground and will have
a conventional pitched tiled roof with a flat ceiling.
The house has 3 fans and 4 downlights penetrating the ceiling.
An in-slab heating system will be installed under the bathroom. It will have a
thermostat and time switch and the power load is 120 W/m 2 .
A reverse-cycle air-conditioning system will be installed throughout the rest of the
house (not the garage).
The proposed lighting system totals 500 Watts for the house and 60 Watts for the
garage. There are no lighting controls.
The supply water heater is a 5 star gas unit.
A floor plan, elevations and section of the subject house are shown in the next few
Case Study – Typical Brick Veneer House 1
Case Study – Typical Brick Veneer House 2
Case Study – Typical Brick Veneer House 3
Case Study – Typical Brick Veneer House 4
3. Climate zone
The first fundamental matter that needs to be determined before applying the DTS
Provisions is the climate zone in which the house is to be located. Because "climate
zone" is a defined term, an explanation of this term is contained within Clause 1.1.1
of Volume Two. There is also a map of Australia showing diagrammatically the
extent of each zone and a table detailing the applicable climate zone for common
For locations that are more difficult to determine, a suite of State and Territory
climate zones maps can be viewed on the ABCB website, www.abcb.gov.au.
In this case, the applicable zone is climate zone 6.
4. Building fabric
Having determined the applicable climate zone, the next logical step is to examine
Part 3.12.1 and determine what particular treatment the fabric of the house requires
to improve its thermal performance.
Roofs in climate zone 6 are required to achieve a minimum Total R-Value of 5.1 in
the upwards direction (refer Table 126.96.36.199). According to Figure 188.8.131.52, a
ventilated pitched tiled roof with a flat ceiling in climate zone 6 achieves a Total R-
Value of 0.23. This means that additional insulation is needed in the roof of minimum
R-Value 4.87 (5.1 - 0.23) in the upward direction. This can be achieved by installing
bulk insulation or a combination of bulk and reflective insulation. There are only
three ceiling fans and 4 downlights penetrating the roof insulation which is within the
allowance so no compensation for the penetrations is needed.
4.2 Roof lights
The roof light serving the living, kitchen and dining rooms constitutes just over 1.5%
of the floor area of the space served and is therefore required to comply with
Table 184.108.40.206. The roof light shaft index is approximately 0.83 (750 height / 900
opening), which means that the roof light is required to achieve a Total U-Value of
not more than 7.3. The supplier of the roof light should be consulted to ensure that it
falls within this parameter.
4.3 External walls
The external walls are required to comply with Table 220.127.116.11a for a brick veneer
wall. A minimum Total R-Value of 2.8 must be achieved. Using the information in
Figure 18.104.22.168, this means that additional insulation with a minimum R-Value of 2.24
(2.8 - 0.56) is required within the brick veneer external walls. Note that the air space
must be maintained so the frame size will need to be consistent with the insulation
It is also worth noting, however, that Table 22.214.171.124b only requires R1.0 insulation in
walls with a surface density of not less than 220 kg/m 2 that are constructed on a
concrete slab-on-ground (refer option (c) for climate zone 6). Cavity brick walls are
Case Study – Typical Brick Veneer House 5
considered to achieve a surface density of more than 220 kg/m 2 which means that
the feature walls to the lounge room only require the addition of R1.0 insulation.
The external walls of the garage are not affected by these provisions because the
garage is not a conditioned space (refer Clause 3.12.1).
The provisions do not require the insulation of concrete slab-on-ground floors except
where they contain an in-slab heating or cooling system (refer Subclause
126.96.36.199(c)(i). Given that it is proposed to install an in-slab heating system within the
bathroom, R1.0 insulation is required around the external vertical edge of the slab as
described in Subclause 188.8.131.52(c).
4.5 Attached Class 10a buildings
In climate zone 6, the provisions require that either the external walls of attached
garages or the internal wall separating the attached garage from the house achieve
the same level of thermal performance as the external walls of the house. In this
instance, because the external walls of the garage are of single skin brickwork, and
the internal wall framed, it would be easier for the separating wall to achieve the
required level of thermal performance.
As previously discussed, the external walls of the house were required to achieve a
minimum Total R-Value of 2.8. This can be achieved in the internal separating wall
by the addition of bulk insulation. However, it should be noted that the inherent R-
Value of the separating wall can be calculated to be 0.36 (two still air films on the
outside, two layers of plasterboard either side of the frame and insulation filling the
space in the frame) using the information in Specification J1.5 of Volume One. This
means that the R-Value of the additional insulation can be reduced to 2.44 (2.8 –
0.36) which could be R2.5 bulk in a 90 mm frame.
Part 3.12.2 details the formulae to be applied to the glazing in a house to determine
compliance. To simplify this process, the ABCB has developed a glazing calculator,
which can be downloaded from the ABCB's website www.abcb.gov.au. The
calculator is simply a spreadsheet that automatically determines whether the glazing
performance targets have been achieved based on the input of the glazing
In terms of the case study house, the results from using the glazing calculator are
shown below. Note that glazing G11 is not included as the garage is not a
These above results are based on the use of the “worst case” performance values in
the Explanatory information following Clause 184.108.40.206 for single clear glass with
aluminium frames. The results show that the solution fails on conductance 119%
more than the allowance.
Case Study – Typical Brick Veneer House 6
In order to achieve compliance, the performance values were replaced with those for
clear double glazing in the Explanatory information being used, as shown below.
It can be seen that the solution still fails on conductance but only by 6% over the
allowance. As a further refinement, the 600 mm eave on the north-east side has
been reduced to 400 mm and compliance achieved. Because the problem was with
winter conductance, more north-east sun is beneficial and improves the performance.
Case Study – Typical Brick Veneer House 7
6. Building sealing
The next step is to examine Part 3.12.3 and to determine whether the subject house
requires to be sealed in order to control unwanted air movement throughout the
Note that the garage is not affected by these provisions because it is used only for
the accommodation of vehicles (refer Clause 3.12.3(b)(iii)). This concession is in
place to avoid a build up of a carbon monoxide if a car is running in a closed and
6.1 Chimneys and flues
There are no chimneys and flues installed in the case study house therefore Clause
220.127.116.11 is not applicable.
6.2 Roof lights
In the case study house the living, kitchen and dining rooms are to be conditioned
spaces and irrespective of whether these rooms are habitable or not they have to be
sealed, therefore the roof light serving them is required to comply with Clause
18.104.22.168 and be sealed. To achieve the required performance it does not need a
diffuser (the roof light alone achieves the performance) and it is not openable so it
only needs to be sealed at the roof.
6.3 External windows and doors
The provision requires that the external windows and doors in climate zone 6 serving
a conditioned space or a habitable room must be sealed to restrict unwanted air
leakage. In our case, the garage is the only space in the building that is not artificially
Case Study – Typical Brick Veneer House 8
heated or cooled thus external window and doors serving this premise will not require
The sealing of all other external windows and doors can be achieved by fitting a seal
that may be a foam or rubber compressible strip, fibrous seal or the like plus a seal
on the bottom of the external swing doors.
6.4 Exhaust fans
There are no exhaust fans installed in the house therefore Clause 22.214.171.124 is not
6.5 Construction of roofs, walls and floors
Roofs, external walls, external floors and any openings forming part of the external
fabric of the house serving either conditioned space or habitable room are required to
comply with Clause 126.96.36.199. This also means that the garage's external fabric and
its openings are exempted from complying with 188.8.131.52(b).
Compliance with this part will be achieved by skirting, architraves and cornices.
6.6 Evaporative coolers
There are no evaporative coolers installed in the house therefore Clause 184.108.40.206
does not apply.
7. Air movement
Part 3.12.4 requires compliance with Part 3.8.5 for climate zone 6 so Part 3.12.4 has
no additional provision.
The last step is to examine Part 3.12.5 to establish provisions applicable to the
house's services to minimise the amount of energy lost through air-conditioning
ductwork, central heating water piping, sanitary hot water and lighting. These
provisions apply both for Class 1 and 10a buildings.
8.1 Insulation of services
The provisions require thermal insulation for central heating, water piping and cooling
ductwork to be protected against adverse effects of the weather and sunlight and to
be able to withstand the temperatures within the piping and ductwork.
8.2 Central heating water piping
An in-slab heating system within the lounge, dining, kitchen and living rooms is
exempted from being insulated as stated in Table 220.127.116.11 (1)(b) as the insulation
would impede the heating of the slab.
8.3 Heating and cooling ductwork
In climate zone 6 the ductwork and cooling fittings are required to achieve a Total R-
Value of 1.5 in all locations including in a roof space with insulation installed at the
ceiling level and external to the building, as described in Table 18.104.22.168. The
Case Study – Typical Brick Veneer House 9
provision requires that AS/NZS 4859.1 is used for the testing of insulation.
Note that Clause 22.214.171.124(c) exempts ductwork inside the conditioned space.
The cooling ductwork and fittings are required to be sealed against air loss. Rigid
ductwork must be sealed by closing all openings in the surface, joints and seams of
ductwork with adhesives, mastics, sealants or gaskets in accordance with AS 4254
for Class C seal. Class C seal requires sealing to transverse joints with static
pressure classification of 500 Pa and where the static pressure classification is less
the ductwork is to be sealed when required by the designer. (Refer to Table 2.2.1 in
AS 4254). Flexible ductwork must be sealed with a sealant or adhesive tape in
conjunction with a draw band.
Under Clause 126.96.36.199(b) the duct insulation located in the garage and in the roof
space is required to be protected by an outer sleeve of protective sheeting which is
sealed with adhesive tape of minimum 48 mm width.
8.4 Electric resistance space heating
The only electric resistance space heating is in the slab of the bathroom and it will
have a thermostat and time switch. At 120 W/m 2 , the power load is less than the
150 W/m 2 allowance.
8.5 Artificial lighting
As the house is 116 m 2 in area and the garage 18 m 2 in area, the allowances by
Clause 188.8.131.52 are 580 Watts and 54 Watts respectively.
The lighting load is stated as 500 Watts for the house and 60 Watts for the garage so
the house lighting complies but the garage lighting will need to be reduced to below
8.6 Water heater
The water heater is rated at 5 stars and uses natural gas so it complies with Clause
184.108.40.206(c). Note that depending upon the jurisdiction there may be different
8.7 Swimming pool and spa
There is no swimming pool or spa so the provisions of Clause 220.127.116.11 do not apply.
This case study provides detailed analysis of application of the energy efficiency DTS
measures of the BCA to a typical brick veneer house, proposed to be constructed in
climate zone 6. The DTS measures are based on the eight climate zones that
classify Australia into broad regional areas with similar climatic conditions.
Part 3.12.1 for the building fabric states the minimum acceptable levels of thermal
efficiency for: roof and ceiling constructions; roof lights; external walls; floors and the
Case Study – Typical Brick Veneer House 10
Then, the external glazing provisions detailed in Part 3.12.2 must be examined to
establish the treatment of glazing to control the amount of heat entering or leaving
the house through glazing. The glazing calculator developed by the ABCB assists
with calculations required under this part of the BCA.
Part 3.12.3 for the building sealing DTS provisions addresses unwanted air
movement through the building, and must be examined to verify sealing measures for
chimneys and flues; roof lights; external windows and doors; exhaust fans and
evaporative coolers and general construction requirements for roofs, walls and floors.
The next step is to examine requirements relating to the beneficial air movement
within the building contained in the Part 3.12.4, which will clarify the applicable
provisions for air movement, ventilation openings and installation requirements for
ceiling fans and evaporative coolers to habitable rooms in a Class 1 building. As the
location of the proposed building is climate zone 6 there is no additional provision
over that required for health.
The last step is to determine the requirements for the insulating of services, namely
heating and cooling services, hot water supply and lighting, contained in Part 3.12.5;
again, to prevent excessive energy usage.
Case Study – Typical Brick Veneer House 11