These ratings are a hot topic of late. And no wonder. I have always described VURB as compliance via the back door. Some dwelling designs are just very hard (=costly) to make compliant. For many, this is the most popular approach and for only one reason, which is their bottom line. With VURB, there is always a way to comply.
The Future Of VURB
Now there are calls to overhaul VURB or to dismiss it all together. There is a great need in my humble opinion to involve an energy assessor earlier in the design stage so that passive energy design principles are incorporated into the design as much as is possible. When no or little regard is given to energy efficiency, and compliance is seen as a hurdle rather than a help, cost of compliance only increases. Granted, there are always some design features for a building that are high on the priority list while not aiding energy efficiency. There is a tradeoff and there are always compromises to be made. a 6-star rating is not all that stringent so it is quite attainable if the main elements of the design are right.
However, incorporating thermal passive design principles does not mean that the final design looks like a dinosaur. Apart from a proportion of poorly oriented and small lots of land, there are many options to incorporate desired design features while also addressing the issue of energy efficiency.
For Australian dwellings to become more energy efficient in terms of heating and cooling loads, designs need to be smarter. When opting for a VURB assessment, we are paying lip to the issue of improving energy efficiency in buildings.
Contact us early in the design stage for advice and energy modelling. It will save you in terms of compliance costs and energy use.