The House of the Future: 2017 Green Living Conference

As energy prices rise, new technologies appear in response almost every day. The Master Builders 2017 Green Living Conference is an excellent way to ensure you're aware and understand the latest developments in the building and construction industry. This year's conference was held on Friday the 1st of September at the Building Leadership Simulation Centre in Victoria and covered topics including advancements in building methods and materials, new goals and overall better buildings. With advancements in these areas, greater benefits can be realised by installers, end consumers and the environment. These advancements will allow consumers to live in homes which perform better than ever – homes which stay warm in winter, cool during summer, and do so while maintaining energy efficiency levels that are unprecedented for typical existing dwellings in Australia. This years' conference featured a panel of various industry experts, each explaining various methods of reducing energy costs while increasing comfort.

Starting the morning off was Damien Moyse and Dean Lombard from the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) who discussed solar, gas and electricity fuel selection for households. The findings of the ATA showed that when combined with solar PV, electricity as the fuel source for households was cheaper than the gas alternative, and when taken a step further with constructions utilising modern building methods and energy management techniques, it is possible to bring your energy costs almost to nothing. These findings are exceptionally promising as fossil fuel historically have been used to power Australian households' due to their perceived low cost. Households can now be powered by electricity generated using "green" methods for less cost than fossil fuels.

Following the ATA presentation was a presentation from Sven Maxa of Maxa Design who presented on building high performance homes. Sven shared ideas and knowledge gained from his experience building passive homes. Speaking about the benefits of building high performance homes which feature airtight membranes to minimise energy losses, Sven also shared examples of construction projects built utilising these principals.

Complimenting Sven's presentation was Oliver Joss, head of technology and product management at STIEBEL ELTRON. Oliver provided an in-depth look at heat recovery ventilation and its importance in high performance (air tight) homes. Ventilation in airtight homes ensures the health and comfort of occupants while avoiding the growth of mould, which can lead to damage of the structure. Oliver also explained how heat recovery ventilation reduces energy costs by utilising a cross flow exchanger to recover up to 90% of heat.

The next presentation was by Stewart Prain of Rylock. Stewart discussed the performance parameters to consider when assessing windows and glass doors. The windows and doors of a home can be a major loss of heat energy, and if not properly assessed can lead to an increase of energy costs to compensate for the heat loss. To conclude the day, Stuart Lee of Craftsmen Quality Builders presented on building a passive house-plus home. This included discussing techniques and important considerations when bringing everything together for the construction of a high-performance house, covering both the timeframe and difficulty of these types of projects.

We would like to thank the Master Builders Association of Victoria for organising and running the event. With many questions answered throughout the day, it was a very informative day for all. Thanks to all who attended, we look forward to seeing you at future events. If you have any further questions regarding heat recovery ventilation, please don't hesitate to contact us on 1800 153 351.

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