Australia’s Obsession with Big Houses Is Causing Energy Problems

Jon Capistrano
Jon Capistrano
January 12, 2017

Andre Stephan and Robert Crawford of the University of Melbourne said that more floor space cuts sustainability as reported by Finder.

They looked at the energy use of Australian houses, including the energy used to build the house, maintain and power households as stated in their study. The obvious is stated that more energy goes into bigger houses, which is bad news for the environment but also for the house owner’s budget.

Over the past 60 years, Australian homes have more than doubled in their size, going from an average of about 100 square metres in the 50’s to about 240 square metres today. This makes Australian houses the largest in the world, which is ahead of the United States and Canada. On the other hand, the average number of dwellers living in each household has been going down. So, this means that the average floor area per person has gone up from 30 square metres to around 87 square metres.

Everyone knows that bigger houses need more heating and cooling which results in higher energy bills. Plus, it need more materials to build and to maintain, more energy to manufacture and replace damaged materials.

The researchers analysed a typical 6-star brick-veneer house in Melbourne’s climate. They modified the house size from 100 square metres to 329 square metres using 90 different size configurations. For each of the configured sizes, they measured the energy embodied in the building materials and the energy required to replace the materials over 50 years.

They also calculated the operational power and energy use over 50 years for 2, 3, 4 and 5 occupants and then, they finally accounted energy losses across the supply chain.

The result showed larger houses used more energy and as the size of the house increased, the energy used in building and maintaining the house goes up more than the energy used to operate the house.

Click here to read the full story on Finder

Featured Image Credit: Jeremy Levine

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