Mar 7, 2014: BASIX is a JOKE!

I was pleased to learn from our local building inspector that we can obtain an Interim Occupancy Certificate (I’ve been lived in Montana for twenty years so I’m still getting reacquainted with how things work here at home). This means that Cintia and I will be able to move into the Greeny Flat as soon as we have the basics installed, i.e. some way to wash and cook. BUT she also said that we have to have all of our BASIX commitments installed.

For anyone reading this who is not from around here, BASIX is the Australian Governments ‘Building Sustainability Index’ which requires that every new development complete an online sustainability assessment and commit to installing certain things like so much insulation, double-glazed windows, rainwater tanks, solar panels, etc. When I submitted the initial application for the Greeny Flat to the Wingecarribee Shire Council I had to include a BASIX certificate. In my proud and passionate fervour about the Environmentally Sustainable superiority of the Greeny Flat project I included everything I could think of in order to get a really good score, which I got. In fact on the energy side, where the pass mark is 25% (25% of what? You may well ask but I can’t answer. Whatever it is though doesn’t 25% seem pretty low?), we scored 98%! The fact that I have no idea what I’m scoring 98% of doesn’t matter, does it? I was pleased as punch.

Trouble is, I want to move into the Greeny Flat before I have installed everything that I included on the original BASIX certificate (like ceiling fans, kitchen exhaust fans, etc). So now I have to redo the BASIX certificate and uncommit to those things. So I jumped online early this morning and went through the assessment again and, just for fun, I took out everything that wasn’t already installed (or committed to, including the 3kW solar PV system) and I still scored about 80% for the energy performance. This got me curious so I went through and took out everything I could think of down to uncommitting to install compact fluorescent light bulbs or any solar power at all. At this point I finally failed. Then I added back just enough solar power in order to pass again… i.e a 0.6kW solar power system!

What a joke! Admittedly the Greeny Flat has a significantly better Thermal Envelope (insulation, air-sealing, double-glazed windows, etc) than your average house. Nevertheless, what this means is that, in order to pass the Australian Government’s BUILDING SUSTAINABILITY INDEX (sounds grand doesn’t it), all I had to do was put in a tiny solar power system… nothing else!

This confirms what I already suspected… BASIX is meaningless and just another beaurocratic hurdle to jump over. I come back again and again to thinking that what really matters is that we learn how to use as little energy as possible and make more renewable energy than we use. So, after I resubmit my BASIX certificate to the council, we will not be committed to doing anything much on paper. In reality we remain deeply committed to the goal of building an energy positive home at an affordable price.

3 comments to Mar 7, 2014: BASIX is a JOKE!

  • Jason

    Hi Just read your Basix is a Joke rant and totally agree. I am currently rebuilding a 60 year old 3 bed cottage and have gone above and beyond my basix requirements. The roof insulation only required a 55mm anticon blanket under the colorbond! no mention of r3batts in the ceiling!

  • Jyoti Shankar

    Hi Andy, your greeny flat project is very interesting. Thank you for sharing your sustainable building journey. Just wanted to clarify about BASIX’s ‘passmarks’. These benchmarks are determined from NSW average residential water, electricity and gas consumption data collected from state-wide energy utilities by government departments.See link here: – As an example, each proposed dwelling needs to meet a 25% greenhouse gas reduction on the energy benchmark of 3,292 kg of CO2 per person per year. This means that the dwelling will be designed to enable each occupant to reduce their greenhouse emissions to no greater than 2,469kg of CO2 per person per year.

    No dobut that these are very basic and people should consider going beyond BASIX.

  • Oldmate

    To summarise:

    A leftist is bitten by the leftist laws dreamed up by leftist politicians voted in by other leftists, such as the original poster. Your suffering is hilarious.

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