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Major Building Code Announcement

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In 2010, the Building Code of Australia (BCA) introduced significant changes to what was allowed in terms of energy consumption from lighting per square metre in your home.

In particular, the Code looks at the amount of insulation in a ceiling and the influence it has on the  installation of downlights; the maximum power capacity of lights, fans, pumps and other air-conditioning equipment; energy monitoring and metering facilities; and restrictions on use of electric heaters. Essentially all new homes and apartments need to have the equivalent of a six-star energy efficiency rating.

The main thing you need to be aware of is that as of May 2011, you will only be allowed 5W of lighting power per square metre, as opposed to the 25W per square metre of yesteryear. Concessions to this rule exist if certain lighting controls are used, and vary depending on the particular setup and hardware.

If you are planning or building a home you should ensure that your lighting designer and electrician are aware of these changes, otherwise you could be in for long delays and increased cost to fix it. Houses that don't meet these stringent new requirements may well fail their final inspections.

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