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There are many things you can do when renovating or building a new home to ensure it is well adapted to climate change impacts such as heatwave, flood and bushfire.
NatHERS is a national system that regulates how new and existing Australian homes are rated for their thermal performance. It enables the design of a home to be assessed by skilled professionals, using sophisticated computer modelling programs. A NatHERS accredited assessor can suggest simple ways to make a home more comfortable, save energy, and achieve building approvals.
Climate change projections show that Tasmania is likely to experience more heatwaves over the summer months during the 21st century.
Installing passive design features can keep your house warmer during winter, as well as reduce the need for air conditioners to cool your home during summer, without increasing power use or producing greenhouse gases. You can improve the passive thermal properties of your home by:
The number of very high, or extreme fire danger days across Tasmania is expected to increase as our climate changes over the 21st century. To address the threat of bushfire, development and building controls have been introduced to reduce the risks to human life and property, and costs to the community.
On 19 September 2012, the statewide planning code for bushfire-prone areas came into effect. The code establishes standards that apply to land use and development in bushfire prone areas.
The code only applies to new development or works and is not retrospective. However, you may want to voluntarily adopt the safety measures and increase your property’s resistance to bushfire. These measures include:
Planning and Building in Bushfire-Prone Areas for Owners and Builders (PDF), produced by the Tasmania Fire Service, provides more information on measures to protect your new building from bushfire. The Tasmania Fire Service's Bushfire: Prepare Act Survive webpage also provides a range of information on how you can prepare your existing home to protect it against the threat of bushfire.
Rainfall intensity is projected to increase across Tasmania by 2100, resulting in more frequent flooding events. As well as avoiding construction in areas that are likely to flood, the risk of flood damage to homes can be reduced by:
The State Emergency Service website has a wide range of resources to help you protect your home from flooding.
Many Tasmanian coastal communities are already vulnerable to coastal hazards such as inundation (flooding), storm surge and erosion. Climate change impacts, such as sea level rise, will increase the vulnerability of many communities to coastal hazards. Sea levels have been rising at an increasing rate since the early 1800's, and are projected to increase by almost a metre by 2100. This means that homes built in low-lying areas are at risk of flooding.
Extreme flooding events occur when high tides combine with storms. A rise in sea level means that high water levels which we have seen during a one-in-a-100-year storm tide event would be more frequent. For example, by 2090, the impact of projected sea level rise will mean that a 100-year event, based on 20th century conditions, will occur as frequently as once every 2-6 years depending on location, and could occur more than once per year in the worst case scenarios.
Addressing these threats is best done at a community level. To help communities understand their risks from coastal hazards now and in the future, the Tasmanian Government has developed sea level rise planning allowances and coastal hazard maps.
The Tasmanian Government is also preparing state planning codes which will address coastal hazards (inundation and erosion) and be implemented through the statewide planning scheme until mid-2016.
Additionally, through the Tasmanian Coastal Adaptation Pathways (TCAP) project, councils and communities are working together to develop adaptation strategies for vulnerable coastal areas. Reports from TCAP projects, in various areas around Tasmania, give information about coastal risks and possible ways to respond to the risks in those areas.
You can also find more information from your local council.
More tips for your home: