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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4705 ..


I was a bit carried away with myself because as all the Assembly knows by now, I am sure, solar access and solar passive design is a subject very dear to my heart and my enthusiasm carried me away.

The aim of my motion today is to ensure that solar access rights and passive solar design can be implemented quickly in the ACT. We had a very useful discussion yesterday about greenhouse gas reduction. Whether it be a reduction by 30 per cent or a reduction by 40 per cent, it is clear that buildings will have to be part of this. Buildings are 75 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the ACT. One thing that we can do to make buildings better is to face them to the north and to use passive solar design. I will talk a little more about that in a minute.

At the beginning, I would just like to say that in introducing this motion we are not trying to say that we are anti scrutiny of the changes. We are totally in favour of the community consultation but we think that what we need to concentrate on here is the objectives which we are all going through. I will now go through the details of my motion and how this will achieve that.

The first thing we say is that the Assembly notes that good passive solar design is important for reducing energy use for heating and cooling, decreasing ongoing energy costs and increasing the comfort of buildings. Because we seem to have so much discussion on this I thought I would just briefly go through what good passive solar design is.

Good passive solar design has three elements. Firstly, it is getting sun into the building. As everyone in Canberra I hope knows, the sun basically is on the northern side. In the summer it is higher and in the winter it is lower. What that wonderful fact means is if you have a lot of northern glass you will get lots of sun in in the winter and with a small eave you will not get much sun in the summer. So passive solar design means that you are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, which is what we want in Canberra.

The second part of passive solar design is insulation so that the heat you have got in in the winter stays in with insulation or in the summer with the insulation the heat that is outside stays out. The third part is thermal mass so that the heat that has got in or the cool that is there can be kept in the thermal mass. It seems to me that the Assembly unfortunately has not quite got the absolute brilliance of passive solar design. If it had, we would not be talking about it at such length.

It is not new. My parents’ house was built in Canberra in 1957. It was built with passive solar design. It was built by the Australian National University. It had architects who knew that that works in Canberra. In fact, I remember their response to my mother who complained that there were not enough fireplaces. She had just come from England. They said, “Mrs Le Couteur, in Canberra the sun shines and this is all you need.” They were right back then in 1957. The sun is still shining in Canberra. It is shining in exactly the same location and we could build houses that work.

We have to have these variations to the territory plan because, although we all know about passive solar design, unfortunately we only have to look at the houses that are


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