Working with industry partners Delfin-Lend Lease and the Henley Property Group and supported by the AusZEH consortium, CSIRO designed and built the demonstration house 30 kilometres north of Melbourne’s CBD in the community of Laurimar in Doreen, Victoria.

The 8 star energy-efficiency rated AusZEH showcases off-the-shelf building and renewable energy-generation technologies and new future-ready energy management systems.

The AusZEH is designed to produce enough ‘zero-emission’ electricity from 6 kW solar panels to supply all the operating energy needs of the household so that its net total CO2 or other greenhouse gas emissions is zero.

The director of CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship, Dr Alex Wonhas, says the uptake of zero-emission housing in Australia could have a significant impact on reducing emissions nationwide.

"CSIRO scientists estimate that if all the new housing built in Australia between 2011 and 2020 were zero-emission houses, 63 million tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would be saved," he says.

"This would be equivalent to taking all of Australia’s private cars off the road for two years and 237 days, or closing all Australia’s power stations for up to 100 days."

CSIRO’s Energy Transformed Flagship initiated the AusZEH project to demonstrate and evaluate how low-carbon housing can be achieved in Australia to reduce GHG emissions and create a more sustainable future for the nation.

For 12 months, the AusZEH demonstration house will become a home for an Australian family and a laboratory for CSIRO.

The house has been fitted with a unique energy management system developed by La Trobe University in partnership with CSIRO, which tracks energy use in the house and provides feedback via customised reports to household members.

This information on the performance of the ‘living’ house will be used to identify ways to improve the design of future zero and low-emission houses.

CSIRO initiated the National Research Flagships to provide science-based solutions in response to Australia’s major research challenges and opportunities.