Joint call from industry leaders for an efficiency amendment
A multi-industry coalition of more than 100 national organizations has called on Australian state, territory and federal governments to require increased energy efficiency for new homes.
Released two weeks ahead of a meeting of national building ministers, the joint statement urges leaders to confirm proposed changes to the National Building Code.
Proposed changes would include increasing the minimum thermal performance for new homes from six to seven stars (based on the NatHERS rating system), introducing a “whole house” energy budget for appliances fixtures such as hot water, heating, air conditioning and pool pumps. , and would give the industry a transition period of 12 months to deliver.
Donors say lifting energy efficiency standards will not only cut household energy bills, but will also reduce emissions by up to 78 Mt by 2050, reduce fatalities in extremely cold or hot weather, reduce the cost of network upgrades by up to $12.6 billion by 2050, and reduce poverty and inequality by ensuring higher standards for social housing and private rentals.
The public appeal is led by the Property Council of Australia, Renew, the Australian Council of Social Service, the Green Building Council of Australia, the Energy Efficiency Council, Energy Consumers Australia, the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council and the Climate Council.
Other signatories include architects, health advocates, property developers, charities and social housing providers.
Renew CEO Dr Fiona Gray said his analysis shows lifting the standards will leave households with more money in their pockets from day one.
“For the dwindling number of people who are not already considering the importance of energy efficiency in their homes, the arrival of winter energy bills across Australia will certainly bring a new level of attention,” said said Dr. Gray.
Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison said that despite a global efficiency push and major advances in technology, energy standards for new homes have not been significantly updated for over of a decade.
“With Australia’s National Construction Code sitting dormant for ten years, Australia has fallen further and further behind international standards, and now is the time to catch up with the rest of the world,” Mr Morrison said.
“With housing and rental affordability at crisis point and inflation yet to peak, if our political leaders [need to be] serious about alleviating long-term pressures on the cost of living, while addressing climate change, and then these amendments, which have been considered for some time,” he said.
The national meeting of building ministers will take place on Friday 26 August.