Australia’s built environment sector offers enormous potential to reduce emissions while reaping financial and energy savings, through improving building energy efficiency and investing in renewable energy generation.
Currently, our built environment accounts for almost one quarter of our national emissions. In some areas of the built environment, Australia lacks best practice policies including minimum energy efficiency standards. This, along with a lack of awareness of potential benefits, has created barriers to reducing our building emissions.
A report by ClimateWorks for the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, Low Carbon, High Performance Buildings found:
Even before technological breakthroughs, cost-effective energy efficiency can reduce projected 2050 emissions from buildings by more than half
Implementing all energy efficiency opportunities identified in the report could deliver almost $20 billion in financial savings by 2030. These improvements would also bring a range of health and social benefits for Australian businesses and households
Furthermore, buildings could also meet over half the national energy productivity target, and more than one quarter of Australia’s national emissions
ClimateWorks is partnering with leaders in the built environment sector as well as government to help remove barriers to improving energy efficiency in buildings, and to support investment in renewable energy generation, along with other measures to help Australia’s built environment sector reach its full potential in reducing emissions. ClimateWorks is also working to overcome barriers to energy efficiency in buildings internationally, including in South East Asia through an 'Indonesia-Australia Incubator for Improving Energy Performance in Buildings project'.
The Bottom Line – household impacts of delaying improved energy requirements in the Building Code [PDF 3.72 MB]
Australia has the potential to strengthen residential energy standards in the Building Code and cut heating and cooling energy use by up to 51 per cent, according to a new report released today by ClimateWorks Australia and the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC).
The ClimateWorks and ASBEC report highlights that energy requirements in the Code were last updated in 2010 and are next due to be updated in 2019, which is proposed to include improvements to the requirements for housing. These are a good start, but there is no proposal to strengthen the required level of energy efficiency for homes. The report stresses that by failing to act now, we will be building to 2010 standards all the way to 2022, locking in higher emissions and energy costs.
However, implementing these changes now could deliver Australians more comfortable homes plus savings of up to $150 per household a year on energy bills, more than offsetting additional capital costs. Changes could also cut emissions by around 10.8 million tonnes to 2050 - the same amount Loy Yang B coal-fired power station emits annually - and reduce stress on the electricity grid.
The Bottom Line – Household Impacts of Delaying Improved Energy Requirements in the Building Code (Summary) [PDF 125.49 KB]
A one-page summary of The Bottom Line report, prepared by ClimateWorks Australia for the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC).