Built Environment

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'.



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Built to Perform: An industry led pathway to a zero carbon ready building code [PDF 2.57 MB]

Energy standards in Australia’s National Construction Code must be urgently upgraded if new buildings are to be fit and ready for a zero carbon future, according to a new report ​Built to Perform,​ prepared by ClimateWorks Australia and the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council. The report shows that setting stronger energy standards for new buildings in the Code could, between now and 2050, reduce energy bills by up to $27 billion, cut energy network costs by up to $7 billion and deliver at least 78 million tonnes of cumulative emissions savings.

The Bottom Line - Interim Report

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. 

Click here to read The Bottom Line report.

The detailed methodology, numbers and results presented in The Bottom Line report are underpinned by analysis set out in the Technical Report, which is available here.

Building Code Energy Performance Trajectory Project – Issues Paper [PDF 2.58 MB]

ClimateWorks Australia has partnered with the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) to support the development of an industry-led and evidence-based pathway towards ambitious, long-term targets for energy performance requirements within the National Construction Code. The first publication in this project is an Issues Paper, with an interim report on project findings due in November 2017 and a final report including a policy pathway and cost-benefit analysis due in March of 2018.