Green buildings needed to drive down energy bills

There is an urgent need for governments to act to upgrade Australia’s National Construction Code to put downward pressure on energy bills, according to a new report.

The report, produced by the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) in partnership with ClimateWorks Australia, reveaed Australia needs stronger targets and regulations to deliver energy bill savings, reduce stress on the Australia’s energy grid and deliver cost effective emissions reductions.

Energy Efficiency Council CEO Luke Menzel said the report shows Australia can’t afford not to act.

“Upgrading minimum energy standards for new buildings would have an incredible cumulative impact by 2050, reducing energy bills by up to $27 billion, network costs by up to $7 billion and deliver at least 78 million tonnes of cumulative emissions savings,” he said.

“In the wake of recent news that Australia is last in the developed world on energy efficiency policy and performance, this is tangible action that government can take now to turn that ranking around, and put downward pressure on energy bills around the country.”

Improved energy efficiency requirements could reduce new building energy use by up to 56 per cent through the use of simple measures such as more airtight buildings, higher levels of insulation, more shading, ceiling fans and light-coloured walls (in warmer climates), and increased efficiency standards for lights, hot water equipment and air conditioning units.

ASBEC Building Code Task Group and Energy Efficiency Council president Professor Tony Arnel said setting a trajectory for how energy standards will improve in time is crucial.

“If developers and manufacturers know how the Code requirements will evolve in the next 15 years, this will provide the regulatory certainty industry needs to plan and invest in new technologies, delivering higher building energy performance at lower cost,” Professor Arnel said.