Property industry top driver of energy efficiency

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Australia’s property industry is leading the way for sustainability and energy efficiency worldwide, a new global survey showed.

The 2018 scorecard by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) revealed that Australia performed first in class on building energy efficiency, and was ahead of the scorecard median overall thanks to efforts like the National Construction Code, Commercial Building Disclosure Scheme and appropriate appliance and equipment labelling. 

The study also reported that even as the country was successful in minimizing its energy usage, it still dropped two spots regarding overall energy efficiency for the world’s largest energy users – from 16th in 2016 to 18th this year. Even more troubling, Australia is currently the overall worst performing developed country on energy efficiency.

Property Council Chief Executive Ken Morrison noted that the government must continue working on Australia’ emissions policies.

“The fact that our built environment policy settings are better than the international average is a big positive for Australia,” he said, “but there is also a lot more to do to encourage the best to be better and to shift the performance of the middle.”

Morrison pointed to the Australia’s National Energy Productivity Plan as a strong foundation that was still inadequate, saying that “more ambitious policy will be needed, as set out in the roadmap to zero emissions by 2050 in the Low Carbon, High Performance Report produced by the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC).”

Currently, minimum energy performance standards for commercial buildings in the National Construction Code (NCC) are being raised, but there are no planned modifications for residential buildings.

The real estate industry is leading the way in the push to raise the standards higher in the NCC. ASBEC, for instance, is the first step in “an industry-led pathway through a ‘zero carbon ready’ building code.” 

Morrison singled out the government, saying it needs to be more comprehensive in its efforts to tackle energy efficiency.

”Tools like the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) have been game changers in improving the sustainability outcomes for our industry.”

NABERS, which could potentially be leveraged in other areas of government policy, continues to develop new rating tools for different housing areas, including apartments and tenancies.

“Better energy efficiency drives positive economic outcomes as well as improving sustainability with savings of up to $20 billion by 2030 forecast for the built environment,” Morrison said. 

 

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