Climateworks Centre is among more than 100 organisations to sign a joint statement emphasising the strong community support in Australia for lifting energy standards in the 2022 National Construction Code.
The statement has been released two weeks ahead of a National Building Ministers meeting, where the Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers have the opportunity to confirm amendments to the code.
The statement notes that it has been more than a decade since Australia meaningfully increased the minimum energy efficiency requirements for new homes in the National Construction Code.
Signatories to the statement back proposed new energy performance requirements including raising the minimum thermal performance standard from 6 to 7 stars (NatHERS equivalent) and the introduction of a ‘whole -of-home’ energy budget for fixed appliances (heating and cooling, hot water, lighting, and pool and spa pumps).
“By strengthening energy provisions in the National Construction Code and mandating the implementation of a 7 star minimum energy standard, Australia’s governments have an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to reducing emissions, as well as reducing the cost of living and improving building quality and comfort for Australian householders,” Climateworks Centre Cities Lead Margot Delafoulhouze says.
The statement outlines how lifting energy performance standards will:
- Cut energy bills. The Australian Building Codes Board finds that households will be up to $576 a year better off compared to business as usual. Savings on energy bills will be larger than the home loan cost of upfront improvements.
- Cut emissions by up to 15 million tonnes to 2030, and 78 million tonnes to 2050 nationally.
- Make homes healthier and more resilient. Houses that are too cold contribute to six per cent of deaths in Australia – double the rate in Sweden. There were 36,000 deaths in Australia associated with the heat between 2006 and 2017, with heat waves predicted to worsen.
- Make energy more affordable for all by managing energy demand and reducing the cost of grid upgrades by up to $12.6 billion to 2050. Effciency is a key measure to reduce the impact of volatile wholesale prices on households.
- Reduce poverty and inequality as people living in all new social housing and private rental will benefit from cheaper energy bills and better health outcomes.
The statement notes that all Australian homes should be safe, healthy, comfortable and affordable and that now is the time to lift energy performance standards for new homes.
Read more on energy efficiency:
- Climateworks’ formal submission for strengthening the National Construction Code
- Our Built to perform report, prepared with ASBEC in 2018