1. Introduction

Over half of the buildings standing in 2050 will be constructed from today onwards.

In Australia, the built environment accounts for almost a quarter of our emissions. The way we build can reduce energy use and emissions, delivering economic benefits. At Climateworks, we are focusing on the long term transition of the sector and the practical steps required to reach net zero emissions by mid-century. Crucial to this process is embedding a forward thinking mindset into decision making and policy. We also aim to build the capacity of decision makers, unique in this area. 

What we’re doing

Partnering with the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) and peak industry bodies, we helped to set a new trajectory for Australia’s building code. This work culminated in Built to Perform, a report that showed setting stronger energy standards for new buildings could:

  •  reduce energy bills by up to $27 billion
  • cut energy network costs by up to $12.6 billion
  • deliver at least 78 million tonnes of cumulative emissions savings

Our next step is to support regulators and policymakers in the implementation process, working on practical steps for change.

Australia could lead the way

Europe and parts of the USA are leading the globe for forward thinking commercial and residential building standards. Individual countries and states have set ambitious emissions targets and are embedding these industry wide. However, Australia’s progress across our buildings and infrastructure uniquely positions us to set uniform standards across commercial and residential sectors, overtaking current world leaders.

2. Project Timeline


Partner with industry and government

Our built environment team collaborate with peak industry bodies and government to capitalise on existing expertise


Engage with major stakeholders

Stakeholders from across Australia are engaged for input and review at key project milestones


Develop a future forward trajectory

Using extensive research and industry knowledge, a trajectory is developed for aligning the built environment with a Paris agreed standard for the future

3. Key People

Our built environment team has experience across technical analysis, project management, sustainability, social science, modelling and more.

4. Partners


5. Resources

Building code energy performance trajectory project – issues paper

Energy requirements for new construction in building codes are key to reaching energy and emissions goals.

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Built to perform

To reach our climate goals, we must start building for a net zero future now.

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Built to Perform in northern Australia

New buildings in northern Australia present unique opportunities and challenges in reducing emissions.

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Decarbonisation Futures: buildings

Can innovation in buildings help shift our trajectory towards decarbonisation? The buildings sector is the driver of about a fifth of Australia’s emissions.

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Low carbon high performance buildings

How buildings can make a major contribution to Australia’s emissions and productivity goals Australia’s built environment presents a cost-effective emissions reduction opportunity.

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The bottom line

Delaying improved energy requirements in the Building Code has real household impacts.

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Unlocking barriers to cogeneration – project outcomes report

Increasingly, Australian property developers and owners are seeking to incorporate cogeneration into their existing buildings and new developments.

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Commercial buildings emissions reduction opportunities

There is more to commercial buildings than offices. Some promising solutions to commercial buildings emissions reduction are already in place on a small scale in Australia.

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Climateworks review of Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) Act

The Greenhouse and Energy Minimum Standards (GEMS) Act and the Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) Program, deliver harmonised efficiency standards and labelling for equipment and appliances.

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Climateworks submission to NSW housing strategy discussion paper

Development of the Housing Strategy for NSW is timely. As NSW manages and emerges from coronavirus, policy makers now have the opportunity to invest in initiatives that create jobs, restart the economy and help meet the state’s Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020-2030 and net zero emissions by 2050 target.

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