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


In July 2018, the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) and Climateworks Australia released Built to Perform as part of the Building Code Energy Performance Project. The report found that improved energy performance of buildings presents a win-win-win opportunity: it can deliver lower bills, reduced burden on the electricity grid and greater resilience to temperature extremes. It can also deliver healthier, more comfortable spaces for people to live and work.

Built to Perform outlines how a ‘Zero Carbon Ready’ Building Code will prepare buildings built today for a zero carbon future. It recommends establishing a transition plan to make The National Construction Code (the Code) ‘Zero Carbon Ready’.

The analysis shows that by 2030, even conservative improvements in Code energy efficiency requirements could deliver:

  • 19-25 per cent energy savings compared to the current Code in new residential buildings
  • 22-34 per cent energy savings for commercial sector buildings
  • 35-56 per cent for public sector buildings

Setting stronger energy standards for new buildings in the Code could, between now and 2050:

  • reduce energy bills by up to $29 billion,
  • cut energy network costs by up to $12.6 billion, and
  • deliver up to 78 million tonnes of cumulative emissions savings.

Because buildings are long-lived assets, any delay in upgrading the code locks in higher energy use and emissions for decades. The report states that there is instead an opportunity for well-designed targets to drive innovation and investment in new practices and technology.