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Energy standards in National Construction Code

The Property Council has welcomed the release of the final report of the Building Code Energy Performance Trajectory Project.

‘Built to Perform’ prepared by the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) and ClimateWorks Australia shows that setting stronger energy standards for new buildings in the National Construction Code could between now and 2050 reduce energy bills by up to $27 billion, cut energy network costs by up to $7 billion and deliver at least 78 million tonnes of cumulative emissions savings.

Property Council Chief Executive, Ken Morrison, said the National Construction Code was an important policy lever in working towards a zero carbon future, but noted that more stringent standards in the Code alone would not be enough to achieve this target.

“The report highlights that building code standards, while important, will only take us part of the way to meeting Australia’s zero carbon targets,” Mr Morrison said.

“The project’s comprehensive modelling across different climate zones showed that energy efficiency code changes can produce between 19-25 per cent reduction in carbon emissions in residential buildings, 22-34 per cent reduction in emissions in commercial buildings 35-56 per cent reductions in public buildings to 2034.

“These are substantial reductions and should be pursued, but they also demonstrate that a range of other policies need to be considered, including the decarbonisation of the electricity grid through greater use of distributed energy, as part of a comprehensive strategy for a zero carbon built environment by 2050.”

Mr Morrison said it was important for the industry to have clarity over the trajectory of future building code standards.

“Everyone recognises that the stringency of building codes will need to increase over time, but it is important that the trajectory of these changes are mapped out into the future.

“We call on governments to incorporate the results of this project into a forward trajectory of code changes over time to provide industry with the certainty it needs to plan for and deliver reduced carbon emissions.”

Mr Morrison said that Australia’s property industry is already leading the way on sustainability compared to global peers, as measured by GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) the global ESG benchmark for real assets for the past seven years.

“The property industry has set its own ambitious targets to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency but there is an important role for governments to show more leadership and establish more comprehensive policies targeting energy efficiency.

“Our market leaders are already doing amazing things with new and existing buildings. But a stronger suite of policies will be needed to create the momentum for change that our national emissions targets will require,” Mr Morrison said.

‘With the right leadership from government and a comprehensive suite of policies and incentives, industry can deliver on our zero carbon target in a way that also supports a growing and innovative property industry,” Mr Morrison said.

Media contact: Matt Francis | M 0467 777 220 | E mfrancis@propertycouncil.com.au