By Robert Carry

The Australian Building Ministers' Forum has deferred consideration of a new energy efficiency regulation system for news dwellings.

The deferment of the '6-star' plan, designed to make residential developments less harmful to the environment by regulating their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, has been welcomed by industry bodies including the Housing Institute of Australia (HIA).

"The industry has raised a host of concerns in response to the official regulatory impact assessment and the responsible thing to do was to allow more time for these issues to be considered carefully and the RIS process to be completed," said HIA managing director Shane Goodwin.

Goodwin pointed out that the 6-star rating system plan gave no credits or star-rating points to consumers who install renewable energy systems, such as photovoltaic cells on their roof to power a house.

"If consumers are prepared to invest in renewable energy to have for example, more windows, then they should be allowed to. The current regulatory approach is reducing consumer choice and will dumb-down design in housing."