Groups propose plans for net-zero homes

By Gerv Tacadena

Governments are urged to adopt a policy aimed at reducing emissions from properties

The Property Council of Australia and Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) have developed a policy toolkit aimed at transforming Australian homes, workplaces, and other buildings into low-carbon, high-performance structures while cost-effectively reducing emissions.

The plan, which sets out 75 recommendations to the federal and state governments, covers residential, commercial and public buildings.

One of the proposals is to introduce a single national rating for the energy performance of homes. Another part is leveraging the Climate Solutions Fund and other government policies like City Deals to drive the reduction of emissions.

Also read: Property market could shed $571bn due to climate change

These recommendations are crucial for Australia to achieve a net-zero economy by 2050, Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison said.

Morrison said buildings account for over 50% of Australia's electricity use and 25% of carbon emissions, spurring the need for a comprehensive policy plan.

"Energy efficiency has been the forgotten part of energy policy for the past decade as governments have debated energy supply. With the right policy frameworks in place, we can minimise the costs of a transition to net-zero emissions and create economic opportunities across all parts of the industry, from sole traders and homeowners to large businesses," he said.

While Australian property leaders are already recognized globally for their sustainability, GBCA CEO Davina Rooney said government support is still needed to promote improvement across the sector.

"We urge the federal government to seize the unique opportunity the built environment offers to dramatically reduce carbon emissions in highly cost-effective ways that will also stimulate the economy. As Australia heads towards a low emissions economy, governments must provide a clear pathway of policies that give certainty to industry and create economic opportunities for Australian businesses," Rooney said.

The proposal enumerates seven key points summarised below:

  • Set out a long term vision for net-zero buildings and extend the “Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings” to 2050
  • Ensure the Climate Solutions Fund drives low-cost abatement and provide targeted financial incentives
  • Deliver a Zero Carbon Ready building code and improve enforcement and compliance
  • Expand the mandate of the Energy Security Board to drive energy productivity across the economy
  • Deliver City Deals that drive cost-effective emissions reductions
  • Empower buyers and renters with a single national rating scheme for home energy performance
  • Make Australia a global leader in high-performance building products

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