Improved energy performance of buildings presents a win-win-win opportunity, reducing stress on the electricity network, offering bill savings, supporting a least-cost pathway to a zero carbon built environment, and improving health and resilience outcomes for households and businesses.
The National Construction Code is a readymade policy instrument to influence the operational energy use of new buildings and major renovations. The Code regulates the building ‘envelope’ and fixed equipment, including heating and cooling equipment, lighting and hot water. Over time, improvements to the Code can have a significant impact since more than half the buildings expected to be standing in 2050 will be built after the next update of the Code in 2019. Increased minimum energy requirements in the Code are essential to address market failures in the delivery of higher performance buildings that have seen a widening gap between industry leaders and minimum requirements.
As a signatory to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, Australia has committed to reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council’s (ASBEC) Low Carbon, High Performance roadmap found that actions to reduce emissions from the building sector (including new and existing buildings), could deliver 28 per cent of Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target. This report, prepared by ASBEC and ClimateWorks Australia, builds on Low Carbon, High Performance to investigate opportunities for the Code to contribute to the decarbonisation of Australia’s economy in line with the Paris Agreement. It recommends the establishment of a transition plan to make the Code ‘Zero Carbon Ready’.