Extensive analysis over the last decade has demonstrated that in developed economies energy use in buildings is one of the most significant contributors to aggregate greenhouse gas emissions. More significantly, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector provides a range of social and economic benefits in addition to anticipated environmental benefits. Greenhouse abatement from buildings can actually be delivered at a negative cost/tonne CO2. Options for government intervention in the building market encompass:
- financial incentives or penalties;
- consumer information campaigns and industry capacity building.
All of these policy measures have been adopted in Australia with varying degrees of success.
This paper focuses specifically on the continuing evolution of building energy efficiency standards in Australia by tracking the trajectory of energy efficiency provisions in the national Building Code and examining this area of government energy policy in the context of initiatives such as the Federal Government's Direct Action Program. This study benchmarks Australia's building energy code against international best practice policies in European and North American jurisdictions using a framework developed by the Global Building Performance Network. Concluding remarks set out a series of improvement opportunities in areas such as policy implementation, regulatory stringency, compliance and enforcement.