COAG misses opportunity to cut costs for consumers

21 December 2018

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is disappointed that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council at its meeting this week deferred a critical decision on increasing the energy efficiency requirements within the National Construction Code.

Chief Executive Officer Romilly Madew said governments were failing to act in an area of broad community and industry consensus.

“Governments claim their priority is reducing the cost of living for Australians yet they have deferred a decision that could have delivered long-term cost reductions by increasing the energy efficiency of our building stock,” Ms Madew said.

“They can not afford to delay regulatory and structural changes. It is vitally important that increases in energy efficiency requirements within the National Construction Code progress with urgency.

“Buildings currently consume more than half Australia’s electricity and most have lifespans of between 50 and 100 years.

“That’s why we need change now to support the transition to a lower emission future and ensure businesses of all sizes are able to plan for the long-term through a more certain regulatory environment.

“Above all else, we need continued transformation of the building stock to ensure buildings are cheaper to run, better to live in as well as lowering bills for our most vulnerable.

“In an increasingly challenging political environment, the opportunities for governments to deliver real action on energy prices, security and emissions reduction through our built environment are enormous, cost-effective, and supported by industry and the community.

“We look forward to working across governments to ensure these outcomes are delivered as COAG progresses this issue in the months ahead.”

The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council and ClimateWorks Australia recently modelled the impact of strengthened energy standards for new buildings in their Built To Performreport.

It found half the buildings expected to be standing in 2050 are yet to be built and setting standards for their construction now is the cheapest and easiest means of cutting emissions. Renovations would also be captured under the strengthened code.

Increased energy efficiency measures in houses could save households up to $900 a year.