GBCA welcomes national action on zero energy buildings

5 February 2018

Energy ministers have endorsed a path to zero-energy and zero-carbon buildings under a significant national agreement, a milestone welcomed by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

Following sustained advocacy from the GBCA, the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council and a broad coalition of industry stakeholders, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council has formally agreed to a Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings.

GBCA Head of Public Affairs & Membership Jonathan Cartledge said acceptance of the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings was an excellent step towards realising the potential of the built environment to assist the transition to a low emissions future. 

“We welcome the national commitment signalled by this Trajectory to the delivery of more sustainable buildings across Australia,” he said.

“It is great to see governments joining industryto support more energy efficient, sustainable buildings as a way to cut costs for consumers and businesses, reduce Australia’s overall carbon emissions, and create healthier, better spaces in which to live and work.”

The Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings outlines a staged approach to strengthening the carbon and energy-efficiency requirements of the National Construction Code, both for new and existing commercial and residential buildings.

It calls for “substantial” updates to energy efficiency provisions in the NCC in 2022 and 2025 before increasingly stringent requirements every three years to keep pace with better technology and changing energy prices.

The detail of the requirements will now be considered by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Building Ministers at the Building Ministers’ Forum. Its twice-yearly meeting will take place in Hobart this Friday.

“We call on Building Ministers to support the delivery of this trajectory through a commitment to the regulatory measures necessary to provide certainty for the construction industry while lowering emissions, saving money, and delivering healthier, more comfortable buildings for all of us.”

Mr Cartledge said GBCA continues to collaborate with industry and government to prepare for a low emissions future. “Internationally Australian industry leads the world in our commitments to a low emissions future through the World Green Building Council Global Commitment to Net Zero Carbon Buildings. In Australia we have been proud to continue these commitments with the actions outlined in the GBCA’s own Carbon Positive Roadmap.” 

“The support for a Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings helps continue this leadership, and should realise the enormous potential across the built environment to continue to reduce emissions, see significant efficiency and productivity benefits, and provide ongoing certainty for business.” 

Modelling within the Trajectory found potential improvements under the proposed NCC 2022 could save residents $650 a year in hot and cold climates – including Canberra, Townsville and Darwin – and about $170 annually in more temperate areas of Sydney, Melbourne andAdelaide. Changes to commercial buildings could generate a net benefit of $25bn by 2050.