New build homes to be more energy efficient, allay energy poverty

26 Aug 2022

The decision today by Australia’s Building Ministers to adopt increased energy efficiency requirements for new homes in the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 is a huge step forward for Australia, says Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). 

“There are many benefits that will flow from adopting these new energy performance requirements in the NCC, but most importantly, it will help save lives,” said Davina Rooney, CEO of GBCA. “Between 2006 and 2017, there were 36,000 deaths in Australia associated with the heat. Cold weather accounts for 6% of deaths in Australia, which is twice the rate in Sweden.” 

As a result of the NCC 2022 changes, all new homes will be expected to meet a higher standard of thermal performance. This means the homes will have features that ensure they are heated and cooled more effectively and efficiently. 

The changes also introduce a whole of home energy budget which allows households to make their own choices about how they will meet the budget. For example, one home might meet the energy budget using very efficient heating or cooling appliances, while another might offset the use of less efficient appliances with more onsite generation of renewable energy.

“These changes to the Code will help to reduce the energy poverty crisis Australia is walking into,” said Davina Rooney.

“We commend the jurisdictions who have committed to a one year transition period, we are happy change is on the way for Australian households.” 

“As we face this, and a changing climate that is generating more extreme weather variability and more serious and regular weather events, the Code will lead to new Australian homes that: 

  • are more comfortable to live in
  • have lower energy bills
  • are better for the environment, with carbon emissions potentially lowered nationally by up to 15 million tonnes to 2030, and 78 million tonnes to 2050.