Making Every Building Count

Industry’s practical plan to lower emissions and deliver practical savings

29 Oct 2019

Sandra Qian | Senior Manager – Policy and Government

From targeted financial incentives to better standards for new buildings, a series of new reports have highlighted opportunities for Australia to meet our emissions targets and deliver a net zero future for the building sector.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and Property Council of Australia earlier this week launched Every Building Counts – A practical plan for emissions reduction in the built environment, which presented 75 recommendations developed through a comprehensive assessment of global and local policies and programs.

Presented across three reports with one for each level of government, they form a practical guide for Federal, State & Territory and local policy makers to galvanise action in Australia’s buildings, which are currently responsible for almost a quarter of our national carbon emissions and half of our electricity use.

The recommendations recognise the importance of both  top-down and bottom up strategies including targets and building codes, building certification through trusted rating tools, financial and planning incentives, information tools, demonstration projects, education and training and R&D. They also include many issues the Green Building Council is championing with governments, such as expanding the CBD Program, delivering industry certainty through a trajectory of increases to minimum standards for new buildings and driving the broader application of Green Star in public projects.

The reports present key actions to:

  • Set out a long term vision for net zero buildings that includes extending the ‘Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings to 2050’;
  • Provide targeted financial and planning incentives to accelerate the shift to high performance buildings;
  • Ensure the Climate Solutions Fund drives low cost abatement for the buildings sector;
  • Deliver a Zero Carbon Ready building code and improve compliance, monitoring and enforcement;
  • Expand the mandate of the Energy Security Board to drive energy productivity across the economy;
  • Deliver City Deals that drive cost effective emissions reductions;
  • Drive leadership through government owned and leased buildings;
  • Empower owners, buyers and renters with a single national rating for home energy; performance and implement mandatory performance disclosure for homes;
  • Make Australia a global leader in high performance building products;
  • Support renters with minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties;
  • Provide consistent planning pathways that support innovation;
  • Inform consumers on residential energy efficiency; and,
  • Shift the mid-tier building market to better performance.

The reports are critical to highlighting opportunities for targeted action in the built environment, given our responsibilities under the Paris Agreement and the commitments developed by various sub-national jurisdictions on emissions reduction and renewable energy. Importantly, they represent a ‘toolkit’ of measures that governments can select from to deliver holistic and meaningful change.

Every Building Counts was launched in Sydney this week with the Hon Angus Taylor MP, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction. Roundtables and events supporting Every Building Counts will be planned for the months ahead as the GBCA and Property Council partner to give effect to our recommendations across government. Stay tuned to learn about how you can get involved in your state or territory.

Every Building Counts draws from a significant body of research by leading thinkers and built environment advocates in recent years. The GBCA thanks our project sponsors Low Carbon Living CRC and Curtin University as well as our project partners ASBEC and the Energy Efficiency Council for their contribution and support. 

Download the policy toolkit