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Working towards Net Zero makes economic, environmental sense
The Vinyl Council of Australia welcomes the findings of a new report that shows stronger energy standards in Australia’s National Construction Code can be delivered cost-effectively for new home owners and will help Australia cut its carbon emissions.
The report, Built to Perform: An Industry Led Pathway to a Zero Carbon Ready Building Code, prepared by the Australian SustainableBuilt Environment Council (ASBEC) and ClimateWorks Australia, analysed and identified measures that would be cost-effective in improving the energy efficiency of buildings relative to the upfront investment cost.
By 2030, improvement in Code energy requirements could deliver between 19 and 25 per cent of the energy savings required to achieve net zero energy in new residential buildings through simple, cost-effective measures such as improved air tightness, double glazed windows, increased insulation, outdoor shading, and more efficient air conditioners, hot water systems and lighting.
Although there are upfront costs associated with these improvements, they are small (less than 4% for detached homes) relative to overall construction costs and land prices while providing ongoing benefit for occupants.
“Australia lags other regions around the world in terms of building energy efficient homes” Vinyl Council Chief Executive, Sophi MacMillan said. “All of the buildings being built today will still be in use in 2050, potentially locking in poor performance at a time when much of the world will be at or near net zero emissions if current target projections are met.”
“We are particularly concerned by the continued use of very low performing windows in a country that loves large windows in its houses. Built to Perform is important in showing there are cost effective measures, such as double glazing, we can – and should – be implementing from today.”
The Vinyl Council also supports the proposition in the report that targets and a forward trajectory are set for future Building Code updates from 2019, with a clear and transparent process for implementation and adjustment over time.
“This approach would provide the certainty industries like ours – supplying thermally efficient uPVC windows and other building products - need to innovate and invest, so as to supply the economic products that higher performing buildings need”, Sophi explained. “This will support a rapid and least-cost, national transition to net zero.”
“Built to Perform clearly shows that cost-effective investment can be made from today to deliver long term improvements in residential energy demand and greenhouse emissions.”
Built to Perform provides industry-based evidence that the Code could, between now and 2050, reduce energy bills by up to $27 billion, cut energy network costs by up to $7 billion and deliver at least 78 million tonnes of cumulative emissions savings.
About the report
Built to Perform: An Industry Led Pathway to a Zero Carbon Ready Building Code presents the results of the Building Code Energy Performance Trajectory project, which quantifies the opportunities of establishing a clear, consistent and ambitious long-term plan for the energy requirements in the National Construction Code. The report modelled eight different building types across four climate zones. It investigated the costs and benefits to society of simple energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy opportunities. The analysis assessed upfront costs associated with improvements, as well as benefits from reduced energy bills, downsizing of heating, cooling and ventilation equipment, and reduced network costs.
This report was produced with the generous support of the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living, the RACV and dozens of building industry and government partners. The project has been delivered in partnership with CSIRO, Energy Action (EA), Strategy. Policy. Research. (SPR) and the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre at the University of Wollongong (UOW).
The Vinyl Council of Australia is a member of ASBEC and one of the report’s industry partners.