Solar power systems, LED lighting, and improved heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are some of the measures suggested in a new report to help Australia’s property sector move towards net zero carbon buildings.

Prepared by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) with consultants Norman Disney & Young (NDY), the report, Energy in Buildings: 50 Best Practice Initiatives, identifies 50 measures that can be used across a variety of new and existing properties. 

CEFC property sector lead Chris Wade said the property sector, which accounts for almost a quarter of Australia’s carbon emissions, was uniquely placed to be a major driver of energy efficiency, lower emissions and increased sustainability in Australia.

Identifying clean energy opportunities across a wide range of buildings, from offices, retail and hotels to industrial, healthcare, common living and education, the practical guide also indicates the climate zones where specific initiatives are likely to deliver the most positive benefits, as well as potential upfront costs and typical payback periods.

Two thirds of the initiatives have a payback period of less than 10 years,according to the report.

Tony Arnel, Global Director of Sustainability at NDY comments that greater availability of useful, practical information on efficiency measures will accelerate the market transformation needed to deliver high performance, low carbon buildings.

He adds that the handbook will help guide investment decision making, drive the uptake of lower carbon and renewable energy solutions, and deliver real savings for asset owners and end users. NDY hopes that these 50 best practice initiatives will encourage building owners to be more ambitious about the energy performance of their buildings, helping to reduce energy costs and position their assets for a low carbon future.

The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC), which is supporting a push towards zero carbon buildings by 2050, has reported that cost effective energy efficiency and fuel switching in buildings can more than halve their projected 2050 carbon emissions, with distributed solar PV able to eliminate the remaining emissions.

Pointing out that clean energy isn’t just about new buildings, Wade says most of the 50 measures listed in the report can also be applied to existing buildings; there is strong potential for the property sector to take practical steps to lift energy efficiency while reducing energy costs and emissions.

In addition to photovoltaic, LED lighting and HVAC systems, other best practice initiatives also include the use of light colour and reflective external materials; data analytics for building management systems; and electronically commutated fans using microprocessor-controlled brushless motors.

The CEFC-NDY report, Energy in Buildings: 50 Best Practice Initiatives can be downloaded online.