The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) has welcomed the announcement by the Australian Government to increase investment in energy efficiency with a view to improving the energy and emissions performance of buildings.

According to ASBEC, Australia’s building sector – with the right level of support – could meet over a quarter of Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target, whilst saving $20 billion and creating a healthier, more productive built environment.

ASBEC’s executive director Suzanne Toumbourou said, “The Government’s commitment to low energy buildings sets the foundation for meaningful progress in a sector that offers some of the most cost-effective solutions for energy savings and emissions reduction.

“ASBEC strongly supports the expansion of the National Australian Built Environment Energy Ratings System, which has grown awareness of the benefits of energy performance of commercial buildings and driven better comfort and bill-saving outcomes for occupants.  We look forward to a nationally harmonised rating system for residential buildings, so that householders can realise these benefits as well.”

The COAG Energy Council’s Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings, which was released earlier this year, outlined a pathway towards ‘zero energy (and carbon) ready buildings’, and recommended increases to the energy efficiency provisions in the National Construction Code and further consideration of options for existing buildings.

Toumbourou says that energy ratings for buildings and the Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings hold great promise but more needs to be done to meet the full potential offered by Australia's buildings. ASBEC is confident that more efficient homes and commercial buildings can deliver significant emissions reduction, energy bill savings, comfort and health benefits while reducing stress on the electricity grid.