Australia’s insulation industry has called for stronger energy standards for buildings under Australia’s National Construction Code to ensure a zero carbon future. Insulation Australasia Chair Scott Gibson observes that tougher standards would benefit consumers as well as the environment, by ensuring more comfortable and energy-efficient homes and buildings.

According to Gibson, they need a building code that is geared towards a zero net emissions economy in 2050. While construction costs may slightly increase, they will be more than offset by long-term energy savings.

Observing that the path to net zero starts with more airtight buildings and improving the building envelope, he added that the insulation industry was ready to play its part in meeting this critical challenge.

A report released recently by the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) and ClimateWorks Australia called on the Building Ministers Forum and the COAG Energy Council to commit to a ‘Zero Carbon Ready’ code to be implemented across the building sector.

The report, Built to Perform, also calls on governments to broaden the code to meet future sustainability challenges and to provide certainty to industry with clear targets and processes encouraging investment in more energy efficient buildings.

The changes would be a crucial part of meeting Australia’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, the report says.

Gibson says that government must act to ensure buildings being built now will operate in a zero carbon future.

Energy gaps in home and building construction must be plugged now to benefit both consumers and the environment. The improved levels of energy efficiency will cut emissions in the building industry by more than half.

While the technology is already there, this issue demands the attention of Federal, State and Territory governments through strong policies and urgent action including establishing a national plan, creating targeted incentives, and ensuring a stronger construction code is introduced and enforced.

The report found that even the most conservative improvements in Code energy efficiency requirements could deliver between 19 and 25 percent of the energy savings required to achieve net zero energy in new residential buildings, up to 34 percent of the savings for commercial sector buildings, and up to 56 per cent for public sector buildings.