The Australian Institute of Architects ACT Chapter welcomed today’s decision by Building Ministers to raise energy efficiency standards in new homes from 6 to 7 stars and include minimum accessibility standards.
The ACT Government and ACT Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction, Rebecca Vassarotti is to be congratulated for their leadership and sustained advocacy on these issues which will benefit Canberra’s homeowners and renters.
“The raising of energy efficiency standards for new homes will help people save money on their bills, enjoy a comfortable home, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” ACT Chapter President, Jane Cassidy said.
These changes will support Australia’s efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and to deal with increasing health risks from a warming climate. Residential buildings are responsible for around 24% of overall electricity use and 12% of total carbon emissions in Australia.
“Greater energy efficiency measures in our homes are a step in the right direction but as a community we need to look at the size of the homes we’re building,” Ms Cassidy said. “Canberrans are building the biggest houses in Australia with the average floor area of 256.3m2. Even in an energy efficient house, the bigger the house, the more energy it uses,” Ms Cassidy said.
“The Institute has flagged key areas that need to be worked through with the ACT Government as a result of the changes to the National Construction Code,” Ms Cassidy said.
“We don’t want to see projects that have been substantially documented needing re-documentation particularly given the slow supply chain and skills shortages that are already impacting on construction start and completion dates.
“We need to understand how these changes will apply to major renovations where homes are extended by more than 50% of the existing floor area and the timeframe for the transition to 7 stars.”
Ms Cassidy said that the larger issue of embodied carbon also needed to be addressed.
“The Institute would not like to see the changes to the National Construction Code and ACT legislation inadvertently encouraging people to knockdown and rebuild to achieve 7 stars as an easier option than repurposing their existing home.”
For media enquiries contact:
Liz Lang, ACT Executive Director, Australian Institute of Architects
M: 0447 262 415 | email@example.com
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