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Built environment can drive energy efficiency gains

Greater energy efficiency gains in the built environment is the big opportunity hiding in plain sight to help Australia meet its emissions reduction targets and cut energy costs for households and businesses.

The Property Council of Australia has called for an affordable and sustainable energy road map as part of its 2019 federal election platform.

“Coal mines and electric vehicles may have dominated electioneering on energy to date, but better energy efficiency in our built environment can be the real game-changer,” said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council.

“Much of our energy debate focuses on the supply side – poles, wires, coal, wind, solar and the like. We need to give more attention is paid to the demand side which, with the right policy settings and incentives, can produce just as meaningful cost savings and emissions reductions,” Mr Morrison said.

The built environment contributes around 23 per cent of Australia’s total emissions. Taking action to achieve greater energy efficiency in our residential and commercial buildings could cut emissions while saving Australian households and businesses more than $20 billion by 2030.

“While there is a lot the industry is achieving on its own, it makes sense for governments to incentivise further action,” Mr Morrison said.

“It’s smart policy to focus on the least-cost abatement opportunities in the economy and many of these are in the built environment.

“An affordable and sustainable energy roadmap is one of the five points in our federal election platform. We are calling on the major parties to work with our industry to help shape an energy future that is affordable, reliable and sustainable.

“It’s a tangible set of initiatives that is good for the bottom line and good for the planet,” Mr Morrison said.

The Property Council’s platform sets out five key recommendations that would form this national plan:

  1. Establish a National Energy Guarantee or similar mechanism to ensure future energy investment delivers reliability, affordability and emissions reductions.
  2. An explicit net-zero buildings plan, including a zero-carbon ready building code, to reduce built environment emissions.
  3. Targeted incentives to address the split-incentives often faced by property owners.
  4. A nationwide energy-efficiency trading scheme and harmonisation of existing state-based schemes plus support for data and rating tools that strengthen decision making.
  5. Cut red tape to accelerate the rollout of distributed energy for buildings and precincts.

Source: Property Council of Australia

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