Energy efficiency move a good start

February 28, 2019

The Morrison Government’s commitment of $67 million for energy efficiency programs is a welcome recognition that cutting energy waste is the most effective way to bring down energy bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But much more needs to be done.

“Coming on the same day as the Bureau of Meteorology confirmed this summer as the hottest on record, this announcement falls short of a comprehensive response to the dual challenges of climate change and energy affordability,” says Donna Luckman, CEO of Renew, Australia’s leading not-for-profit sustainable housing organisation.

“The $50 million committed under the Energy Efficient Communities Program to fund grants to 2,500 businesses and community organisations is a welcome start,” says Ms Luckman.

“But it’s a drop in the ocean compared with the enormous challenge of ensuring all Australian homes are capable of providing safe and affordable shelter into the future, particularly for vulnerable groups like the elderly and those suffering from chronic health conditions.”

“Too many Australians are being exposed to significant health risks by living in homes that are chronically cold or dangerously hot, or face unaffordable energy bills if they try to keep them at a safe and healthy temperature.”

“Right now Building Ministers around Australia are beginning work on the next update of the National Construction Code due for implementation in 2022. It is critical we don’t miss this opportunity to significantly raise energy performance standards in the 2022 update and start building homes that are climate resilient and cost less in energy bills to run.”

“Australia’s 6-Star standard for new homes is out of date and hasn’t kept up with rising energy prices and new technology,” says Ms Luckman.

“As a result, new home buyers are missing out on simple energy-saving improvements that would save them hundreds of dollars a year on their energy bills.”

Raising the minimum standard will make efficient homes the ‘new normal’, ensuring all consumers – not only the most informed – can enjoy the benefits of healthier, more comfortable homes with lower energy bills.”