6-Star standard failing consumers

December 13, 2018

Renew, Australia’s leading not-for-profit organisation promoting sustainable living, has today joined a coalition of consumer and industry groups calling for urgent action to raise the energy performance of Australia’s homes.

“Australia’s 6-Star standard for new homes is out of date and hasn’t kept up with rising energy prices and new technology,” said Renew CEO, Donna Luckman.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

Ahead of the COAG Energy Council meeting on December 19, Renew, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and more than 50 other community, environment, industry and local government groups have signed a joint statement urging Energy Ministers to commit to higher energy performance standards for all Australian homes.

“Since the 6-Star standard was introduced in 2010, energy prices have risen rapidly and the need to address climate change has become more urgent, but our energy performance standards have stood still,” Ms Luckman said.

“With work starting now on the next update of the National Construction Code that won’t come into effect until 2022, it’s critical that Energy Ministers don’t further delay urgently needed improvements in minimum standards for new homes. Missing this chance will lock higher energy bills and millions of tonnes of easily avoidable carbon emissions for decades to come.”

An increasing number of builders like Tony O’Connell of TS Constructions in Gippsland, Victoria, have already been building to higher standards for years and showing that it doesn’t have to cost more to build good-quality, comfortable homes that use significantly less energy.

“We’ve built so many 8+ Star homes now, we’ve developed better and quicker methods and just see this stuff as part of good building practice. In six or seven years we’ve increased the star rating and cut the cost in half,” Mr O’Connell said.

Peak industry groups are also calling on government to update standards to provide policy certainty and a stable investment environment that will drive innovation and investment into the future.

“We back the call for a trajectory towards zero-energy and carbon-ready homes that provides policy certainty for industry and underpins a least-cost pathway to a zero-carbon built environment,” said Frankie Muskovic, the Property Council’s policy manager.

“Once higher standards become the new industry norm, the purchasing power of volume builders and the spread of new skills and innovation across the industry will combine to bring additional costs down.”

“Renew supports 250,000 Australians every year to improve the energy performance of their homes, many of whom are choosing to build well above minimum standards,” Ms Luckman said.

“Lifting the baseline across the whole industry will make efficient homes the ‘new normal’, ensuring all consumers – not just the most informed – can enjoy the benefits of healthier, more comfortable homes with lower energy bills and a smaller environmental footprint.”

Click here to read the consumer group coalition’s statement on energy efficiency for housing.
Click here to contact your Energy Minister to demand a lift in the standard of new homes.