Sustainability focus should shift to built environment

Property Council of Australia energy efficient sustainable built environment

As part of its 2019 federal election platform, the Property Council of Australia has called for a road map for affordable and sustainable energy in the built environment.

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

“Much of our energy debate focuses on the supply side – poles, wires, coal, wind, solar and the like,” Mr Morrison said.

“We need to give more attention to the demand side which, with the right policy settings and incentives, can produce just as meaningful cost savings and emissions reductions.”

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.

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