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Reducing energy emissions in the building industry

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According to the Department of Environment data (2009), around a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions are a result of energy demands from the building sector.

Given this large portion, we need to be doing more to promote sustainable construction moving forward.

The Australian government has commissioned research to analyse how a reduction in energy consumption can be achieved over the next few years. The following are key factors that have emerged as a result of the demands for greater efficiency:

  1. Software has been developed to estimate the reduced emissions and energy savings that will arise from future changes to the National Construction Code.

  2. A ‘Learning Rate’ has been established, which is the rate at which costs incur down the track from new products and technologies decreasing in value and use over time.

  3. A National Energy Productivity Plan aims to improve energy productivity by 40 per cent between 2015 and 2030.

  4. Energy efficiency standards for household appliances have been enacted and are continuing to be reviewed in relation to pool pumps, lighting, fridges, freezers and fans. For example, switching the star rating of a pool pump can save hundreds of dollars per year and replacing halogen lights with LED lights can save thousands annually.

  5. Large investments are going into energy-efficient programs in the building industry, to be applied to developmental plans for shopping centres and other buildings.

  6. Under the National Energy Productivity Plan, increases in regulations to energy efficiency for commercial buildings are expected to me made to the next National Construction Code 2019. It’s anticipated that changes to residential building plan regulations might not be revised until 2022, due to research indicating that the need is greater for commercial buildings than for residential.