A new report calls for government to back buildings in race to reach climate goals. Image – Canva
  • New report calls for all new buildings to be run on top-tier electric equipment
  • Calls for a rating system for the energy efficiency of homes
  • The report was jointly released by the Green Building Council of Australia and the Property Council of Australia

The Property Council of Australia (PCA) is calling for all new buildings to be required to operate on high-quality electric equipment in a new report that lays out a suite of property-focused policy recommendations that would help Australia achieve its decarbonisation goals.

The Every Building Counts report, jointly developed with the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), was launched in Sydney at an event attended by Senator the Hon. Jenny McAllister, Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy.

The eight recommendations are designed to shape a greener, healthier, and more equitable built environment:

Every Building Counts recommendations

  1. Develop a long-term plan for a built environment ready for zero-carbon emissions.
  2. Mandate the use of top-tier electric equipment for both residential and commercial buildings in the National Construction Code of 2025.
  3. Speed up the transition to high-performance buildings by offering specific incentives.
  4. Provide an accelerated path for resilient, all-electric, zero-carbon buildings in the building code.
  5. Incorporate the energy efficient first principle into the National Electricity Objective and other applicable laws, declarations, and policies.
  6. Commit to achieving zero-carbon readiness for all government owned and leased buildings, both new and existing, by 2030.
  7. Broaden the scope of NABERS to include all building types and extend the CBD program. Empower owners, buyers, and renters with a single national rating for home energy performance.
  8. Implement a reliable nationwide framework for quantifying embodied carbon.

PCA Chief Executive Mike Zorbas said the report encourages political leaders to look for emissions reduction opportunities across all sectors of the economy.

“Buildings account for more than 50% of Australia’s electricity use and 25% of all emissions,” Zorbas said.

“All we need is the right policy settings to guide that effort. Smart policies should be front and centre for decision-makers seeking to reduce Australia’s emissions.”

Mike Zorbas, Property Council Chief Executive

“The Australian property sector are global leaders in sustainability, which means we are
incredibly well positioned to deliver high-impact and yet cost-effective ways to help achieve the nation’s net zero goals.

Efficiency rating for homes

The report also calls for a national rating system for measuring the energy efficiency of homes, akin to the system for electronic appliances and white goods.

Green Building Council of Australia Chief Executive Officer Davina Rooney said the implementation of a trustworthy rating system would enable prospective buyers and renters to compare available homes.

She says this would help ensure that Australia keeps pace with other countries that have already implemented similar policies.

Zorbas points out that most people are accustomed to knowing the energy performance of their dryer or fridge but there is no similar rating system that gives homebuyers a clear picture of a home’s energy consumption.

“While most of us will have seen energy ratings stuck on the front of a fridge, washing machine or dryer there is currently no national rating scheme for what is usually a person’s greatest life purchase – their home.”

Mike Zorbas, Property Council Chief Executive

“It’s high time Australian home buyers and renters had access to a consistent national rating, so they’re aware of the cost of energy bills they’re set to face and comfort levels they can expect during colder months,” Zorbas said.

Property Council welcomes Australian Government energy efficiency incentives

The report’s announcement was followed by the announcement of the Federal Treasurer’s Small Business Energy Incentive which uses tax incentives to encourage small and medium businesses to make green upgrades.

The bonus tax deduction policy allows businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million an additional 20% deduction on efficiency and electrification upgrades.

Zorbas says targeted tax incentives can be the difference between a business taking action on upgrades or holding off and continuing to pay more for energy.

“Supporting upgrades to make Australian businesses more efficient and productive at a time of rising costs is sound policy,” Zorbas says.

“Switching to more efficient appliances and upgrading from gas to highly efficient electric heating and cooling, hot water and cooking will reduce energy bills and emissions.

To be eligible for the incentive, assets or upgrades must be installed or first put to use between 1 July, 2023 and 30 June, 2024, with a maximum expenditure of $100,000 allowed.

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