A coalition of industry bodies have come together to call on governments to make every building count in Australia’s economic recovery.
The sector focused platform, which leverages recommendations from the flagship report Every Building Counts highlights ways that energy efficiency building programs can boost construction activity and jobs whilst addressing long-term challenges such as the transition to net zero emissions.
Green Building Council of Australia CEO, Davina Rooney, said the economic recovery from COVID-19 must be about job creation, driving business activity and ensuring the nation is on a pathway to emissions reduction.
“Energy efficient buildings present a huge opportunity to deliver on all of these fronts,” she said.
“Energy efficiency is jobs intensive, and historically we’ve seen many governments investing in building performance upgrades following major economic disasters to great effect.”
Energy Efficiency Council CEO, Luke Menzel, said the recommendations answer the call for high quality buildings and infrastructure, and carry the potential to create more than 90,000 job years of employment through jobs-rich projects that make the most of local supply chains.
“We know that investments in energy efficient buildings brings many benefits for our businesses, households and industry, from energy bill savings, reduced pressure on the energy system to greater sector competitiveness and improved health and wellbeing outcomes for vulnerable Australians,” he said.
Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council executive director, Suzanne Toumbourou, said that while buildings are responsible for almost a quarter of our national emissions, most of the solutions required to decarbonise the sector are already mature and available.
“The challenge is for these solutions to become widely deployed,” she said.
“In the current climate, it is more important than ever to leverage the potential of every building to create a sustainable and strong economy. More than ever, every building must count.”
Opportunities highlighted in the report include:
Improve the comfort and performance of residential homes through targeted equipment upgrades and incentives for deeper retrofits, with a priority for social housing and low income and vulnerable households
Drive commercial building upgrades through tax incentives and establish a ‘Smart Building Fund’ to support mid-tier building owners to rate and guide the upgrade of their buildings
Embark on an ambitious program to upgrade schools and hospitals and other government owned and occupied buildings with the Commonwealth committing to match funding from state and territory governments up to $150m in each jurisdiction
Empower building owners, buyers and renters with a single national rating scheme for home energy performance and prioritise its development in line with the recent recommendations from the King Review
Undertake a rapid review of skills needs around energy efficiency, and roll out priority measures to support workers transitioning from other sectors
Read the full report: Building Efficiency for Jobs and Growth