• Building upgrades are underway.
    Building upgrades are underway.

In a bid to improve the energy efficiency of Australian homes the federal government has launched the RACE for 2030 Energy Upgrades for Australian Homes (EUAH) project.

The three year project will improve the thermal efficiency of eight million Australian homes that were built before energy ratings were introduced.

Houses built since early 2000 have been required to have a NatHERS energy efficiency star rating of 5 or higher.

But the reality is that the average NatHERS star rating of Australian homes built before this time is only 1.7 stars.

Compared to 6 star homes, heating and cooling these old homes is costly.

The project targets improvements in over one million homes by 2030, which will pave the way for the remaining seven million existing low efficiency homes to do the same reducing energy costs to households and significantly cutting carbon emissions. 

This Race for 2030 project will bring together all the aspects of a household’s energy upgrade pathway in one place. 

It will lead the way for the national average energy efficiency rating of existing homes (built before star ratings came into force for new builds in 2008) to move from 1.7 stars to 3.5 stars.

This will reduce electricity needs by 6-8 kWh per day per household. 

That is an average cost saving of $400-$600 per year per household, with some homes saving over $1,000 per year.

This could lead to a total saving nationwide of $500 million by 2030 with a reduction of 2 MtCO2e in carbon emissions.

Sam Ringwaldt, CEO of Melbourne based climate tech business, Conry Tech, said the project is long overdue.

Ringwaldt said targeting residential buildings is just the tip of the iceberg given the huge energy demands of commercial and public buildings.

“Energy Efficiency has long been in the back seat in Australia’s drive towards net zero, so an initiative like this is long overdue,” he said.

“We cannot continue to focus on only adding renewables in the absence of working hard on decreasing consumption through efficiency improvements.

“These homeowners will not only see a decrease in their energy bills, but they will also see a marked improvement in their comfort – a fact that is often left out of the conversation.”

Ringwaldt said industrial and commercial sectors also need to ramp up efficiency efforts.

“The electrification of buildings is a step in the right direction,  and must be coupled with highly efficient systems to ensure demand is reduced rather than increased on our electrical grid,” he said.

“One of the most overlooked avenues in this endeavour is our air conditioning. Australia has grown totally reliant upon these systems over the last 100 years since they were first introduced. Now they are rarely given a second thought.

“Air conditioning accounts for 15 per vcent of global emissions, and a huge proportion of Australia’s carbon footprint, so this should be the place to start.”