Seven star energy efficient homes should be the norm in Australia to drive down energy costs while reducing emissions.
The Tents to Castles report released by the Climate Council last week has found living in a 7 Star all electric house in any capital city in Australia would save occupants, on average, $450 per year in heating and cooling costs compared to the current building standard of 6 stars.
Adding an extra star to each new home being built in Australia would also mean a 25 per cent reduction in emissions compared to a 6-star home.
The update would reduce a huge 72,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted each year, as well as 46,000 tonnes in New South Wales and 31,000 in Queensland annually.
By 2030, this would add up to a 12 per cent reduction of residential emissions nationwide.
The report has been released as state and territory ministers prepare to meet in July to review 11-year old regulations that govern minimum energy efficiency standards in new home builds.
The Climate Council is calling on ministers to amend the National Construction Code to increase the 6-star standard to 7-stars.
Climate councillor and report author, Nicki Hutley, said even a short delay in implementing this change will lock in higher bills and emissions for decades to come.
"Greater energy efficiency means fewer greenhouse gas emissions, which is essential for tackling climate change,” she said.
“But that’s not where the benefits of making homes more comfortable to live in stops: we can also improve people’s health and wellbeing, reduce electricity bills, strengthen our energy grid and create jobs.
“Australian homes are energy guzzling compared to those built to higher minimum standards overseas. A Tasmanian home built today uses more than double the energy of a similar sized house built in Ireland.
“It’s time Australians got to enjoy better living in better quality new homes. It’s a win-win that will raise our standards of living, cut our energy bills and help address climate change.”
Climate Councillor Professor Hilary Bambrick said poor energy efficiency standards have left too many Australians living in substandard homes dubbed as ‘glorified tents’, which are unbearable during summer and freezing in winter.
“In a sunburnt country like Australia it’s appalling that houses, which are too cold, contribute to six percent of deaths per year. That’s double the rate in Sweden, where winter temperatures reach minus -30oC,” Bambrick said.
“If we urgently update our new build standards as well as upgrade poorly built existing homes we’ll all be much happier and safer, and as a country we’ll be contributing fewer emissions.”
The Climate Council recommends Australia triple its efforts and aim to reduce national emissions by 75 per cent this decade, and reach net zero by 2035.