Building efficiency for jobs and growth

An advocacy agenda released by a coalition of industry bodies is calling 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.

“Our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic must be about job creation, driving business activity and ensuring we’re on a pathway to emissions reduction,” said Davina Rooney, Green Building Council of Australia Chief Executive.

“Energy efficient buildings present a huge opportunity to deliver on all of these fronts. Energy efficiency is jobs intensive, and historically we’ve seen many governments investing in building performance upgrades following major economic disasters to great effect.”

“These 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,” said Luke Menzel, Chief Executive of the Energy Efficiency Council.

“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.”

“Beyond the pandemic, Australia’s long-term prosperity depends on dealing with other long-term challenges – including the transition to net zero emissions,” said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.

“Business, industry and consumer groups are united in calling on the government to make sure that our economic recovery efforts includes a focus on addressing this issue. We know that buildings can accelerate emissions reduction and energy transitions.”

“Whilst 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.” said Suzanne Toumbourou, Executive Director of the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council.

“The challenge is for these solutions to become widely deployed.

“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.”

Key opportunities highlighted in Building Efficiency for Jobs and Growth, 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

Endorsed by

  • Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council Energy Efficiency Council
  • Green Building Council of Australia Property Council of Australia

Source: Property Council of Australia