In the lead-up to the Glasgow Climate Change Conference, more stories have been published on the good and bad performers in Australian and New Zealand housing. A recent ABC News article put it bluntly: “Australians are living in ‘glorified tents’ and it’s costing our wallets and the environment.” The article cites research showing a quarter of Australia’s carbon emissions are due to building construction and energy use. Residential dwellings represent a majority of those emissions.
There are efforts to change the path we are currently on. The 2022 National Construction Code draft has modest increases in energy efficiency requirements nationally for new housing. The nationwide NatHERS scheme is also taking steps to be more transparent about what is being promised to buyers of new and existing homes.
In the private sector, groups like Green Building Council of Australia hope to incentivise the leap from code-minimum construction to net-zero performance with their new Green Star Homes standard. They hope to attract large volume builders to prove that ambitious scaling up is possible.
Will it be enough? The Glasgow conference should give some indication of how bold Australia is prepared to address the problem of poor performing housing, among other challenges.