Executive Director’s Update

Equity – essential for our sustainability journey

As we look to #InspireInclusion this Friday for International Women’s Day, I cannot help but be immensely proud of the 24 women who recently graduated from ASBEC’s Women in Construction Future Leaders Pilot. These women came from many of our member organisations, spread across the breadth of roles found in Australia’s construction sector.
Judging by the atmosphere in the room at the final MasterMind session and graduation ceremony, it seems that this initiative has created a great space for the women in our sector to grow into their confidence and leadership capabilities. Thanks again to Engineers Australia for the use of their fabulous event space.

We will hear more from the cohort in the coming months, including at the upcoming ASBEC Council meeting, to be held at Hub Australia, 555 Collins Street, Melbourne on Wednesday 20 March. The draft agenda should be circulated in the coming days, but expect to hear about the renovation wave, National Construction Code, National Adaptation Plan, ASBEC embodied carbon project and more. If you haven’t provided an RSVP yet, please reach out to our fabulous new Operations Manager, Prue Gardiner (prue.gardiner@asbec.asn.au). Looking forward to seeing you all there.

Along with the first Council meeting of the year, March commences with the first meetings of ASBEC’s task groups to confirm their 2024 work plans. ASBEC is also representing in the Urban Policy Forum, Green Building Council’s TRANSFORM 2024, NABERS National Steering Committee, Researcher Network for Decarbonising the Building Industry, and more.

Reports and leadership

The ASBEC community is well known for its thought leadership… here is a snapshot of what’s currently out there:

• The Green Building Council of Australia, in partnership with Hassell, has launched a discussion paper, Social Value in the Built Environment.
BuildSkills Australia – the national Jobs and Skills Council for the built environment sector – was officially launched last week. BSA was established by the federal government to work with industry to find solutions to the workforce challenges facing the construction, property and water industries.
• ACOSS has published a report on Funding and Finance for Low income Households, as well as a Summer Heat Survey 2024.
• Infrastructure Victoria’s latest advice to the Victorian Government, Opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of infrastructure makes 10 recommendations to limit carbon emissions across Victorian government schools, hospitals, transport projects and other infrastructure.
• The Queensland Government has introduced the Clean Economy Jobs Bill 2024, which will enshrine in legislation greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, including a new target of 75% by 2035, based on 2005 levels, as well as a commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.
• The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has published a new report, DER could provide $19 billion economic boost by 2040.

Internationally, we are seeing a range of new research:

• The International Energy Agency (IEA) has launched its new initiative, the Global Observatory, to provide information on best practice principles for clean energy transitions.
• The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has produced a report, Valuing Resilience Benefits in Utility Building Retrofit Programs, which highlights the resilience benefits of enhanced energy performance, passive survivability, and system recovery

Consultations, funding and more

• The ACT Government has prepared a draft Regional Drought Resilience Plan for public comment, funded through the Australian Government Future Drought Fund.
• NABERS is hosting a webinar on 20 March that explores funding opportunities to improve energy and water efficiency, providing advice on a range of grants available across the country (this webinar conflicts with the ASBEC council meeting but if you register you can receive a copy of the recording).
• Co-hosted by NatHERS software tool providers and NatHERS technical staff, the NCC 2022 software webinars are being held during March 2024.
• Launching in 2024, The Australian Passivhaus Association will run the inaugural Passivhaus Incubator. This fully funded two-month program is designed to impart the association’s introductory Passivhaus knowledge on to individuals in client and policy groups.
• The Australian Government has announced $41 million funding for the second round of Energy Efficiency Grants for Small and Medium Enterprises program.
• Applications for ACT Environment Grants, Zero Emissions Grants and Cooling your Suburb Grants are now open.
• AIRAH is excited to announce that they’ve completed the rollout of AIRAH’s new website and their new visual identity.

Featured events

Looking forward to seeing you all at ASBEC’s Council meeting on Wednesday 20 March. We plan to hold a social event directly after the meeting – details TBC.

ASBEC will also be showcasing its embodied carbon project at an event on Friday 22 March in Melbourne University for the Researcher Network for Decarbonising the Building Industry (DBI) – you are welcome to register your attendance via this link.

More events on our website, including:

• GBCA’s Transform 2024, Sydney (13-14 March)
• Property Council’s Future Cities Summit, Sydney (27 March)
• National Summit & Expo – Compliance and Regulation in Facility Management, Sydney (11 April)
• EEC’s National Conference – Efficiency, Electrification, Decarbonisation, Sydney (15-16 May)
THRIVE24 PassiveHaus Conference, Melbourne (23-25 May)
• AIRAH’s Indoor Air Quality Conference, Melbourne (15-16 July)