An energy efficient home is a happier, healthier home. By and large, those who buy and reside in energy efficient homes live longer, healthier lives in houses that are more comfortable and economical in equal measure.
Despite these established facts, the Australian landscape is not overstocked with energy efficient homes. And as usual, cost is considered a prohibitive factor in the building of many more.
Some builders assert, in point of fact, that sound and productive energy performance measures can add up to $10,000 to a home’s overall cost. Others insist, however, that the production of energy efficient homes actually saves money in the long run-not to mention lives.
A study published in the medical journal The Lancet, for example, indicates that 7 percent of all Australian deaths can be attribute to conditions of extreme cold and heat—both of which can be countered through the use of improved insulation.
In addition, the construction of energy efficient homes can immediately result in lower energy bills; a definite cost saver, especially for younger families living in their first homes and for those who reside in government housing and low-income residences.
And those who rent energy efficient homes—those who can’t alter their residences in any way–will not have to invest in costly energy efficient appliances, as their home supplies them with this built in service and benefit.
In an effort to render houses more energy efficient, the Australian Council of Social Services recently mandated the construction of carbon ready homes. And the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council is promoting a Trajectory for Low Energy Buildings.
To look for additional solutions, The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) is consulting its membership of 27 organisations from across the building sector, including 300,000 professionals who devote their professional lives to the development and enhancement of the built environment. The ASBEC has established that improved energy performance on residential buildings can save $20.9 billion by 2050.
Of particular concern is the fact that the nation’s energy efficiency rules for residential buildings have not been changed or reinforced since 2010. The ASBEC’s Built to Perform report suggests a need for code strengthening, as the report found that the improvement of the minimum energy performance standards in the Code will reduce energy costs, alleviate stress on the electricity network, and be conducive to a zero carbon built environment. The report also reveals that the construction of more energy efficient buildings could save $12.6 billion in infrastructure costs by the year 2050.
Especially when one considers Australia’s current greenhouse gas emissions issue, it is evident that we need an immediate upgrade to the National Construction Code.
It’s a step in the right direction that newer Australian neighbourhoods are generating up to five times as much energy as they use. We must build still more technologically sound and easy to update energy efficient homes; high performance homesteads that will enhance the health and comfort of Australians.