Developers and conservationists call for green building Down Under

The Australian government needs to do more to cut the carbon emissions of the built environment, to encourage sustainable development and stimulate the market for energy efficient dwellings.

Improved energy efficiency can make economic cuts to carbon emissions

Improved energy efficiency can make economic cuts to carbon emissions

Developers and conservationists who have team up to lobby the government to do more in this area, calling on it to set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the sector.

The Property Council of Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation are also calling on opposition parties to pledge to do the same if they were to take power.

23% of Australia's GHG emissions can be traced back to buildings, and the lobbyists are urging on politicians to do more to tackle this key area.

They want a nation-wide programme to improve energy efficiency in all buildings, including existing stock and new build, including financial incentives to encourage action.

They also want legislation to force a reduction in greenhouse emissions with science-based targets, along the same lines of the UK's aim of making all new build carbon neutral by 2016.

Their final demand is a substantial increase in the mandatory renewable energy targets for new build, to drive investment.

The alliance's wish-list is based on the findings of a report commissioned by the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council which shows that, as has been found elsewhere, improving energy efficiency in buildings is the most cost effective way to curb carbon emissions in the short term.

"Greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector are a shared problem for industry and environment groups - but if we can build more efficient buildings there are real community benefits that will flow to the whole economy," said ACF executive director Don Henry.

Peter Verwer, chief executive of the property council, said: "there is huge potential to reduce energy use in the built environment by refurbishing Australia's existing building stock, however it won't happen without investment and an effective policy framework.

"Green depreciation - where building owners demonstrate genuine, ongoing
reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in return for faster write-offs for the heating,
ventilation and air conditioning systems that help them achieve the cuts should be
part of this."

Sam Bond



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