Following State and federal environment ministers meeting yesterday to discuss the Federal government’s White Paper on its ‘Direct Action’ policy, the building sector’s leading voice in residential energy efficiency has called for more detail and guidance for homeowners and buyers.

The Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) has tentatively welcomed the government’s White Paper, discussed yesterday at The National Environment Protection Council meeting, but says much more detail is needed to ensure Australians can make the most of energy saving measures on new homes being constructed, as well as retrofitting existing homes.

“ABSA supports any tangible and meaningful measure that reduces emissions and helps build better designed homes that meet our future climate challenges, for all Australians,” Sid Thoo, Chair of ABSA said.

“We urge the government to make this process as transparent as possible and focus on more education, improved national standards and greater assistance for Australians seeking homes that will help protect them from rising energy prices.

“We know how to do it, we know it costs next to nothing if done properly, and it can make huge differences both to the environment and the home owners’ hip pocket.

“As the UN’s recent IPCC report has stated, the building sector has a hugely important role to play in addressing the challenge of climate change – if the government is serious about climate change it must support consumers and industry to take action in this area,” Sid said.

“Measures that improve the standards for residential energy efficiency should be seen as a consumer protection issue, not as ‘green tape’; this is a perverse outcome that can result when sustainability policy is poorly conceived or implemented.

“Carbon from our homes makes up around 13% of Australia’s total emissions; implementing energy efficiency measures helps to future-proof our homes, save on power bills, reduce the cost of living, cater for our ageing population, while also reducing our carbon footprint.

“We’re pleased the government has acknowledged that the Renewable Energy Target and energy efficiency programs have contributed to the recent decline in emissions from electricity generation; Australian households saved around $2.7 billion last year through the uptake of more energy efficient appliances.

“Considering the significant role that residential energy efficiency can play in reducing emissions, we encourage the government to provide more detail for both industry and consumers on how households can benefit from the government’s direct action plan.

“We’re pleased that the Government has affirmed its strong support for the science underpinning climate change and the need for real and rapid action,” Mr Thoo said.

“We’re looking forward to seeing exactly how the Coalition’s policy will meet its stated goals.”

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Sid Thoo is an award-winning architect and Chair of the Association of Building Sustainability Assessors.

About ABSA: The Association of Building Sustainability Assessors (ABSA) is a not-for-profit national membership organisation representing building and design professionals who specialise in assessing the environmental impact of buildings. ABSA’s vision is to improve sustainability through the design and use of buildings.

For more information about ABSA visit www.absa.net.au