A new flagship report Every Building Counts has highlighted the ways that energy efficiency building programs can boost construction activity and jobs whilst addressing long-term challenges such as the transition to net-zero emissions.
“Our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic must be about job creation, driving business activity and ensuring we’re on a pathway to emissions reduction,” Davina Rooney, Green Building Council of Australia Chief Executive, said.
“Energy efficient buildings present a huge opportunity to deliver on all of these fronts. Energy efficiency is jobs intensive, and historically we’ve seen many governments investing in building performance upgrades following major economic disasters to great effect.”
Luke Menzel, Chief Executive of the Energy Efficiency Council, said that the recommendations carry the potential to create extensive employment opportunities through jobs-rich projects that make the most of local supply chains.
“We know that investments in energy efficient buildings bring many benefits for our businesses, households and industry, from energy bill savings, reduced pressure on the energy system to greater sector competitiveness and improved health and wellbeing outcomes for vulnerable Australians,” Mr Menzel said.
Key opportunities highlighted in Building Efficiency for Jobs and Growth, include:
- Improve the comfort and performance of residential homes through targeted equipment upgrades and incentives for deeper retrofits, with a priority for social housing and low income and vulnerable households
- Drive commercial building upgrades through tax incentives and establish a ‘Smart Building Fund’ to support mid-tier building owners to rate and guide the upgrade of their buildings
- Embark on an ambitious program to upgrade schools and hospitals and other government owned and occupied buildings with the Commonwealth committing to match funding from state and territory governments up to $150 million in each jurisdiction
- Empower building owners, buyers and renters with a single national rating scheme for home energy performance and prioritise its development in line with the recent recommendations from the King Review
- Undertake a rapid review of skills needs around energy efficiency, and roll out priority measures to support workers transitioning from other sectors