Government to Develop New Standards for Residential and Commercial Buildings

The Brumby Government today announced it would work with industry, and via the national COAG (Council of Australian Governments) process, in developing new standards for residential and commercial buildings by 2010.

“HIA is supportive of measures aimed at reducing our environmental footprint, we must be fully aware of the costs and benefits of greater regulations on new homes,” said Acting Victorian Executive Director Robert Harding.

HIA has stressed the need for independent cost and benefit analysis that demonstrates the level of emission reductions, and community benefit, of any new regulated environmental measure proposed for new homes.

“With the worst housing affordability on record, it is imperative that when it comes to environmental regulation that consumers and society gets bang for the buck.  The last thing anyone will want is expensive measures that do not assist in achieving any meaningful environmental outcome,” said Mr Harding.

“We are very pleased that the Brumby Government is considering measures aimed at improving energy and water efficiency in existing homes, as well as behavioural changes at the household level,” said Mr Harding.

New homes add just 2 per cent each year to Australia’s total housing stock. There is an opportunity to achieve further environmental gains from the existing 8.5 million residential dwellings that already exist.

“In Victoria alone, the efficiency gains from 2 million existing homes would dwarf savings from 40,000 new buildings, which are already highly efficient,” said Mr Harding.

“It is also pleasing that Planning Minister Justin Madden has promised to boost the efficiency of all types of buildings, including government and commercial.”

HIA is already leading the way in sustainability for new homes, via the HIA GreenSmart program. HIA GreenSmart is a voluntary initiative that educates builders, designers, product manufacturers and consumers on how to design and build sustainable homes.

The result is a house that goes beyond mandated 5-star standards, based on improvements both inside and outside the home, such as waste management and better use of energy and water.

HIA look forward to participating in the Industry Round Table with Minister Madden and Environment Minister Gavin Jennings.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.

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