Australia’s Building Industry Gets Dismal Review

January 27, 2015 By Karen Henry

sydney aus downtown energy manageA new report prepared for the government of South Australia by pitt&sherry and Swinburne University of Technology concluded that Australia’s building industry is doing a poor job of complying with National Construction Code (NCC) energy performance requirements, Sourceable reports.

The Australian government commissioned the review of systemic or process weaknesses and points of noncompliance with energy efficiency requirements in the NCC as part of its National Energy Efficient Building Project, which aims to improve energy efficiency in new buildings and renovations.

The pitt&sherry/Swinburne review team engaged more than 1,000 building industry stakeholders throughout the country to assess the energy efficiency of Australia’s built environments.

Stakeholders consistently reported that widespread non-compliance with energy performance criteria stems from a “sign-off” culture across the supply chain, leading to mediocre energy performance across the Australian building industry.

Meeting minimum energy efficiency requirements seems to be particularly problematic in the residential, lower-tier and mid-tier building sectors.

Regulatory, industry and government personnel and consumers are reinforcing each other’s laissez-faire attitude toward energy efficiency, which contributes to an overall culture of lower energy performance, the review found.

A focus on “as designed” instead of “as built performance,” is causing regulators to pay more attention to the documentation behind buildings than to the actual structures themselves, and there is not an effective process in place to verify the energy efficiency of building products.

Australia’s attitude toward energy efficiency has impacted clean energy projects in the country as well. Last year, Solar Systems scrapped plans to build a 100-MW plant in Victoria due, in part, to questions about the Australian government’s commitment to clean energy.

Photo of Syndey, Australia, via Shutterstock.

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