A review for the National Energy Efficient Building Project

Tuesday, 10 December, 2013

Energy used in buildings accounts for approximately 20% of Australia’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Australian Building Codes Board. As a result, the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency, introduced in 2009, is targeting improved energy efficiency in Australian buildings through the National Energy Efficient Building Project (NEEBP).

There are concerns that the energy efficiency of buildings in Australia may not always match the energy performance requirements in the National Construction Code, and that various barriers are blocking moves beyond minimum compliance and towards best practice. Thus, engineering consultancy pitt&sherry, in conjunction with Swinburne University, is working with key stakeholders from Australia’s building industry to deliver recommendations for the NEEBP following a national review.

According to Phil Harrington, principal consultant and manager - Carbon & Energy at pitt&sherry, “The national review is seeking to identify the many and varied points in the construction cycle where the energy-efficiency requirements of the National Construction Code are not being achieved. The NEEBP is keen to understand the views of key stakeholders from the building industry Australia-wide, and to deliver advice on where the key problems lie and how they might be addressed.”

The national review will involve two phases, with the first including the following key projects:

  • A national review of key systematic or process weaknesses and common points of non-compliance with the energy-efficiency requirements of the National Construction Code;
  • A national review of the uniformity and effectiveness of current standards or regulations to deliver energy-efficient alterations, additions or retrofits;
  • A national information register of materials that support industry capacity to understand, implement and comply with the energy-efficiency provisions of the National Construction Code.

Phase two, from March next year, will develop and trial practical strategies to address problems wherever they occur in the construction cycle.

“These strategies will be identified in phase one and could include activities as broad as industry capacity building, changes to policy or regulations, or voluntary guidelines or standards,” said Harrington.

A team of consultants from pitt&sherry and Swinburne is looking for feedback from those involved in the building cycle, including concept and design, assessment and approvals, building, fit-out and handover. They have been conducting workshops across Australia over the past two weeks, the last of which will be held in Port Augusta, Adelaide, in the morning of 13 December.

A national online survey can be completed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NEEBP up until 13 December. Written submissions can also be sent to consultation@pittsh.com.au by 13 December. An issues paper, prepared as a conversation starter, can be downloaded here.

Once feedback is received, the team will provide focused, practical recommendations covering how government and industry can improve energy efficiency in buildings throughout Australia.

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