Industry players oppose changes to energy efficiency regulations

News posted on 10.08.2015

Theaustralian.com.au has reported (10/08/2015) on plans to fight the proposed federal government changes to energy efficiency regulations.

Some of the biggest names in the building industry are warning that the proposed changes to residential and commercial building regulations could cripple manufacturing and leave Australia behind the rest of the world.

The proposed changes within the National Construction Code (NCC) are designed to open up wider options for achieving energy efficiency in new developments and also reduce red tape. However, these changes in protocol for measuring residential building energy ratings could actually lead to buildings with worse performance than the present 6 star standard, now being able to comply with the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS).

NatHERS describes the thermal performance of a home but has been criticised for being inconsistently applied and the use of unacredited assessors.

New changes would also mean that individual apartments within a building will not need to be separately energy-rated, leaving owners with no guarantee as to the energy performance of their apartment. This could also lead to higher energy bills.

The building industry already grapples with widespread non-compliance. A survey from 2 years ago from Ai group found that nearly 92 per cent of construction industry suppliers had identified non-conforming products in their sector.

The NCC will provide a minimum necessary requirement for health, safety, sustainability and amenity in the design and construction of new buildings in Australia and currently going through a consultation process. Changes would not take effect until 2019.

Denis Darcy, Insulation Council of Australia and New Zealand CEO, said that the proposed changes were extremely deficient in their underlying assumptions compared to what has been industry practice for the last 25 years.

He is concerned that in order to save money, builders would achieve 6 star ratings without using the insulation products that were previously needed. This would result in the sale of insulation, windows and materials dropping.