16/09/2010 - 00:00

6-star minimums not cost effective: MBA

16/09/2010 - 00:00

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THE residential construction sector is concerned that energy savings benefits from next year’s introduction of minimum energy ratings requirements for new homes will not outweigh the increased costs associated with sustainable building design.

6-star minimums not cost effective: MBA

THE residential construction sector is concerned that energy savings benefits from next year’s introduction of minimum energy ratings requirements for new homes will not outweigh the increased costs associated with sustainable building design.

From May 2011, the Building Code of Australia will include the requirement for all new homes to deliver 6-Star energy performance, as part of the Council of Australian Government’s National Strategy on Energy Efficiency.

Master Builders Association director of housing and economics Gavan Forster said there would be far more energy savings benefits associated with targeting existing housing stock, rather than new homes.

“There is no similar regulation on the established housing market, which is 98 per cent of the housing stock,” Mr Forster told WA Business News.

“If you’re fair dinkum about saving the energy you should be targeting the established market, not just the new market.”

For existing housing stocks, the state government will introduce mandatory disclosure of green-star ratings at the point of sale or lease in 2012.

“We think that it should go more than just disclosing what this rating is; it could be at the point of sale or a new lease that the new owner or landlord would be required to upgrade the house,” Mr Forster said.

“If you’re going to make six-star mandatory in the new housing sector, at least in the established housing sector have that disclosure, but also require that the house be retrofitted to come up to the standard of 6-star energy efficiency when the house is sold or leased.”

But according to Mr Forster, cost-benefit analysis of 6-star building requirements, even in the new home sector, simply doesn’t stack up.

Mr Forster said research by University of South Australia sustainability expert Monica Oliphant indicated energy efficiency in homes was more a function of the user, than it was of the design.

“Once you start looking at seven to 10 stars, which is on the COAG agenda, the cost benefit analysis simply doesn’t stack up,” he said.

“Basically the bureaucrats want to go up to 6-7-8 star, and we’re trying to put the brakes on all of that.

“This sort of academic research will be better than any industry research because ours will always be targeted as being biased.

“Ours and the state government research that we’ve done is saying the cost benefit of 6-star and beyond is neutral or negative, but having an academic say it will have a better impact on things.”

The state government deferred the mandatory introduction of the 6-star requirements in December last year, after a sustained five-year campaign against the amendments by the MBA.

 

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