Building efficiency for jobs and growth
An advocacy agenda released by a coalition of industry bodies is calling on governments to make every building count in Australia’s economic recovery.
The sector focused platform leverages recommendations from the Every building counts flagship report and highlights ways that energy efficiency building programs can boost construction activity and jobs while simultaneously addressing long-term challenges.
“Our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic must be about job creation, driving business activity and ensuring we’re on a pathway to emissions reduction,” Green Building Council of Australia chief executive Davina Rooney says.
“Energy efficient buildings present a huge opportunity to deliver on all of these fronts. Energy efficiency is jobs intensive, and historically we’ve seen many governments investing in building performance upgrades following major economic disasters to great effect.”
Key opportunities highlighted include:
- Improve the comfort and performance of residential homes through targeted equipment upgrades and incentives for deeper retrofits, with a priority for social housing and low income and vulnerable households;
- Drive commercial building upgrades through tax incentives and establish a ‘smart building fund’ to support mid-tier building owners to rate and guide the upgrade of their buildings;
- Embark on an ambitious program to upgrade schools and hospitals and other government owned and occupied buildings with the commonwealth committing to match funding from state and territory governments up to $150m in each jurisdiction;
- Empower building owners, buyers and renters with a single national rating scheme for home energy performance and prioritise its development in line with the recent recommendations from the King Review; and
- Undertake a rapid review of skills needs around energy efficiency, and roll out priority measures to support workers transitioning from other sectors.
“These recommendations answer the call for high quality buildings and infrastructure, and carry the potential to create more than 90,000 job years of employment through jobs-rich projects that make the most of local supply chains,” Energy Efficiency Council chief executive Luke Menzel says.
“We know that investments in energy efficient buildings brings many benefits for our businesses, households and industry, from energy bill savings, reduced pressure on the energy system to greater sector competitiveness and improved health and wellbeing outcomes for vulnerable Australians.”