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A multi-industry coalition of over 100 domestic organisations have called upon Australia’s State, Territory and Federal governments to mandate increased energy efficiency for new homes.

Released two weeks ahead of a National Building Ministers meeting, the joint statement urges leaders to confirm proposed amendments to the National Construction Code.

The proposed amendments would include lifting the minimum thermal performance for new homes from six to seven stars (under the NatHERS rating system), introducing a ‘whole-of-home’ energy budget for fixed appliances like hot water, heating, cooling and pool pumps, and would give industry a 12-month transition period to deliver.

Backers claim the lifting of energy efficiency standards will not only reduce household energy bills, but also cut emissions by up to 78Mt by 2050, reduce deaths during extremely cold or hot weather, lower the cost of grid upgrades by up to $12.6 billion by 2050, and reduce poverty and inequality by ensuring higher standards in social housing and private rentals.

The public call is led by the Property Council of Australia, Renew, the Australian Council of Social Service, the Green Building Council of Australia, the Energy Efficiency Council, Energy Consumers Australia, the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council, and the Climate Council.

Other signatories include architects, health advocates, property developers, charities and social housing providers.

Renew CEO, Dr Fiona Gray, said its analysis shows lifting standards will leave households with more money in their pockets from day one.

“For the declining number of people who aren’t already thinking about the importance of energy efficiency in their home, then the arrival of winter energy bills across Australia will certainly spark a new level of focus,” Dr Gray said.

Property Council Chief Executive, Ken Morrison, said despite a global efficiency push and major advances in technologies, energy standards for new homes haven’t been meaningfully updated in more than a decade.

“With Australia’s National Construction Code sitting idle for ten years, Australia has let itself fall further and further behind international standards, and now is the time to catch up with the rest of the world,” Mr Morrison said.

“With housing and rental affordability at crisis point and inflation yet to peak, if our political leaders [need to be] serious about easing long term cost of living pressures, while also addressing climate change, then these amendments, which have been considered for quite some time.,” he said.

The National Building Ministers meeting will be held on Friday August 26.

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