19 August 2010 –Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s “Low Carbon Community” policy has been  welcomed by the sustainable property  industry.

The policy promises $80 million to support local councils and communities in energy efficiency measures such as co generation and upgrades to facilities to save energy.

Public buildings account for more than 25 per cent of non-residential building emissions in Australia, and these community facilities often use large amounts of energy, a Labor Party media statement said.

Chief executive of the GBCA Romilly Madew said: “co-generation has already been used successfully in Green Star rated projects, such as Mirvac’s 101 Miller Street in North Sydney and Lend Lease’s ‘The Gauge’ in Melbourne’s Docklands, to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve  energy efficiency.

“Other opportunities include replacing inefficient equipment to reduce energy waste, followed by retrofitting heating, ventilation and cooling systems, appliances, lighting, water heating and insulation.

“Today’s  announcement will support this much-needed retrofitting work,” Ms Madew says.

Chief executive officer of the Energy Efficiency Council Rob Murray-Leach said the funding was modest but if it was used wisely it would “improve local facilities like swimming pools and council buildings, save money and cut carbon emissions.”

Labor’s announcement built on its existing commitment of $1 billion dollars in tax breaks for green buildings and $100 million for the Australian Carbon Trust, Mr Murray-Leach said.

The Energy Efficiency Council has recommended key policies to make Australia more efficient and competitive, including:

  • A national goal to cut energy use by 20 per cent below business as usual by 2020
  • A comprehensive set of incentives for energy efficiency in industry and buildings
  • Reforming the electricity market to drive efficiency and lower the cost of energ
  • Cutting energy waste in government buildings
  • A cap or a price on carbon

It said it had examined the political parties’ policies and compared them to global best practice. Labor’s policies have been awarded 1 Star, the Greens’ 4 Stars and the Coalition’s 0 stars.