The property sector joined the angry chorus criticising the federal governments Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) with Lend Lease’s global head of sustainability, Maria Atkinson telling The Australian Financial Review in March (Home and hearth to bear brunt of ETS, 11/03/09) that home owners would bear the brunt of the ETS through increased electricity costs.

Under the ETS developers and commercial building owners would have no incentive to improve energy efficiency of new or existing buildings because they do not pay for electricity use, Atkinson said.

“The [scheme] will do nothing to drive more efficient, healthier or greener buildings,” Atkinson said. “Nothing. We’re speaking for a sector that wants to be involved…. and is ready and willing to go in and change the performance of buildings.”

Lend Lease, together with engineering consultants Lincolne Scott and law firm Freehills, has proposed an “efficient building scheme” to complement the ETS. They claim the government’s estimate that the building sector accounts for 23 per cent of Australia’s GHG emissions was inaccurate, and that it is more like 40 per cent.

The proposed scheme includes tax incentives for green refurbishments and restrictions to the emissions allowable for buildings over time.