Image by Kevan Lin

Building sustainability representatives have found the new National Construction Code (NCC) regulatory impact statement (RIS) substantially discounts the benefits of energy savings for “society as a whole” and underestimates the payoffs for individual homeowners. 

The bean counters have spoken on the cost/benefits of the new building code – time to go to the mattresses

“The Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) systematically underestimates the benefits that better energy efficiency standards will deliver to new homeowners, and overestimates how much it will cost to deliver them,” Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) head of policy, Rob Murray-Leach said.

Errors include overstating the proportion of retail energy prices that are based on fixed costs distributed among consumers and discounting the benefits of reduced expenditure on electricity networks by 70 per cent.

There’s one thing we agree with the RIS on, and that is its finding that households with higher efficiency levels will be better off

The RIS concluded that virtually all households save more on energy bills than the increase in their mortgage payments

“There’s one thing we agree with the RIS on, and that is its finding that households with higher efficiency levels will be better off,” chief executive of Renew, Paul Bowers said. 

“Households will have more money in their pockets from day one; there’s a downside for power companies, but we’re OK with that.”

GBCA chief executive Davina Rooney said the conclusions by the RIS that raising building standards will make new home buyers better off was already being proven in how the industry operates. 

“Leading home builders are already building more efficient homes than what the Building Codes Board is considering – people WANT better homes that are cheaper to live in,” Ms Rooney said.  

“We’re convinced that a deeper review will show that the benefits to homeowners will increase further once all assumptions are tested.”

The RIS comes up with an overall cost-benefit ratio that is very different to the cost-benefit ratios calculated in other reports by ASBEC, Pitt&Sherry and AECOM. These other credible analyses found significant private and societal benefits from raising building standards.

“Studies by ASBEC and other organisations have shown that improving energy efficiency of homes would make Australians substantially better off in terms of lower energy bills, comfort, resilience and health,” ASBEC’s acting chief executive Alison Scotland said. 

“ASBEC will be working constructively with industry and governments to ensure that the final Regulatory Impact Statement appropriately recognises these benefits.”

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  1. I have been building low carbon/zero carbon homes at Positive Footprints for the best part of 2 decades. These days with LEDs, efficient heat pumps, thermal analysis tools and cost effective PV, there is no reason all new homes shouldn’t be carbon zero, or close to. We do it as a matter of course down here in cold(ish) Melbourne, and our clients normally pocket around $2000 every year in energy savings. On top of that, they are protected from bill shock of future rises.
    Of course the environment wins big. In Victoria, we have the dubious distinction of having the most carbon intense electricity grid. A Net Zero home here offsets over 8 tonnes of CO2/year. That’s 600 tonnes for a 75year house life! And the fact is, it is easy and cost effective. And it doesn’t take long to get the knowhow under your belt.

  2. And all of this before you even factor in that little thing of giving our kids and grandkids a survivable future. It’s long overdue time we levered the fossil fuel industries thumb off of the cost/benefit scales, with a crow-bar if that’s what it takes, to properly reflect the dire consequences of failing to radically decarbonise by 2030. NCC V2 NEEDS to demand Net Zero Emissions now – nothing else credibly protects the safety and security of future generations. If not NOW, WHEN? Will we still be making pathetic excuses after another wasted decade?