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 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.
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.”