Josh Byrne

Environmental scientist and television presenter Josh Byrne is set to lead a new project to help get developers building zero energy homes.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) National Zero Energy Homes project, which was announced at Tuesday’s annual CRCLCL Participants Forum in Sydney, will include the construction of three zero energy display homes in new housing developments across Australia, with data collected to measure consumer interest in zero-energy home (ZEH) features.

“This project, which will be directed by Josh Byrne of Josh’s House fame, will focus on developing an agreed position amongst stakeholders on the current barriers put forward by the housing industry to make ZEH part of our future,” CRCLCL chief executive Deo Prasad said.

“There will be extensive data collected to measure consumer interest in ZEH features comparative to more typical value add items in a home. Ultimately once armed with data through coordinated end user engagement and communications, the program will engage and inform the development and construction industry of the market potential for ZEH so change can occur.”

Mr Byrne, a senior research fellow at Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Institute in WA, has been researching zero energy homes extensively through his Josh’s House project. He said the new $500,000 project would help make important steps to a zero carbon future by 2050.

“Around 100,000 detached houses are built nationally each year,” Mr Byrne said. “With the average operational greenhouse gas emissions in the order of seven tonnes per dwelling, if all new homes were built as ZEH, total emissions would be reduced by around 700,000 tonnes of CO2-e per year,” he said.

“As Australia works towards meeting its carbon reduction target of zero emissions by 2050, the housing sector is seen by many as low hanging fruit to help meet this goal. Internationally the European Union and the State of California in the United States are ahead, with regulations in place to adopt ZEH for all newly constructed homes by 2020. Meanwhile, Australia lags behind and we intend to change the situation via this program.”

The ZEH program joins a suite of CRCLCL programs that Professor Prasad said are on track to meet a goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 10 megatons by 2020.

“As the CRC reaches year four of seven, I am pleased to report that we are on track to meet our carbon reduction goals and the funding of this new national program to ensure zero energy homes are part of our low carbon cities future will play a key role in achieving these goals,” he said.

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  2. I wish Josh luck with penetrating the lock-step house-building system. Had no luck in pushing for more useable home designs particularly with an ageing population and the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Both groups now get tax payer’s money (Home Modifications Scheme) to retrofit a lot of homes so people can just get in the door and use the toilet! Regulation holds the system together and that’s why any change needs the support of regulation so the system stays efficient. Implementing the Livable Housing Design Guidelines (promised by industry to voluntary roll out) can be done together with energy efficient features

  3. Too many unexplained acronyms.

    Encouraging more energy efficient housing certainly is another important factor in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.