Report: energy guzzling Aussie homes costing homeowners hundreds of dollars a year

21.04.22 By

SEVEN-STAR ENERGY efficient homes should be the norm in Australia and would drastically drive down household bills while reducing emissions.

The Climate Council’s Tents to Castles report has found living in a 7-star, all-electric house in any capital city in Australia would save occupants on average $450 per year on heating and cooling costs compared to the current building standard of 6-stars.

Adding an extra star to each new home being built in Australia would also mean a 25 per cent reduction in emissions compared to a 6-star home, too: the equivalent of taking a car off the road every year. That’s around 120,000 cars a year. 

For Victoria, the update would reduce a huge 72,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted each year, as well as 46,000 tonnes in New South Wales and 31,000 in Queensland annually. By 2030, this would add up to a 12 per cent reduction of residential emissions nationwide. 

The report is released as State and Territory Ministers prepare to meet in July to review 11-year old regulations that govern minimum energy efficiency standards in new home builds. The Climate Council is calling on Ministers to amend the National Construction Code to increase the 6-star standard to 7-stars. Even a short delay in implementing this change will lock in higher bills and emissions for decades to come.

Climate Councillor and report co-author, leading economist, Nicki Hutley said: 

“Australians cop some of the most expensive energy bills in the world, with as many as 85 percent of us experiencing bill shock last year.

“Greater energy efficiency means fewer greenhouse gas emissions, which is essential for tackling climate change. But that’s not where the benefits of making homes more comfortable to live in stops: we can also improve people’s health and wellbeing, reduce electricity bills, strengthen our energy grid and create jobs.”

“Australian homes are energy guzzling compared to those built to higher minimum standards overseas. A Tasmanian home built today uses more than double the energy of a similar sized house built in Ireland.

“It’s time Australians got to enjoy better living in better quality new homes. It’s a win-win that will raise our standards of living, cut our energy bills and help address climate change.”

Climate Councillor and health Professor Hilary Bambrick added:

“Poor energy efficiency standards have left too many Australians living in substandard homes dubbed as ‘glorified tents’, which are unbearable during summer and freezing in winter.

“In a sunburnt country like Australia it’s appalling that houses, which are too cold, contribute to six percent of deaths per year. That’s double the rate in Sweden, where winter temperatures reach minus -30oC.

“If we urgently update our new build standards as well as upgrade poorly built existing homes we’ll all be much happier and safer, and as a country we’ll be contributing fewer emissions.”

The Climate Council recommends Australia triple its efforts and aim to reduce national emissions by 75% this decade, and reach net zero by 2035. 

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The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

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