The effect of greenhouse gases on the climate and the consequential widespread effects on communities are now well recognised. All levels of the community in Australia and internationally are introducing measures to reduce green house gas emissions. Australia is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and in 1997 agreed to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
The Federal Government introduced a range of measures designed to reduce emissions. The building environment as identified as one sector displaying strong growth in greenhouse emissions and where cost-effective reductions were required. In 2000, agreement was reached with industry, and Federal, State and Territory governments to an approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings which included the introduction of mandatory minimum energy performance requirements through the BCA. Given the importance of the energy performance of buildings to overall national greenhouse gas emissions performance, the ABCB (Australian Building Codes Board) and the AGO (Australian Greenhouse Office) entered into a formal agreement to jointly develop the BCA energy efficiency provisions.
The ABCB advises that The Energy Efficiency Project has been endorsed under the National Framework for Energy Efficiency (NFEE), an agreement between all Australian governments established to improve energy efficiency. The objective of NFEE is to “unlock” the significant economic potential associated with increased implementation of energy efficiency technologies and processes to deliver a least cost approach to energy efficiency in Australia.” The objective of the energy efficiency project is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings through the development of nationally consistent, cost effective, energy efficiency regulations for the BCA. The project is being developed in consultation with State, Territory and Local governments, building practitioners, industry and the community.
This work, which is on-going, has resulted in the Section J provisions of the BCA.
First featured in our newsletter Winter 2007