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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 1993) . . Page.. 2548 ..

I congratulate the Government on the building of two energy-efficient houses for the Housing Trust in Gungahlin, even though they cost some $25,000 more to build than conventional homes. I also congratulate ACT Electricity and Water on its excellent demonstration house at Banks, which shows many ways of making your house energy efficient. Perhaps the Government, using the excellent example of our ACT environmental design students, could now look at retrofitting an existing house to demonstrate how Canberrans can achieve at least some energy savings when confronted with suspended chipboard floors, east- and west-facing windows, and old electric water heaters.

The Government has taken up the challenge of making some of its older Housing Trust properties more efficient, thus helping to alleviate some of the burden of high energy costs on tenants. This is a positive move. The moves taken to reduce energy consumption in large buildings have also been very positive, although I feel that, now that the initial changing of light bulbs is over, the Government may look at other moves it has not listed as being easily incorporated into existing buildings. These include importing mass into the building: For example, building brick planter boxes near windows to absorb heat, which in summer would dissipate the heating effect and in winter could augment other heating systems. There is no mention of the provision of shutters or awnings on buildings to control sun penetration in summer and to provide a minimal air gap overnight in winter to prevent extra heat loss. Similarly, pelmets for windows, particularly when put in place at the time the curtains were improved, could have great potential. There is no mention in the program of door and window sealing, although this is one of the first and easiest measures recommended by those advising householders on how to minimise heat loss in winter.

Before I conclude, I would like to draw the Assembly's attention to recommendation 5 of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee report on the Territory Plan. It recommends that the legislation applying to planning and building be amended to enable the ACT Planning Authority to approve and set conditions in relation to energy efficiency and to enable the Building Controller to enforce compliance with approved plans. We are paying much more attention to energy efficiency measures than we have paid in the past, and I sincerely hope that we will do more and more in the future. I support the Government's efforts with regard to energy savings and encourage the taking of more action to ensure that the energy we use is the energy we need to use.

MR CONNOLLY (Attorney-General, Minister for Housing and Community Services and Minister for Urban Services) (4.45), in reply: I thank members for their contributions.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Progress Report

Debate resumed from 1 April 1993, on motion by Mr Berry:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Debate (on motion by Ms Szuty) adjourned.

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