Page 506 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 16 February 2005

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reliant on artificial heating and cooling, such as airconditioning, in order to be comfortable. The BASIX scheme is starting in metropolitan Sydney and will be rolled out across New South Wales. It is first applied to single residential dwellings but will be expanded to include units, townhouses and mixed use development. In July, new houses in our neighbouring city of Queanbeyan will require a BASIX certificate before approval.

The implementation of the prescribed targets in New South Wales will result in a cumulative reduction in water consumption of 182,000 megalitres and a cumulative reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 7.2 million tonnes over the next 10 years. These reductions will save consumers across New South Wales $182 million for water and $36 million for energy. This equates to a saving of $300 to $500 for an average family home certified by BASIX.

The Greens believe that sustainability requirements in the housing approvals process can be met without trading off housing affordability. The Institute for Sustainable Futures, in their submission to the inquiry into first home ownership, argued:

The costs to society of not implementing sustainability in housing are immense. As one example, poorly designed residential development … has led to excessive use of air conditioning, which is driving the need to expand the electricity infrastructure because of increasing peak demand. This illustrates that diluting sustainability requirements for housing will ultimately lead to less affordable housing. It also illustrates that a definition of affordability that is limited to the capital cost of a new house is inadequate and misleading.

In addition, “green mortgages” and other innovative financing mechanisms are an effective way to reduce any extra upfront costs to the consumer. Some banks and credit unions offer these already.

Our motion also addresses the sustainability of commercial buildings. Canberra’s largest source of emissions is the commercial sector, chiefly office buildings using energy for cooling, heating, lighting and equipment. To date, no measures have been implemented, but it is pleasing to note that the government is committed to introducing the GreenStar energy efficiency rating methodology, developed by the Green Building Council of Australia, for all new commercial and multistorey residential buildings. GreenStar is a tool used at the design phase; 8 Brindabella Circuit, a building at the Canberra airport, was the first building in Australia to be accredited using GreenStar and to achieve a rating of five stars. Members, if you have not yet inspected that building, I recommend that you do, because I suspect that, if the ACT takes this on, it will be providing the kinds of buildings that tenants will be demanding as a matter of course in five years or so.

The Australian building greenhouse reading is another tool that is available for use in commercial buildings. Its rating is based on the energy performance of the building over 12 months, making it suitable for use at the time of lease or sale of existing buildings. So we have a tool to be used at the design stage and a tool that can be used in existing buildings. As I said, the government has committed to introduce the GreenStar ratings for commercial and multistorey residential buildings. My motion requests this commitment again in the context of committing to a tool for single residential development and also in the context of creating an implementation plan.

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