Page 570 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 22 February 2012

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Building green suburbs and houses is cheaper in the long run. The higher the energy star rating the cheaper the house is to run over time. In other words, any additional cost of building is more than offset by money saved in running the house or other building. And we expect that these changes will lead to improved housing affordability. This is because houses will cost less to heat and cool, water bills will be lower and transport costs will be lower due to a combination of a good public transport system and a good walking and cycling network. This will also lead to better health outcomes.

The payback period on additional construction costs of moving a six-star house to a seven-star house is about seven years, without taking into account other benefits such as increased comfort, reduced loads on the electricity grids and higher resale values. But that is the maximum. The additional costs, in fact, are minimal if the house is designed well. Wayne Floyd, President of the Association of Building Sustainability Assessors, researched such costs using AccuRate software to analyse a range of brick and tile first home house designs. The results consistently showed that the energy rating of a modest brick and tile bungalow can be increased from five to seven stars for under $4,000 at the time of construction by positioning the house well on the block, making sure it is properly insulated and using double-glazed energy rated windows. These changes can result in a substantial reduction in energy use when compared to five-star homes—a 24 per cent reduction for six-star homes and 45 per cent for seven-star homes. Eight-star homes can save around 75 per cent on both water and energy compared to an average house.

Water efficiency measurements can be done at little or no additional cost, and studies have shown that water saving measures can save around 25,000 litres of water per household per year. In addition, as we all know, Australians have the enviable reputation of having the largest new homes in the world. So any modest increase in capital cost per square metre of a house could be offset by a very small reduction in the average size of house so that new houses are closer to the average size of Canberra’s houses.

In conclusion, I believe this bill is an important step forward in the ACT’s task of addressing climate change issues, and the Greens very much welcome your feedback on this exposure draft.


Debate resumed from 15 February 2012, on motion by Ms Le Couteur:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) that the ACT has the second highest rate of waste production per capita in Australia, at 2.5 tonnes per resident;

(b) that on average, 40-50% of household waste is organic matter;

(c) that the level of waste per capita is growing;

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