New rules by the European Commission will make existing buildings in Europe smarter and more energy efficient, saving money and creating jobs in the renovation and construction sector. How about in Australia?
Like the EU countries, Australia has signed the Paris Agreement, promising to decrease emissions and energy use. Buildings are the culprit everywhere and windows are a big part of that. As the population increases, Australia needs an additional 185,000 new dwellings every year. We also have a large stock of existing dwellings that have been built without energy efficiency in mind.
The recently ratified rules of the European Parliament taps into the potential for efficiency gains in the building sector and include building renovations, strengthening the energy performance of both sectors. This would be a great opportunity also for Australia.
An advantage in Europe is e.g. a Smart Finance for Smart Buildings Initiative, combining public and private finance to enable consumers to choose the more efficient solutions when renovating their homes.
The EU revised buildings directive will help create jobs, save consumers money and improve quality of life. It will also help combat energy poverty by reducing the energy bills of older buildings which will be renovated. It introduces a "smart readiness indicator" which will measure the buildings' capacity to use new technologies and electronic systems to adapt to the needs of the consumer and optimise its operation.
Such strong measures would do wonders for the building industry and the building stock here in Australia. While there are changes afoot, at the moment the energy efficient part of the building industry is largely driven by consumers from the grassroots up.