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The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has joined calls to improve energy efficiency requirements in new homes ahead of the forthcoming Building Ministers Meeting.

Attending ministers will soon consider proposed changes that would increase the minimum energy efficiency requirements for new homes from a six to seven-star energy rating.

ACT Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction, Rebecca Vassarotti, forecast her support for the proposed changes and called for the seven-star energy rating to be the ‘bare minimum’.

“Everyone should be able to live in a home that is comfortable and energy efficient but due to poor energy efficiency in our buildings, many people are living in homes that are expensive to heat in winter and cool in summer,” Ms Vassarotti said.

“Rental properties that are not energy efficient lead to higher energy bills and sometimes dangerously cold or hot houses for the people that call them home. It is often the case that those with the least capacity to pay have no choice but to live in properties that are the most expensive to heat and cool.

“While the ACT is moving forward to implementing minimum standard for ceiling insulation for rental properties, our national standards have not been changed in more than a decade and they are falling further and further behind international and best-practice standards.

“Raising energy efficiency requirements for new homes to a minimum seven-star rating will significantly lower household energy bills, cut Australia’s emissions and reduce the social inequality faced by renters.

“Raising it to a minimum seven-star rating is not a particularly ambitious change – research shows that at seven stars, we’ll still be behind the codes of other comparable climates and jurisdictions.

“Now is the time for us to be ambitious and to future-proof new homes from a warming climate. The ACT, through its ten-year pathway to world’s best practice, intends to do more.”

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