A new report has found tightening construction rules to ensure new homes keep families comfortable and use less energy would slash household energy bills.

The Bottom Line – household impacts of delaying improved energy requirements report found that quick action from governments could result in energy bill savings of up to $150 per household, per year when they move into a newly built home.

Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) CEO, Luke Menzel, said that governments have ruled out action on improving the energy performance of new homes in the short term, but that state and federal ministers should revisit the issue.

“Construction rules will be updated in 2019, but raising energy performance requirements for the residential sector is not being contemplated until 2022,” Mr Menzel said.

“Around half a million homes will be built between 2019 and 2022. If we don’t make sure those homes are more energy efficient, that’s half a million families with higher bills, and $1.1 billion wasted in energy costs.

“Aussie families are struggling with skyrocketing energy costs now. We just can’t wait until 2022 to get this sorted out.”

The Bottom Line report is a joint initiative of the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) and Climateworks Australia.

ASBEC’s members include the Energy Efficiency Council, the Property Council of Australia and the Green Building Council of Australia.

EEC President and Chair of ASBEC’s National Construction Code Working Group, Tony Arnel, said that improved rules would bring down bills for everyone.

“Low energy homes put less stress on the electricity grid. If just one household makes efficiency improvements and cuts their peak demand by one kilowatt (kW) – the power used to run a small oil heater – this would save almost $1,000 in electricity system infrastructure, reducing electricity prices for everyone,” Mr Arnel said.

“In total, the proposed changes could save an estimated $1.2 billion to 2050 through avoided and deferred network investments.”

Mr Menzel said it is a consumer protection issue.

“When Aussies buy a new home, they expect it will be comfortable and cheap to run.

“I think that is a fair expectation, and it’s time for ministers to make it a reality.”

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