As housing regulations demand the planning and construction of more sustainable housing in this region, a new report suggests that this type of housing is not only regulated—it’s beneficial to our nation and our lives.
Growing the market for sustainable homes, a report prepared by the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council and the CRC for Low Carbon Living, suggests that rapid population growth in fact necessitates the construction of more sustainable residences. With the Australian population set to reach 30 million people by 2029, we’re going to need to construct an additional 197,000 homes each year.
It is important for these residences to be sustainable, as Australian houses currently generate about 13 percent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. We need houses that consume less energy.
As an added bonus, sustainable homes are less costly to maintain. People who live in sustainable houses save on energy bills; and if we facilitate the transition to sustainable housing, we can achieve more than half a billion dollars more investment in the construction business by 2030, and flood the market with an additional 7000 jobs.
So building industry professionals stand to benefit from the shift to sustainability. Yet do residents want them? Well Australians frequently request residences that are seasonably warm and cool as needed, without generating excessive energy bills in the process. They also want nontoxic building materials, from ecofriendly paints to sustainable woods and furnishings, to go into the construction of their domiciles.
Volume builders are answering the call, by offering standard sustainable home packages. Yet all in all, the building industry needs to learn how to mass produce and market this type of home—starting by establishing a uniform definition for sustainable housing. Solar panels are just the beginning, as are low VOC building materials and embodied emissions. Lowered U-values and elevated R-values, maximised air tightness and HRV systems, are just the basics. A more thorough definition and application of sustainability is needed to make this model work.
The national economy benefits from sustainability, as it greatly enhances home value. With this in mind, banks and real estate agents need to refine their skill set for valuing and selling sustainable homes.
Ultimately, we also need the media to present positive and informative portrayals of sustainable living, so people everywhere will know how to live green.
Once we learn how to build and live green, we can spread the word—and the sustainability.