How important is the RET for the construction industry?

Ret brings construction industry benefits 171 80677 0 14100688 300

Businesses across the country have expressed their concern over potential plans to scrap the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and the building industry is just one that believes it'll have a negative impact.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) explained how the government needs to sit up and take notice of the advantages the RET is bringing to the sector.

About the RET review

On February 17, the government announced that the RET would be reviewed by an expert panel, led by Richard Warburton, chairman of Westfield Retail Trust, Magellan Flagship Fund and Citigroup.

The objective of the review is to determine whether the RET is productive in its current form or whether changes need to be made to ensure it is effective. There's also the option of scrapping the target entirely.

Submissions have been made across a wide range of industries and it won't be long until the outcome of the review is revealed.

There are concerns that the RET - which aims to have 20 per cent of Australia's energy sourced from renewables by 2020 - might lead to a rise in electricity prices, or have other negative ramifications.

However, green industries, including experts from the GBCA, are hopeful that the RET will reap more rewards than problems.

The GBCA's view

A submission from the GBCA points out just how important it is for different sectors to have a goal to work towards - and construction is no exception.

Chief Operating Officer Robin Mellon explained how the RET has already had several positive effects, such as supporting diverse energy solutions and encouraging investment in renewable energy technologies.

He continued: "For industry to evolve, it requires standards, benchmarks and targets. 

"The building code sets the standards, Green Star sets the best practice benchmarks and policies such as the RET set the targets. Without such targets, industry will lack the incentives to do better."

GBCA figures show there are already more than 700 energy efficient buildings across the country, each of which includes a wide range of solutions and technology.

It estimates they use around a third of the energy associated with traditional buildings, so there's a real case for doing whatever possible to encourage sustainable construction.

Mr Mellon added: "True sustainability sits at the 'sweet spot' of good behaviour, good design and good technology. 

"It's not enough to incentivise good behaviour and good design. We need good technology - and the RET has been a driver of innovation by setting our direction."

Posted by Jeremy Elliott