Party policies coming into question

In the lead up to the federal election, some environmental organisations - along with various individuals who want Australia to become a more eco friendly society - have asked for more clarification on policies related to sustainability and energy efficiency. Because the election is so soon, parties are running out of time to provide such information to the public.

One such organisation seeking further clarification on environmental policy is the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). An organisation dedicated to making buildings and society sustainable on all levels, the GBCA wants parties to specifically outline their costed policies and incentives for buildings, communities and cities.

Commercial buildings use a large amount of energy due to their size and day to day use, and with electricity prices high in addition to environmental concerns, this is one area where it is important to reduce energy consumption.

"During this election campaign, we have provided all political parties with our three-point plan for better buildings, communities and cities," said the GBCA’s chief operating officer, Robin Mellon.

"We revealed that a modest 10 per cent improvement in energy efficiency of federal government buildings - far below the 66 per cent average improvement recorded by Green Star-rated buildings around Australia - could save $35 million a year in electricity costs alone."

The GBCA's plan also includes an outline for visionary government leadership in retrofitting existing buildings and making sure that all buildings in Australia can provide environmental, social and economic benefits for the country.

Mr Mellon said that the GBCA has demonstrated how improving the performance of governmental buildings could boost its productivity by nearly $2 billion each year, which is a number that is hard to ignore.

He called particular attention to how the Green Building Fund was ended, as well as a Tax Breaks for Green Buildings program that never even got off the ground.

"Neither the government nor the opposition has announced any new initiatives that will lead to more efficient, healthy or productive buildings, nor has either party made a commitment to lead by example and improve the performance of the Australian government’s own buildings."

Meanwhile, various state governments including NSW and Victoria have recently announced plans to upgrade their energy efficiency and commercial buildings, through various changes such as energy efficient LED lighting and the use of more advanced heating and cooling systems.

Posted by Charlie Moore