Why Net Zero?

A case for mandating Net Zero emissions in the 2022 National Construction Code

The Problem

An average new home in Australia causes about 7 tonnes of CO2 to be emitted into the atmosphere each year, through heating and cooling and all the other activities that consume energy in a home

As much as 13 to 20% of Australian carbon emissions are caused by our homes, depending on whether you include plugged-in appliances.

The Code

The National Construction Code, which sets the minimum performance permitted for all new homes in Australia, is currently under review.

The plan is to reduce the average new home emissions to 5 tons a year (a 7-star rating). But this is still too much. For the atmosphere to absorb this over the average life of a house, you would have to plant 3,000 trees.

This year we built 144,000 homes and this number is predicted to increase year on year. That amount of carbon costs the earth.

In the midst of a climate emergency, the proposed updates to the National Construction Code are woefully inadequate. We know how to design and build net zero emission homes that combine energy efficient design, heating, cooling and hot water appliances with rooftop solar panels. And we have a fantastic opportunity to embed all that knowhow into law right now.

The additional cost of a net zero home compared to a 7-star home is under 2%. This is quickly recouped by lower energy bills. The low energy costs of a net zero home immediately pay back the small increase in mortgage payments from day 1.

What is a Zero Emission Home?

Zero emission homes are just like any home – except better. They are regular homes that are well insulated, draught proof and energy efficient with solar panels that produce even more renewable energy than they consume over the course of a year, leaving the occupants with a net zero energy bill.

A zero emission home is not just a “green home” or a home with solar panels. A zero emission home combines advanced design and superior building systems with energy efficiency and on-site solar panels to produce a better home. Zero emission homes are ultra-comfortable, healthy, quiet, sustainable homes that are more affordable to live in.

Net zero homes are good for the economy and provide jobs and technologies that make Australia more competitive. So why don’t we just do it?  Our building industry as well as governments have procrastinated for more than a decade, and now they are still holding us back from a sustainable future.

We need to create a groundswell of demand that the National Construction Code requires net zero emission homes from now on. We’ve had enough talk. It’s time to act.

About the National Construction Code (NCC): https://ncc.abcb.gov.au

The future is zero emission homes: https://www.pidcock.com.au

Households Better Off: lowering energy bills with NCC : https://www.renew.org.au

Ditching gas and going Net Zero: lowering energy bills : https://www.abc.gov.au

Ultimately uninhabitable’: western Sydney’s legacy of planning failure : https://www.theguardian.com

If not now then when? If not us then who?