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Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Page: 3591


Mr Tuckey asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts, in writing, on 10 March 2009:

Considering the emissions involved in fibreglass and rockwool insulation manufacture and installation, will Australian wool insulation qualify for the $1,600 Energy Efficient Homes Package subsidy.


Mr Garrett (Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Yes, Australian wool insulation will be eligible. All ceiling insulation products and technologies are eligible provided that they meet the minimum material and installation requirements in terms of safety, quality and performance set out in the relevant Australian Standards and the Building Code of Australia. These are outlined in the Early Installation Guidelines for the insulation components of the Energy Efficient Homes Package.

One industry association, the Insulation Council of Australia and New Zealand (ICANZ) estimates that when ceiling insulation is correctly installed into a typical home, “the energy and greenhouse gas emissions produced during its manufacture would be recovered in around four to five weeks”. ICANZ further estimates “that when R3.5 glasswool insulation batts are installed into a typical home with a remaining lifespan of say, 40 years, it will save over 340 times the energy made to use them.” Refer to Attachment A for full media release.

It’s important that the broadest range of insulation products and technologies that meet the minimum standards outlined in the guidelines are eligible for installation under the program. This will promote economic activity and job creation across the broader insulation industry supply and distribution chain. It will also allow the full capacity of the Australian insulation industry to be deployed in meeting the demand necessary to insulate 2.7 million homes in 2.5 years.

ATTACHMENT A

Insulation recovers energy/greenhouse production costs within five weeks

12/Feb/2009

The energy and greenhouse gases saved by installing insulation into the 2.7 million uninsulated homes, as proposed by the Federal Government’s Energy Efficient Homes Package, far outweighs the energy used in the production of the insulation, according to the Insulation Council of Australia and New Zealand (ICANZ).

Mr D’Arcy, ICANZ CEO said, ‘When ceiling insulation is correctly installed into a typical home, the energy and greenhouse gas emissions produced during its manufacture would be recovered within around four or five weeks.

“We estimate that when R3.5 glasswool insulation batts are installed into a typical existing home with a remaining lifespan of say 40 years, it will save over 340 times the energy that was used to make them.

“The building codes for new homes, which have an average life expectancy of 70 to 80 years, already have provisions for minimum energy performance that include insulation.

“We are a little surprised that a question regarding the relative performance of insulation in saving energy compared to energy required to make it has been raised in the media, Parliament, and during the Senate inquiry, as the answer is so unequivocally in favour of insulation,” Mr D’Arcy said.

“For quite some time now both here and overseas residential building insulation has been well recognised as the most immediate, sustainable and cost effect measure in addressing burgeoning residential energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. For example:

  • Research by the international consulting firm McKinsey and Company —A cost curve for greenhouse gas reduction found that ‘Almost a quarter of possible emissions reductions would result from measures (such as better insulation in buildings that carry no net lifecycle cost, in fact they come free of charge)’.
  • Stern Review —Economics of Climate Change found that ‘energy efficiency has the potential to be the biggest single source of emissions savings in the energy sector. This would have both environmental and economic benefits: energy-efficiency measures cut waste and often save money’.
  • United Nations Environmental Project —Buildings and climate change, Status Challenges and Opportunities highlights that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the building sector accounts for 30-40 per cent of global energy use. Substantial benefits can be gained at low cost by improving the energy efficiency of buildings.
  • International Energy Agency —World Energy Outlook 2006 found that `Meeting the world’s growing hunger for energy requires massive investment in energy supply infrastructure… Policies that encourage the more efficient production and use of energy contribute 80 per cent of the avoided CO2 emissions…’.

“As a one-off investment, insulation provides substantial and ongoing benefits in energy and greenhouse gas savings. It also improves the comfort, health and well-being benefits that flow on to extra money in the household budget, improved productivity, and less incidents of illness,” Mr D’Arcy said.

Mr D’Arcy also reported that some Australians are seeking more comfort by buying air-conditioners instead of insulating or improving the energy efficiency of their homes first. The number of air conditioners installed in Australia rose from 33 per cent of homes in 1994 to over 60 per cent of homes in 2005 (ABS 4602.0 2005).

“This trend has continued and is one of the main reasons for increasing home energy demand.

“Importantly, the Federal Government’s insulation measures are a key to addressing burgeoning household energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions.

They will also assist many less fortunate Australians to achieve the comfort levels they desire and reduce their energy bills, leaving more money for rent, mortgage or other household budget items,” Mr D’Arcy said.

Media inquiries: Glenn Schaube GRS Communications: 03 9478 5224, 0439 320 151