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HIA urges 'sense and sustainability' for energy rules.

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Housing Industry Association Limited ACN No 004 631 752

November 23, 2005

HIA urges ‘sense and sustainability’ for energy rules

The Housing Industry Association is concerned that more energy regulations are about to be imposed on home builders despite mounting doubts over their environmental benefits.

HIA Senior Executive Director Building Services and Planning, Elizabeth Crouch, said the Australian Building Codes Board is set to consider the introduction of five-star energy regulations in all new homes when it meets on Friday.

“These regulations are not delivering a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, nor making significant inroads into energy savings,” she said. “However, by 2020 it will have imposed a staggering $31.5 billion cost on

Australian families for a mere saving - estimated by the Australian Greenhouse Office - of just 0.8 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

“We challenge the ABCB to show leadership on this issue. The board should confront the broader energy efficiency debate rather than acquiesce in the imposition of yet more costly requirements on new home buyers.”

The Australian Productivity Commission identified that heating and cooling - the two key energy factors in housing - contribute a mere two per cent to greenhouse gas emissions and represent only five percent of energy consumption.

“This is backed by the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission which says there is no clear evidence that the costs of existing Victorian building energy regulations are delivering the expected environmental benefits.”

Ms Crouch said the figures clearly show that the only significant impact of five-star energy regulations will be on housing affordability. “A Victorian Government survey of more than 600 builders indicates that the Victorian model of five-star regulation adds 6.04 per cent, or more than $15,000, to the average cost of a home,” she said.

“HIA is also disappointed that regulators have ignored the industry’s own efforts to move voluntarily to a national four-star energy rating for houses in the spirit of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

“The ABCB should suspend these proposals until a full and independent evaluation of all building energy regulations is undertaken, as proposed by the Productivity Commission.

“This will provide the credibility currently lacking in the current building energy regulations and open the way for a sensible and cost-effective energy efficiency policy to be adopted nationwide.”

Further information:

Elizabeth Crouch 0419 868 684 Glenn Evans 0414 186 907