Construction industry warned to green up its act

Australia´s construction industry risks being hit financially unless it makes buildings more ‘‘green’’, a conference has been told.

Matthias Krups, chairman and chief executive of BCI Australia, said a price, or tax, would be placed on carbon dioxide emissions due to climate change fears.

‘‘The building and property sector — those designing, delivering, operating and owning buildings — have to brace themselves for a new age where they may be held accountable and get taxed for the environmental performance of their projects,’’ he said.

Dr Krups was addressing the Future Proofing Property Conference organised by BCI Australia, with the support of the Property Council of Australia, as well as the Green Building Councils of Australia and Germany.

Globally, buildings accounted for 40 %of carbon dioxide emissions. ‘‘In Australia — on account of our large mining sector — that number is estimated to be around 25 per cent. That’s still more greenhouse gas emissions from buildings than from the entire transport sector,’’ he said.

Dr Krups said energy rating tools had now become binding. ‘‘A new Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Bill takes effect as of November 1, threatening to catch the industry off guard,’’ he said.

‘‘Ninety per cent of office buildings in Australia were built before any energy efficiency rating tools were introduced, requiring extensive retrofitting.’’

Government tenants now required a minimum four-star NABERS rating and many large corporates were demanding five-star NABERS ratings.

 

On the design front, Dr Krups said there were few Green Building Council green star registered projects. ‘‘Of 2500 new commercial projects researched by BCI Australia in the last 12 months, only a handful more than 100 had a green star brief, registration or certificate,’’ he said. ‘‘Time has come for the sector to take note. The building and property industry has become a global business, and there is an abundance of best practices to learn from across the globe.’’

 

[Source: Philip Hopkins, Sydney Morning Herald, www.smh.com.au]

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