All The Latest Publications
  • November 2017

    Opportunity knocks: Accelerating energy efficiency for mid-tier buildings

    The Green Building Council of Australia with the Property Council of Australia, Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH), Energy Efficiency Council, Facilities Management Association of  Australia, City of Sydney, City of Melbourne and CitySwitch have produced a policy framework addressing the potential opportunities presented by increasing the energy efficiency requirements for mid-tier buildings. The policy framework, Opportunity knocks: Accelerating energy efficiency for mid-tier buildings, quantifies the number of mid-tier buildings as accounting for about 80% of office buildings and 50% of floor space in Australia.

    Noting the good alignment with the recommendations in Low Carbon, High Performance, ASBEC has adopted this policy, which outlines five immediate actions for governments:

    1. Reduce the threshold required to disclose the energy performance of buildings
    2. Expand disclosure requirements to new sectors with a focus on tenants
    3. Support business through targeted tax incentives for building upgrades
    4. Governments to lead by example through higher efficiency requirements for their own tenancies and offices
    5. Invest in research to improve our understanding of energy opportunities across the building sector

    Download here.

  • October 2017

    Bang for Buck – delivering better business cases to realise more value from our infrastructure investments

    Traditionally infrastructure projects have been valued and assessed using methods which often do not best leverage all benefits and opportunities, or fully evaluate all costs. In addition, it has been quite common for infrastructure project proposals to be poorly communicated to the wider community, eroding social and political license and capital.

    In this context, and as government policy attempts to meet the challenges of population growth, climate and demographic change, constrained budgets and funding challenges, the role of broader cost benefit analysis and business case assessment is increasingly coming under scrutiny.

    ASBEC held a series of roundtable discussions in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth from 2016-2017, with over 50 key decision makers from across government departments, agencies and industry.  Participants were asked to share their views on the challenges associated with developing business cases for infrastructure projects across Australia. These discussions facilitated a range of views on the opportunities for government to support policy reform that would deliver better business cases, and ultimately better infrastructure and improved outcomes for the tax payer.

    The findings from these discussions, presented in Bang for Buck – Delivering better business cases to realise more value from our infrastructure investments, provide a rare insight across all levels of government across Australia as to what practical interventions can be delivered today and in the longer-term to achieve a better bang for our buck from our infrastructure spend.

    Bang for Buck outlines a powerful case for reform across four broad areas of focus:

    1. Leading with bipartisan vision across all levels of government
    2. Improving infrastructure decision making
    3. Understanding the method (and the madness) of business case development
    4. Engaging the public in the benefits of their infrastructure investment

    Read Bang for Buck – Delivering better business cases to realise more value from our infrastructure investments.

    Read the ASBEC media release.

  • September 2017

    Improved Housing Outcomes – for more affordable, sustainable housing

    Housing affordability is defined and measured in a variety of ways. For ASBEC, affordability means enabling people to make a housing choice that suits their needs within their available budget – regardless of whether it involves renting, ownership or having options as they age.

    Housing is integral to health, wellbeing and economic outcomes for all Australians. Housing policy has a significant effect on the lives of Australians, because it influences the connectivity and proximity of housing to other land uses, including transport, employment, community services such as hospitals and schools, and recreational activities. It is also a significant contributor to economic activity, being responsible for many thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly.

    To support affordable living outcomes, housing policy must promote the provision of diverse dwellings to cater for needs at all stages of life, and encourage density in the right places, with improved access to jobs and services. This requires:

    • Long term alignment between population growth and housing supply, with periodic targets integrated into adopted planning policy.
    • Strategic planning for accessible centres to link residential concentrations with jobs and services, reducing the costs of transport and vulnerability to social exclusion.Cost effective and timely delivery of urban infrastructure integrated with strategic planning, including: public transport, roads, community facilities and utilities for greenfield and urban infill areas.
    • The adoption of best practice design principles to functionally enhance the sustainability and resilience of the built environment, with high quality urban design ensuring creating a sense of place.
    • Improved sustainability of buildings, including minimum standards for the energy performance of new and existing buildings, which recognise whole of life costs.
    • Continuous reform of land use planning and processes, to encourage supply of diverse housing where it ensures equivalent incentives for detached dwellings and a diversity of medium density housing types that promote design quality and sustainability.
    • Ensuring the market operates efficiently to supply housing for all market segments, including the availability of housing stock that meets the needs of very low to moderate income earners.
    • Regulatory frameworks that encourage innovation and efficiencies in the housing supply chain, such as modular construction, pre-fabrication and bringing new products to market more cost efficiently.

    Read Improved Housing Outcomes – for more affordable, sustainable housing.

    Read the ASBEC Media Release.

  • July 2017

    Building Code Energy Performance Trajectory – Issues Paper

    A new project led by the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) and ClimateWorks Australia will develop a long-term industry-led vision for how the National Construction Code can deliver energy and emissions savings alongside financial benefits for building owners and occupants.

    The Building Code Energy Performance Trajectory Project: Issues Paper notes that buildings contribute more than half of our country’s electricity consumption and almost a quarter of emissions in Australia.  Energy requirements for new construction in building codes are key to driving energy and emissions outcomes.

    This Issues Paper calls for input and feedback from industry, government and consumer stakeholders, to help ensure the project is useful, relevant and achieves its intended outcomes.

    An interim report on project findings will be published in November 2017 and
    a final report on cost benefit analyses and a policy pathway in March 2018.

    Feedback is due via email by Friday 28 July 2017.

    Read Building Code Energy Performance Trajectory Project: Issues Paper.

    Read the ASBEC Media Release.

  • April 2017

    ASBEC submission on review of Australia’s climate change policies

    The Australian Government is reviewing its climate change policies to take stock of Australia’s progress in reducing emissions, and ensure the Government’s policies remain effective in achieving Australia’s 2030 target and Paris Agreement commitments.

    Buildings are a major energy consumer and account for almost a quarter of total Australian emissions. The built environment provides a great opportunity in terms of implementing innovative low/zero carbon technology. ASBEC’s Low Carbon, High Performance outlines a clear policy roadmap for realising this opportunity.

    Achieving a reduction in carbon emissions in the built environment and other high emitting sectors, however, requires a step-change approach through strong policies that will ensure alignment and coordination of regulatory frameworks at the Federal and State/Territory level to Australia’s Paris Commitment.

    Read the full ASBEC submission here.

  • February 2017

    ASBEC submission on Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market

    The Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market, or Finkel Review, released a Preliminary Report in December 2016. The purpose of the Review is to advise the Government on a national reform blueprint for the National Electricity Market (NEM).

    ASBEC has provided a submission to this review, noting the immense potential of the built environment to assist in harmonising and advancing the priorities of energy reliability, affordability and emissions reduction.

    Implementation of an appropriate suite of policy measures could deliver almost $20 billion in financial savings by 2030, in addition to productivity benefits and improvements in quality of life for Australian businesses and households. Buildings could also meet over half of the national energy productivity target, and more than one quarter of the national emissions target.

    The cost of inaction in the built environment could lead to over $24 billion in wasted energy and over 170 megatonnes of lost emission reduction opportunities, through lock-in of emissions intensive assets and equipment.

    Read the full ASBEC submission here.

  • September 2016

    Resilience and the Built Environment Fact Sheets

    ASBEC has partnered with AECOM to produce three fact sheets for resilience in the built environment, focusing on cities, infrastructure and housing.

    These fact sheets provide foundational resilience information to built environment decision makers, to help embed resilience thinking into their decision-making and begin a discussion with stakeholders and supply chains.

    Media release

    ASBEC Resilience Fact Sheets_Cities

    ASBEC Resilience Fact Sheets_Housing

    ASBEC Resilience Fact Sheets_Infrastructure

  • July 2016

    Submission on Smart Cities Plan

    ASBEC has welcomed the Australian Government’s prioritisation of a Smart Cities policy, to be delivered by the Prime Minister, the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation and the Cities Unit within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

    Together with our members, ASBEC has advocated for leadership on cities since 2011. Our recent work includes Investing in Cities, a platform supporting the productivity, liveability, sustainability and resilience of our cities; and the Low Carbon, High Performance report which outlines the potential of the built environment to reduce Australia’s emissions.

    The Smart Cities Plan reflects the principles highlighted in Investing in Cities, which outlines the economic, demographic, cultural and technological factors that together present a compelling case for a Commonwealth focus on cities.

    Read submission.

  • June 2016

    Building Energy Performance Scoping Workshop Outcomes Report

    The ASBEC National Construction Code Working Group was established to consider opportunities to improve Australia’s building energy performance standards and the National Construction Code (NCC).

    This work is being undertaken through the Building Energy Performance Standards Project, the first stage of which (scoping) has been completed.

    This stage involved a scoping workshop facilitated by ClimateWorks Australia in April 2016 and the production of this report, which outlines key issues and potential solutions.

    Eleven key policy solutions were identified, six of which have been rated as ‘high’ priority. The next steps for ASBEC on these have been identified as:

    • Undertaking further research where ASBEC is best placed to lead, in particular:
      • Development of a future trajectory for the minimum energy performance standards and improved upgrade process;
      • Collating existing research on residential stringency to reach agreement on a timeline for increasing the stringency for residential buildings;
    • Coordination of industry input to existing ABCB processes leading up to the 2019 NCC, with a focus on:
      • Increasing the stringency of commercial building standards;
      • Introducing both whole-of-building and fabric-specific standards;
      • Implement as-built performance requirements;
    • Advocacy in relation to the key solutions identified, including advocating for others to undertake further research, with a focus on improving State and Territory enforcement.

    Building Energy Performance Scoping Workshop Outcomes report

  • May 2016

    ‘Low Carbon, High Performance’ Report

    As a signatory to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, Australia has committed to reaching net zero emissions by around 2050. Australia’s built environment contributes almost a quarter of Australia’s emissions, offering a significant opportunity for emissions reduction.

    The Low Carbon, High Performance report provides detailed modelling of potential emissions reductions from the building sector, setting out a policy roadmap towards 2050.

    Projected 2050 emissions from buildings can be reduced using existing technology, including energy efficiency measures; switching non-electric equipment and appliances to electricity; and greater use of solar photovoltaic panels.

    Implementing all of the energy efficiency opportunities identified in this report could deliver over $20 billion in financial savings by 2030, in addition to productivity benefits and improvements in quality of life for Australian businesses and households.

    The report identifies that government will need to support the building sector by:

    • Developing a national plan with supporting policy frameworks and governance arrangements;
    • Setting strong mandatory minimum standards for buildings, equipment and appliances;
    • Using targeted incentives and programs to motivate and support higher performance;
    • Reforming our energy market to ensure that it supports the roll-out of cost-effective energy efficiency and distributed energy improvements; and
    • Rolling out a range of supporting data, information, training and education measures.

    Implementing the recommendations in this plan is urgent. Just five years of delay could lead to over $24 billion in wasted energy costs and over 170 megatonnes of lost emission reduction opportunities through lock-in of emissions intensive assets and equipment.

    Download ASBEC’s Media Release

    Read ASBEC’s Low carbon, High Performance Summary report

    Read ASBEC’s Low carbon, High Performance Full report

    Also available: Report Appendices and ClimateWorks Modelling Assumptions

  • April 2016

    Building Energy Performance Standards project Issues Paper

    The Building Energy Performance Standards project Issues Paper is the first step in a three stage ‘Building Energy Performance Standards’ project led by ASBEC to drive improvements in the National Construction Code (NCC).

    The project aims to:

    1. Develop an industry-led vision for improving the energy performance requirements for both residential and commercial buildings in the Code, with a goal to provide certainty, foster innovation and deliver the benefits of rapidly improving energy technology and design approaches for Australia. Improvements may include:
      1. Increasing the minimum energy performance standards;
      2. Establishing a trajectory for future increases;
      3. Considering potential improvements to the design of the energy performance requirements that would make the Code simpler and more useful for design and construction professionals, and make compliance easier to monitor.
    2. Seek implementation of this vision, including through co-ordination of the industry response to Code upgrade processes undertaken by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) and other relevant government and industry processes. The ABCB has been consulted on this project and we understand it has space in its work plan for 2016/17 to undertake this work.

    The Issues Paper sets out how the NCC currently operates and outlines a range of potential improvements. It is intended to support multi-stakeholder discussions taking place in 2016 to identify and progress potential improvements to the NCC.

    Improvements to the NCC may be implemented through the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), through the Council of Australian Governments’ Building Ministers Forum or through other policy processes.  This project is intended to support and assist these government processes by coordinating industry and expert input.

    Read the full ASBEC Building Energy Performance Standards Issues Paper.

  • January 2016

    National Framework for Residential Ratings

    ASBEC calls for a nationally consistent framework to assess the sustainability of residential buildings, set minimum standards, benchmark building performance, and communicate value.

    This is intended to help homeowners to understand and value sustainability elements, and enable industry to deliver better quality, more sustainable products and services to renovators and homebuyers.

    A single framework, consistently applied across jurisdictions, will reduce complexity and confusion for industry and consumers alike. This will result in better sustainability outcomes, and it will encourage continuous improvement and innovation.

    ASBEC has identified three key elements of an effective framework

    • Set minimum regulatory performance standards in new buildings for each of building energy, thermal comfort, water and other sustainability issues
    • Provide benchmarks for market comparison of best practice sustainability performance; and
    • Deliver communication messages explaining the value of sustainability features to renovators and homebuyers, including at point of sale and lease.

    Any move to a nationally consistent framework will require coordination across all levels of government as well as with industry.  Key ASBEC recommendations for each of these stakeholders are;

    Key recommendations for Governments

    • Governments, in partnership with industry, explore improved minimum performance standards for new buildings covering building energy, thermal comfort, water efficiency, and other sustainability issues
    • Governments implement nationally consistent requirements for determining the sustainability performance of housing in the National Construction Code to ensure requirements are harmonised across jurisdictions.
    • Governments to work with industry to act on the findings of the National Energy Efficient Building Project to improve compliance with energy efficiency requirements in the National Construction Code, build skills and industry capacity and lower compliance costs

    Key recommendations for Industry

    • Industry, through ASBEC or a similar forum, establish voluntary benchmarks for best practice aligned to existing regulatory requirements
    • Industry to develop an approach to increasing public awareness and understanding of the framework, and communicating the benefits of sustainable housing
    • Industry to lead, in agreement with government, development of a pathway towards ratings disclosure at point of sale and lease, including a repository of rating information (compliance and performance) for rating re-use, analysis and communication of value

    Read the full National Framework for Residential Ratings – Policy Platform

    Further detail is provided in the National Framework for Residential Ratings – Discussion Paper

  • July 2015

    Position on National Construction Code 2016

    ASBEC recommends that proposed changes relating to energy efficiency provisions for residential buildings are removed from the draft NCC 2016, and that:

    1. More rigorous modelling and further work is carried to ensure consistency of output under the proposed verification method;
    2. There is a clearly identified and funded administrative function to oversee assessments under any new proposed verification method;
    3. Thorough industry consultation is undertaken to ensure that the proposed changes are effective and policy neutral.

    Read the full position paper here.

  • July 2015

    Investing in Cities: Prioritising a Cities and Urban Policy Framework for productivity, prosperity and a better standard of living


    Australia is one of the world’s most urbanised countries. With our cities growing quickly, we need governments to deliver policies that maximise their value and protect the ‘liveability’ we are world-famous for.

    ASBEC’s Investing in Cities: Prioritising a Cities and Urban Policy Framework for productivity, prosperity and a better standard of living calls for new investment in our cities recommending renewed action by all governments to increase the productivity, prosperity and liveability of Australia’s cities, and delivers clear next steps for all spheres of government.

    The policy platform calls on the Federal Government to provide national leadership and coordination through a Minister for Cities, supporting urban infrastructure investment with state and territory governments delivering projects, planning, and measuring success through clear indicators. Local Government retains their critical link to meet the needs of their communities and deliver best practice design and sustainable local urban environments. A partnership with industry across government will support this policy, providing the expertise to identify best practice and implement it on the ground.

    Read Investing in Cities: Prioritising a Cities and Urban Policy Framework for productivity, prosperity and a better standard of living.

    Read the full ASBEC Media Release.

  • June 2015

    Pathway to Productive and Sustainable Infrastructure Workshop Report

    ASBEC recognises that the shift towards more sustainable and productive cities and regions must inherently be underpinned by more of the right infrastructure. That infrastructure must be delivered with a view to its long-term sustainability, and maximise productivity across  transport, water, electricity and telecommunications networks.

    In October 2014, ASBEC held a half day workshop, hosted by Infrastructure Australia, to identify pathways to deliver the infrastructure we need to maximise national productivity and sustainability.  There were over 35 participants, representing key infrastructure and built environment peak bodies, infrastructure planning and funding authorities, institutional investors, infrastructure owner/operators, design and delivery organisations, government and academia.

    The result was a shared perspective on a range of challenges and opportunities that currently inform the planning, design and delivery of infrastructure across Australia.

    Australia faces a series of challenges in its current infrastructure planning process, including the politicisation of plans and decisions; funding and finance constraints, limited business case analysis, lack of foresight and resilience, a constrained tender and contract structure, and the increasing impact of community sentiment.

    The approach to infrastructure planning outlined in this report responds to many of these challenges and opportunities and advocates for:

    • A 30 Year Infrastructure Plan developed by Infrastructure Australia.
    • Collaborative Stakeholder Engagement informing the design and delivery of the 30 Year Infrastructure Plan, founded in collaboration between community, industry and government.
    • Five Pathways guiding the implementation of the plan through Engagement, Planning, Decision, Funding and Execution.

    Read the full report here.

  • November 2014

    Cross Sector Built Environment Adaptation Framework

    In 2012, ASBEC launched a Climate Change Adaptation Framework for the Built Environment, outlining a ten-point framework for the Australian Government to improve the resilience of our urban communities against extreme weather events and predicted future climate change.

    This framework has been revised to address the the contribution that each sector in Australia can make.

    The Built Environment Adaptation Framework outlines the ways that the Australian Government, state, territory and local governments, industry, academia and the community sector can deliver effective resilience and adaptation strategies through:

    1. Cross-sector engagement
    2. Leading by example
    3. Sponsoring applied research
    4. Providing better access to information and tools
    5. Investing in education
    6. Providing incentives
    7. Reforming and improving regulation
    8. Reviewing building codes and standards
    9. Improving planning systems and outcomes
    10. Improving insurance and financial services

    Read the full cross sector Built Environment Adaptation-Framework.

  • November 2014

    ASBEC Position on the Commercial Buildings Disclosure Program

    An independent review of the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program is being undertaken, in order to assess the Program’s objectives, the effectiveness of the program in promoting energy efficiency and its interaction with the Emissions Reduction Fund.

    The Review will provide recommendations on funding, governance, possible extension and “the merits of continuing the program or not, both in terms of the public interest as well as the private interest of property owners and tenants”.

    ASBEC has adopted a high level position in support of the CBD and the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) that supports this program.

    The CBD Program facilitates transparency of energy efficiency information, using the robust NABERS methodology.  This is an important program that addresses the vast number of office accommodation in cities around Australia, using market forces to drive better performing, energy efficient buildings.

    Raising awareness of a building’s performance creates a market incentive for tenants to look for higher-performing buildings and for building owners to upgrade stock.  This leads to improvements in energy efficiency, reductions in GHG emissions, improved industry capacity and can act as an ongoing industry stimulus.

    ASBEC was involved in the development and launch of the initial NABERS program and we encourage the Government ensure the CBD Program is continued and improved, to ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness.

    ASBEC notes that there are some differences at a technical level, including the tenancy lighting assessment, between industry stakeholders and encourages the Government to consult with individual professional and industry organisations to ensure that alignment can be found on these technical elements.

    Click HERE to download ASBEC’s position on the CBD Program.

  • October 2014

    Submission on Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development’s Overview of Project Appraisal Paper

    ASBEC has identified a number of areas associated with infrastructure project identification and appraisal which we strongly recommend be adopted to ensure that the most productive and sustainable projects are selected and progressed. This will also facilitate best practice in project sustainability governance.

    The issues and recommendations are detailed below:

    • All federal, state and local infrastructure decision-making must be informed and underpinned by respective (minimum) 30-year socio-economic master plans which take into account optimising current asset stock, along with issues such as:
      • Demographic trends
      • Economic shift to knowledge and service based economy
      • Climate impacts
      • Cumulative environmental impacts and costs
      • Whole of life costs
      • Wider economic benefits
    • The business case for all infrastructure investments (brown and greenfield) must demonstrate shared value and value creation benefits across the social – economic – environmental triple bottom line and should be quantified where practicable.
    • All projects which have been considered worthy of funding should be required to achieve certification using the appropriate industry best practice sustainability performance and assurance rating tools throughout the project planning, delivery and operational phases. Rating tools provide verification that benchmarks are achieved and will ensure that the proposed direct and indirect project/asset outcomes are ultimately delivered. These industry best practice rating tools include:
      • The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia’s (ISCA) IS rating tool applicable to the planning, procurement, design, construction and operations of all infrastructure asset classes (big and small).
      • The Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) Green Star – Communities rating tool which is applicable to development projects on a community and precinct scale.
    • A whole-of-government approach to project appraisal, supporting consistency and best practice across the states and territories is critical. This project appraisal framework should be integrated with the existing work undertaken by Infrastructure Australia, and those relevant state and territory departments and agencies advising and overseeing infrastructure prioritisation, funding and delivery. Clear recommendations and next steps facilitating this whole-of-government approach should be included in the framework to support its implementation.

    Read submission.

  • October 2014

    Submission on Infrastructure Australia Amendment (Cost Benefit Analysis and Other Measures) Bill 2014

    ASBEC has identified a number of areas associated with infrastructure project appraisal which we strongly recommend be adopted by Infrastructure Australia to ensure that the most productive and sustainable projects are prioritised:

    • A whole-of-government approach to project appraisal, supporting consistency and best practice across the states and territories is critical. This project appraisal framework should be integrated with the existing work undertaken by Infrastructure Australia, and those relevant state and territory departments and agencies advising and overseeing infrastructure prioritisation, funding and delivery. Clear recommendations and next steps facilitating this whole-of-government approach should be included in the framework to support its implementation.
    • Major infrastructure decision making must be informed and underpinned by a minimum 30 year socio-economic masterplan which takes into account optimising current asset stock, along with issues including demographic trends, economic shift to knowledge and service based economy, climate impacts, cumulative environmental impacts and costs, whole of life costs and wider economic benefits
    • The business case for all infrastructure investments (brown and greenfield) must demonstrate shared value and value creation benefits across the social – economic – environmental triple bottom line and should be quantified where practicable.

    Read submission.

  • October 2014

    Submission on Energy Green Paper

    The built environment is a major user of energy, a major investor in end-use equipment and energy management, and is increasingly involved in energy supply through distributed generation. Data presented on page V of the Green Paper highlights that around 20 per cent of Australia’s final energy consumption occurs in the built environment (residential and commerce and services sectors) and a further 40 per cent is used in transport, which is heavily influenced by the built environment.

    ASBEC members support a renewable energy target, and believe that policy settings will need to change in order to maximise the potential to improve energy productivity and reduce emissions in the built environment.

    Distributed generation offers significant opportunities to make energy more affordable, improve energy productivity, increase system diversity and resilience, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, reforms to energy market regulations and other policies are essential to both unlock the potential of distributed generation and ensure that its installation occurs in a way that delivers both short- and long-term benefits to generators and consumers.

    The Energy White Paper should consider the role of the built environment and distributed generation in energy demand and supply.

    Read submission.

  • September 2014

    ASBEC Platform on Distributed Generation

    ASBEC has released their Platform on Distributed Generation, calling on federal, state and local governments to work together to maintain the Renewable Energy Target and appoint a Commissioner to support the rollout of distributed generation in Australia.

    Distributed generation includes solar photovoltaic, cogeneration, trigeneration and district energy systems.

    Reforms to energy market regulations and other policies are essential to unlock the potential of distributed generation and ensure that benefits are delivered to consumers.

    If they are rolled out in an effective way, a diverse mix of distributed generation technologies would protect homes and businesses from rising fuel costs by either avoiding the use of fuel or using it more efficiently and reduce energy bills by reducing the need to augment the grid to cope with rising peak demand.

    In summary, the ASBEC policy recommendations are:

    • Maintain the Renewable Energy Target.
    • Appoint a Commissioner to support the rollout of distributed generation.
    • Simplify the process for connecting distributed generation to the grid.
    • Commence a long-term process to deliver fair returns from distributed generation installations, including both energy and network values.
    • Immediately start interim measures to deliver fairer returns from distributed generation installations.
    • Deliver targeted financial support for innovative applications of distributed generation.

    Read full Platform on Distributed Generation here.

    Read ASBEC’s Media Release here.

  • May 2014

    Submission on Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Amendment Bill 2014

    ASBEC believes that an effective climate change policy must overcome structural and financial barriers to cost-effective greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement. Our report ‘Delivering abatement through direct action’, which we submitted during the government’s ERF consultation period, demonstrates that if designed properly, the proposed Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) could help to deliver such potential within Australia’s building sector.

    However, we are concerned that the current design of the scheme makes it difficult for our sector to access the ERF and is not conducive to unlocking the up to 30 million tonnes of potential carbon abatement per year available within our sector.
    If designed properly, the ERF could generate significant incentives for energy efficiency upgrades and other abatement projects across the built environment, overcoming existing market barriers that often make action in this sector commercially unviable.

    Read the submission.

  • February 2014

    Submission on the Direct Action Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper

    Following on from ASBEC’s submission to the Direct Action Emissions Reduction Fund White Paper, the ASBEC Direct Action Working Group have reviewed the Green Paper and make a number of specific recommendations, in summary:

    • That participation in complementary government emission reduction or energy efficiency programs not preclude access to the ERF; however, double dipping will be forestalled by ensuring there is a verifiable nexus between ERF-related incentives and ERF-related abatement.
    • Normalisation methods be adopted for the Facility Method to ensure fluctuations in building occupancy, hours of operation and climatic conditions are appropriately taken into account.
    • Live bid prices be made available during auction rounds until the finalisation of each auction. This will encourage competition.
    • Contract terms be extended beyond five years with a provision to deem and pay extended abatement upfront.
    • Successful bidders be provided with 50% of ERF funding upfront, with the remaining 50% payable on delivery of abatement instalments.
    • Full payment for abatement based on NSW Energy Savings Scheme ‘Default Savings Factors’ be made once installation of plant or equipment is verified.
    • International permits not be allowable to make-good contract shortfalls.
    • ERF payments to be classified as passive income for the purposes of Managed Investment Trust legislation.
    • The coverage threshold for the safeguard mechanism be based only on Scope 1 emissions, in keeping with existing rules for Liable Entities.
    • Baselines for the safeguard mechanism be set with reference to individual facility history.
    • International permits not be used by companies to meet their baseline requirements within the safeguard framework.

    Read the submission

    This submission is endorsed by eleven members of ASBEC who work together in the ASBEC Direct Action Working Group.

  • January 2014

    Submission on Infrastructure Australia Amendment Bill

    ASBEC is a strong supporter of Infrastructure Australia (IA) as a valuable mechanism to deliver greater independence, transparency and a strong evidence base to support infrastructure decision making and policy development. ASBEC advocates a broadened role for IA to support more productive, sustainable and liveable communities.

    ASBEC’s recommendations include:

    • Establishing IA as a body corporate, and providing additional funding
    • IA to deliver fifteen year infrastructure plans to be reviewed every five years, and for even longer-term plan to be seriously considered
    • Resilience and sustainability be specified as stand-alone function for IA
    • The independence and transparency of IA be safeguarded. Our submission makes a number of specific recommendations in this regard

    Read ASBEC Submission on Infrastructure Australia Amendment Bill 2013

  • February 2014

    Submission on the Energy White Paper

    The built environment is a major user of energy, a major investor in end-use equipment and energy management, and is increasingly involved in energy supply through distributed generation. Around 20 percent of Australia’s final energy consumption occurs in the built environment, and a further 39 percent is used in transport, a component of the built environment. Therefore the White Paper should consider the role of the built environment in energy demand and supply.

    Focusing on the right metric is crucial. This metric should be the size of energy bills and total cost of energy services, rather than the cost per unit of energy. For example, while Californian homes face per unit energy costs higher than the US national average, their relatively high level of energy efficiency means they have some of the lowest energy bills in the US.

    This submission goes on to consider: regulatory reform, including tariff reform; workforce productivity; unlocking potential energy productivity; and, encouraging alternative and emerging energy sources and technology.

    Read ASBEC submission on Energy White Paper.

  • November 2013

    Briefing Paper: The Built Environment Skills Collaboration Framework

    Skills gaps are seriously limiting the capacity of the built environment sector to realise opportunities to invest in sustainability and reap the subsequent rewards.  Government agencies, industry bodies, professional associations and educational institutions often start from scratch for each new attempt to address sustainability skills gaps.  Often programs, materials and information developed by separate entities are not properly shared and disseminated, leading to frustration and a lack of progress.  A framework for collaboration is essential to overcome these inefficiencies and address the skills gaps with the urgency required by the sustainability challenge.

    This Briefing Paper outlines why it is essential to address the sustainability skills gap, and identifies a collaboration framework via 4 strategies: 1) forming collaborations; 2) ensuring skills availability; 3) encouraging skills demand; and 4) creating a market for sustainability.  It then sets out a pathway to establish the framework including actions, key players and a timeline.

    Read Briefing Paper: The Built Environment Skills Collaboration Framework.

    Which builds on the full report ASBEC Skills Collaboration Framework Report

  • November 2013

    Submission on Direct Action Emissions Reduction Fund Design

    The ASBEC submission on the design of the Direct Action Emissions Reduction Fund includes two key elements:

    Principles that should guide the Emissions Reduction Fund

    Operational demand for energy in the buildings sector (commercial and residential, not including construction) amounts to 23% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. There is significant potential to reduce the sector’s GHG through investment in energy efficiency. The following policies are key to unlocking this GHG reduction via long term structural change:

    • Accelerated green depreciation for buildings,
    • A national white certificate scheme,
    • Public funding for energy efficient buildings retrofit,
    • Modernisation of the Building Code of Australia with higher energy efficiency standards, and
    • Enhancing performance standards in the minimum energy performance standards for
      appliances (MEPS)

    ASBEC submits that there are some guiding principles which ought to be considered for the ERF. These include;

    • A clear focus on maximising abatement to achieve Australia’s 2020 abatement target
    • Preference to be given to abatement which has certainty of being achieved
    • Independent verification of abatement
    • Weighting to be given to abatement which continues beyond 2020
    • Transparency (eg, disclosure of bid prices and report on ERF abatement outcomes)
    • Certainty for participants and government
    • Minimise transaction costs
    • Fairness and equity

    And that in addition to the ERF there is still a need for complementary measures to realise the full abatement potential within the buildings sector. Complementary measures, both financial and non-financial incentives, to encourage the built environment towards better practice and reduced emissions such as; discounts for lower emissions properties, training opportunities to upskill the workforce, R&D incentives to support innovation, community education to change occupant behaviour etc.

    Detailed Report on Design Principles

    Endorsed by ASBEC membership, this report Delivering Abatement Through Direct Actions – Emissions Reduction Fund, concept design and practice offers a detailed exploration of how the ERF might work across all industries. Commissioned by the Property Council of Australia, and carried out by ACIL Allen Consulting, it incorporates input from a range of ASBEC members and has been endorsed by the Council.

  • December 2013

    Submission to Productivity Commission on Public Infrastructure

    Infrastructure has a role to play in supporting more productive, sustainable and livable communities. This requires a coordinated and accountable approach to cities, incorporating more innovative financing mechanisms for infrastructure and a broadened role for Infrastructure Australia supported by the development and measurement of our cities’ performance through clear indicators.

    A framework to improve the resilience of the built environment in the face of climate change is essential to the consideration of whole-of-life costs of infrastructure, and government should work with industry to develop this framework.

    Read ASBEC Submission To Productivity Commission Inquiry on Public Infrastructure.

  • September 2013

    Policy Position Paper: A Better National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS)

    ASBEC strongly supports the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS). This support dates back to the involvement of individual ASBEC members in developing and launching the initial NABERS program.  It is because of this support that ASBEC is committed to the continual improvement of NABERS and its underlying tools.

    This Position Paper is the consolidation of our members’ ideas for a better NABERS.

    Recommendations cover the following elements:

    • Governance and oversight
    • Engagement with industry
    • Tool development
    • Technical improvements
    • Training and accreditation
    • Metrics and data
    • Customer service

    ASBEC believes a rigorous and nationally consistent rating tool is pivotal to fostering a more sustainable built environment.

    ASBEC will continue to partner with Government to recommend practical and technical improvements to NABERS, and provide a conduit for key stakeholders.

    Click HERE to download the ASBEC Policy Position Paper on NABERS.

  • June 2013

    Six-point plan for more productive, liveable and sustainable cities

    ASBEC has released a six-point plan for Australia’s cities to ensure they are globally competitive, productive, sustainable, liveable, socially inclusive and able to meet our future challenges, calling on all political parties to support the following actions:

    • Adopt a national approach to our cities with a strong governance framework
    • Establish an Urban Infrastructure Fund
    • Align Infrastructure Australia with National Urban Policy
    • Deliver a quantum leap in sustainable, affordable housing
    • Focus on climate change adaptation and resilience.

    Click HERE to download ASBEC’s Call to Action for productive, liveable and sustainable cities.

    Click HERE to download the ASBEC Media Release.

  • June 2013

    ASBEC Policy Platform – A Sustainable and Resilient Built Environment

    ASBEC’s 2013 policy platform calls for a sustainable, innovative, productive and resilient built environment in Australia through the following measures:

    • A Coordinated and Accountable Approach to Cities: Ensure our cities are productive, sustainable, liveable, resilient and adaptable by measuring performance through indicators; broadening the role of Infrastructure Australia, and strengthening the Major Cities Unit.
    • A Framework to Improve Resilience: Improve the resilience of the built environment in the face of climate change, with government working with industry to improve engagement, leadership, research, access to information and education, incentives, regulation, building codes and standards, planning systems and insurance and financial services.
    • Reduction of Energy Costs and Emissions: Support households and businesses to unlock the full potential of a more efficient, productive building sector through tax incentives for green building retrofits; a national white certificate scheme; public investment in retrofits; modernisation and updating of standards in the Building Code of Australia; and enhancing Minimum Energy Performance (MEPs) standards.
    • A Framework for Sustainable Buildings: Support a framework for improving the sustainability of buildings that includes measurable performance targets, with the aim of significantly improving economic and social value while simultaneously preserving natural capital.
    • A Roadmap for Net Zero Emission Homes: In partnership with industry and stakeholders, develop a shared vision, policy, skills and a business case for Net Zero Emission Homes.

    Click HERE to download ASBEC’s policy brochure.


  • May 2013

    A New Deal for Urban Australia

    More than 80 per cent of Australia’s population live in cities that collectively generate over 80 per cent of our economic wealth.

    A bi-partisan commitment to planning and delivering better cities; to working collaboratively with the states and territories, and with industry, to prioritise and fund the infrastructure we need for jobs, growth and a better way of life is now more urgent than ever.

    This is a call for leadership and investment. It is time to support A New Deal for Urban Australia. Here, the Urban Coalition detail those decisions that if taken today will shape a better future for our cities tomorrow.

    Read A New Deal for Urban Australia report.

  • March 2013

    Cities Snapshot – Background briefing on ASBEC Cities work

    ASBEC’s Cities and Regions Policy Task Group has compiled a briefing document to help inform members and stakeholders about the Task Groups work and relevant Government policy and programs.

    Click HERE to download the Cities Snapshot.

  • January 2013

    Submission to Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications: Recent trends in and preparedness for extreme weather event

    In January 2013, ASBEC provided a submission to the Senate Inquiry into Recent trends in and preparedness for extreme weather events.

    This submission is drawn from ASBEC’s ‘Built Environment Adaptation Framework’ and the supporting ‘Preparing for Change’ report.

    Click HERE for information on the inquiry and submissions received by the Committee.

    Click HERE to download ASBEC’s submission.


  • December 2012

    Net Zero Homes: An Industry Roadmap

    ASBEC’s Sustainable Housing Task Group has undertaken to start a conversation with government, the building sector and the Australian community about the steps toward a low carbon future for housing, through their release of Net Zero Homes: An Industry Roadmap.

    The Roadmap outlines the following pathways for stakeholders to achieve Net Zero Carbon Housing:

    • Delivering a Vision – a clear and consistent framework
    • Setting the Policy – the alignment of voluntary, incentive based and regulatory levers
    • Building Industry Skills – the identification of gaps and capacity building opportunities
    • Developing the Business Case – improving the feasibility to build and deliver
    • Build a Brand – engage with consumers and deliver understanding through information sharing

    The Roadmap is part of a package, the first part of which is Defining Zero Emission Buildings: Review and Recommendations; the second of which is the Net Zero Emission Homes: An Examination of Leading Practice And Pathways Forward.

    Click HERE to download Net Zero Homes: An Industry Roadmap.

  • December 2012

    Net Zero Emission Homes: An Examination of Leading Practice And Pathways Forward

    ASBEC commissioned the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) to undertake a global snapshot of pathways to delivering zero carbon homes.

    This report, entitled Net Zero Emission Homes: An Examination of Leading Practice And Pathways Forward assesses leading Australian and international practice in the delivery of zero carbon homes. It seeks to examine the lessons learned from lead practitioners and considers the applicability of international initiatives in the Australian context.

    This report specifically focuses on a zero carbon goal while recognising that many of the proposed actions will be equally relevant to low carbon or beyond zero carbon goals. This report should be read together with its sister document released by ASBEC, Net Zero Emission Homes: An Industry Roadmap.

    This project builds on an earlier project for ASBEC looking at definitions of zero carbon buildings and uses the definitions proposed in that report and complements work undertaken to examine the challenges of retrofitting residential homes.

    Click HERE to download Net Zero Emission Homes: An Examination of Leading Practice And Pathways Forward.

  • September 2012

    Zero Emissions Residential: ‘Drivers of Demand for Zero Emissions Retrofits’ Report

    The Sustainable Housing Task Group has released a report on the drivers of demand for zero and towards zero emissions residential retrofits.

    This report is a reference document for upcoming Sustainable Housing reports outlining an industry roadmap to Net Zero Emissions Homes and also a marketing study.

    This ‘Retrofit’ report finds that the strongest factors influencing the uptake of energy efficient refurbishments include the age and condition of the building, rising energy prices, short payback times and increased property value, appearance and visibility of the measures, householder income group and the desire for increased comfort and convenience.

    For a widespread adoption of energy efficient refurbishments this report recommends a range of initiatives which address professional practice, social practice and changing concepts of ‘home’. Simple mechanisms including choice, price, technical solutions or voluntary codes will not sufficiently mobilise homeowners towards to high energy efficiency standards. The most effective strategy will need to build on broader understandings of the correlations between decision-makers’ motives, the skills and expertise of building professionals, technical solutions, regulations and householder practices.

    This report is based on a desktop study undertaken by RMIT’s Centre for Design and made possible with the generous funding of Sustainability Victoria

    Click HERE to download the full report.

  • July 2012

    A Climate Change Adaptation Framework for the Built Environment

    In response to the impacts of climate change on the built environment, the ASBEC Climate Change Task Group have launched a ten-point framework aimed at improving the resilience of our urban communities against extreme weather events and predicted future climate change.

    The Built Environment Adaptation Framework proposes solutions to facilitate adaptation.

    It has been informed by surveys of ASBEC’s membership about the gaps in policy and the specific needs of the built environment, and will help governments capture the significant potential benefits of early action.

    The intention of this document is to propose a clear and comprehensive policy approach, by:

    • starting a constructive discussion about the risks, impacts, and implications of climate change associated with the built environment;
    • providing information on climate change risks and adaptation policy options, to improve understanding around the issues;
    • creating a basis for governments and others across the built environment to implement a strategic public policy approach to adaptation; and
    • establishing a dialogue and potential platform for joint action by industry and government on adaptation.

    Click HERE to download the Built Environment Adaptation Framework.

    Click HERE to download the “Preparing for Change – A Climate Change Adaptation Framework for the Built Environment” Report.

    Click HERE to download the media release.

  • November 2011

    Zero Emissions Residential: Defining Zero Emission Buildings – Review and Recommendations report

    The work of the Net Zero Energy Homes initiative is now being carried out by the ASBEC Zero Emissions Residential Task Group, created in early 2010.

    On November 15th 2011, the Task Group released the first component of its extensive action plan, in the form of the Defining Zero Emission Buildings – Review and Recommendations Report. With support from Sustainability Victoria, the Task Group commissioned the Institute of Sustainable Futures at UTS to conduct research into the local and international landscape around zero emission and low carbon buildings. The report proposes a comprehensive set of definitions, in support of the development of a common language for use across the built environment sector.

    “Acknowledging the lack of clarity in this area, ASBEC’s Zero Emissions Residential Task Group has been working closely with ISF to produce a strong set of recommendations relating to a common language for low-emissions housing,” said Mark Allan, Task Group Chair, representing the Green Building Council of Australia.

    Click HERE to download the Defining Zero Emission Buildings – Review and Recommendations report.

    Click HERE to download the associated Media Release.

  • March 2011

    ASBEC Cities Call to Action

    Australia needs a federal Minister and Department for Cities & Urban Development to ensure the nation meets its urban challenges.

    “We have developed this call to action to highlight the urgent need for bold leadership and a streamlined, coordinated approach to urban management policy,” says ASBEC President, Tom Roper.

    “We are facing a future of transport gridlock, rising greenhouse gas emissions and eroded quality of life unless we take decisive action. An integrated and collaborative approach is mandatory if we are to foster a culture of innovation and excellence, and ensure our cities are liveable, affordable and sustainable,” Mr Roper says.

    ASBEC’s list of urgent actions includes:

    •  A Federal Minister for Cities & Urban Development to drive the reforms needed to better connect urban built environment policies and programs across all levels of government.
    •  A Cities & Urban Development Cabinet Committee of federal ministers whose portfolios involve decisions or activities pertaining to urban centres.
    •  A COAG Cities & Urban Development Ministerial Council involving representation by state and territory treasurers and planning ministers, and local government.
    •  A Cities & Urban Development NGO Roundtable to ensure business and community groups have a direct voice to government on issues involving our cities.
    •  A Department of Cities & Urban Development tasked with developing and co-ordinating policy which involves urban outcomes.

    According to Romilly Madew, Chief Executive of the Green Building Council Australia and chair of the Cities task group, the ASBEC call to action includes a matrix which plots 45 Australian Government programs, strategies and initiatives which impact the built environment.

    “While the Australian Government’s commitment to national urban policy is welcome, we are particularly concerned by the lack of co-ordination between the three levels of government in Australia, resulting in inconsistently-managed programs and policies across eight state and territory governments, and more than 500 local governments,” Ms Madew says.

    “Business and the community are looking to the Federal Government to join-up their forthcoming policies on population, cities, regional Australia and sustainability,” says Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia, Peter Verwer.

    “Cities – of all shapes and sizes – are the centre of action! A linked up, coordinated approach is needed to meet the challenges of managing growth, improving quality and liveability and transitioning to a lowcarbon economy while maintaining wealth creation,” says David Parken, Chief Executive Officer of Australian Institute of Architects.

    Read the media release here.

    Read the Call to Action here.

  • June 2010

    The Second Plank Update Report 2010

    This report updates the findings from ASBEC’s The Second Plank Report: Building a Low Carbon Economy with Energy Efficient Buildings.

    The update report provides an economic analysis of the potential role the building sector can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) through additional energy efficiency measures. It takes into account the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET), policy measures and programs, and forecasts energy efficiency savings under both a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) and a non-CPRS scenario.

    Download the Second Plank Update 2010 Report here.

  • February 2010

    Cities for the Future: Transport Baseline Report

    The ASBEC Cities for the Future Task Group commissioned the Cities for the Future Report that considered the relationship between GHG emissions, land use and transport. The report is stage one of a long-term project for the Task Group and it was launched at the Green Cities 2010 conference in Melbourne.

    To be re-directed to the Cities for the Future Report, click here.

  • September 2008

    The Second Plank – Building a Low Carbon Economy with Energy Efficient Buildings

    The ASBEC Climate Change Task Group (CCTG) commissioned economic analysis by the Centre for International Economics (CIE) to assist in stimulating discussion about the complementary role that energy efficiency can play in supporting the Australian Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

    The report produced, ‘The Second Plank – Building a Low Carbon Economy with Energy Efficient Buildings’ responds to the fact that residential and commercial buildings (the building sector) are responsible for almost a quarter (23%) of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. It estimates that the Government’s proposed CPRS will result in the building sector saving eight mega tonnes per annum of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)– far short of the building sector’s full GHG abatement potential.

    Download full report The second plank – building a low carbon economy with energy efficient buildings pdf file 1.5MB

    Download Summary ASBEC @ work 2nd plank report

  • September 2007

    Capitalising on the building sector’s potential to lessen the costs of a broad based GHG emissions cut – 2007

    This study commissioned by the ASBEC Climate Change Task Group extended the Australian Business Roundtable on Climate Change (BRCC) analysis to include a more detailed analysis of the significant energy efficiency potential of the building sector.

    Key Research Findings:

    • The building sector is responsible for 23 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and energy use in buildings is rapidly growing.
    • Electricity demand in residential and commercial buildings can be halved by 2030, and reduced by more than 70 per cent by 2050 through energy efficiency.
    • Energy efficiency alone could deliver savings of 30-35 per cent across the whole building sector including the growth in the overall number of buildings out to 2050.
    • Energy savings in the building sector (which accounts for 60 per cent of GDP and 23 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions) could reduce the costs of greenhouse gas abatement across the whole economy by $30 per tonne, or 14 per cent, by 2050.
    • By 2050, GDP could be improved by around $38 billion per year if building sector energy efficiency is adopted, compared to previous economy-wide estimates of the 60 % deep cuts scenario.

    Australia’s ability to achieve at least 60 per cent deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 will be significantly enhanced by transforming buildings to deliver energy savings.

    Download Report – Building Sector Potential – Sept13 pdf | 353 kB