Australia is on a mission to achieve net-zero goals, and improving the thermal performance of homes has been identified as an urgent priority. The benefits are multifold – from easing cost of living pressures to enhancing wellbeing and significantly reducing carbon emissions.
Many homes in Australia were built before the implementation of building energy standards, resulting in millions of houses wasting too much energy. Residential buildings alone account for around 24% of overall electricity use and more than 10% of total carbon emissions in the country. The poor thermal performance of houses in Australia is a pressing issue that needs immediate attention.
Thermal efficiency pertains to how well a building can retain or repel heat, directly impacting its energy consumption. Improving thermal efficiency in homes can result in a significant reduction in energy usage. This not only translates to reduced cost of living pressures but also contributes to improved wellbeing by creating a more comfortable living environment. Furthermore, enhancing thermal efficiency is vital in our fight against climate change, reducing our carbon footprint and bringing us closer to our net-zero goals.
The Australian Government has taken initiatives to improve the thermal performance of the building shell through the National Construction Code (NCC). Additionally, it’s working with state and territory governments to enhance home energy efficiency, aiming to reduce energy bills and make homes more comfortable.
Meanwhile, homeowners can also take steps to improve their homes’ thermal efficiency. Using thermal mass appropriately, for instance, can improve a home’s thermal performance. This involves using materials that can store heat during the day and release it at night, helping to regulate indoor temperatures.
Improving the thermal performance of Australian homes is a challenge we all must undertake. It’s not just about achieving our environmental goals; it’s about improving our quality of life. With concerted efforts from the government, industry, and homeowners, we can look forward to a future where every Australian home is thermally efficient, comfortable, and sustainable.