Simply upgrading the energy and water efficiency of Victoria’s building stock could stimulate $10 billion of investment and create up to 13,000 jobs, a new report from Environment Victoria has found.
The report, Six Steps to Efficiency Leadership, shows how improving building efficiency would also reduce greenhouse emissions and help shield Victorian households from rising energy costs – delivering a ‘win-win-win’ outcome for Victoria’s people, economy and environment.
The call for Victoria to take the lead on efficiency comes as the Governor of California, Jerry Brown, led an initiative this week at the Paris climate talks, encouraging leaders of cities, states and provinces from around the world to commit to higher emissions reduction targets than national leaders are expected to agree to.
“Given that nearly 70 percent of Victoria’s greenhouse emissions come from the electricity and gas we use in our homes, businesses and industry, cutting waste is also one of the cheapest and fastest ways to tackle climate change,” said Environment Victoria CEO Mark Wakeham.
“Victorian homes built before 2005 average less than 2 Stars in terms of energy performance, making them little more than glorified tents. There’s huge room for improvement. Our research has found an average Victorian household could save around $1000 a year from investing in efficiency.”
Drawing on recent work by Environment Victoria and its One Million Homes Alliance partners, the report demonstrates how upgrading Victoria’s housing stock to meet an average 5 Star and 100 litre/person/day standard by 2025 would stimulate nearly $10 billion of investment, supporting up to 13,000 jobs (gross) over 10 years and 8500 ongoing jobs.
The report also highlights leading efficiency programs from around the world, including Germany, California and Vancouver, Canada, to demonstrate what leadership looks like in 2015.
“Under the previous Labor government, Victoria was the first state to introduce a mandatory energy efficiency target and a 5 Star standard for homes. But four years of inaction and backward steps under the Coalition have left Victoria lagging behind the rest of the world,” said Mr Wakeham.
“The current Labor government has promised to release an efficiency and productivity strategy. It’s critical this strategy outlines a bold and ambitious agenda for Victoria to reclaim its leadership status.
“California is demonstrating the sort of leadership Victoria needs, showing that sub-national governments don’t need to wait for their national counterparts to lead the way.
“In terms of addressing Victoria’s efficiency challenges, leadership depends on addressing the real and significant barriers preventing many Victorians from investing in improvements to their homes and businesses – lack of incentive, unaffordable upfront costs and lack of relevant information.
“With climate change bringing hotter summers and more extreme heatwaves, the task of upgrading Victoria’s leaky, inefficient, substandard housing is more urgent than ever.
“We need targeted investment in the homes of Victoria’s most vulnerable citizens, including significant investment in public housing, to protect people against rising bills and the health impacts of extreme weather events like heatwaves.
“And we deserve better building standards, including basic minimum rental standards, to ensure renters are not missing out on the benefits of more comfortable and affordable homes.”
Mark Wakeham, CEO, Environment Victoria – 0439 700 501