Australian Modern Building Alliance welcomes minimum 7-star energy rating, but says more needs to be done to create low energy houses

Media Release | 1 September 2022

The Australian Modern Building Alliance (AMBA) applauds changes to the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 to introduce a 7-star NatHERS energy rating and says it’s an important step in moving Australia towards its net zero emissions target.

“We know houses consume vast volumes of energy, with buildings in Australia accounting for 18 per cent1 of our total direct greenhouse gas emissions,” said AMBA Chair, Dr Craig Lovel.

“To further improve the energy efficiency of residential houses, we now need to focus on eliminating unintended gaps in the construction of buildings that allow air to leak in or out. ‘Airtight construction’ is the most important pillar of a low energy home for both energy and cost saving.

“In residential houses, air leakage can cause heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer, which can have a big impact on energy bills. We also know our health and wellbeing can be negatively affected by living in conditions that are not at reasonable temperatures.

“That’s why we believe achieving ‘air tightness’ should be the number one goal in building an energy efficient home.”

According to AMBA, modern insulation materials, such as polyurethane, can help prevent air leakage.

“Polyurethane products are lightweight, weather-resistant and durable. They seal the building envelope to stop draughts and air infiltration, and with proper installation, control condensation issues, such as mould.”

“However, to reach its energy saving potential, it is important that the polyurethane insulation is well designed and installed correctly to be safe and effective,” Dr Lovel said.

As a member of the Affiliated Insulation Industry Coalition (AIIC), AMBA is working with the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) to rollout an industry-led roadmap for quality control and safety in insulation installation.

“The roadmap contains measures around training and certification, installation requirements and standards for both new and existing homes. It is about ensuring a safe and robust process for getting insulation done right,” Dr Lovel said.

“We encourage the design and building sector to find out more about the benefits of polyurethane insulation in the design and construction of new residential houses, which can help to increase energy efficiency and create healthier homes.”

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