Polymer-based building materials sector calls for greater investment in energy efficient buildings

Media Release | For Immediate Release | 3 June 2020 

The Australian Modern Building Alliance (AMBA) has welcomed the call for support for the construction industry to stimulate Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 health crisis.

AMBA said economic stimulus for building and home renovation would grow manufacturing jobs and increase activity across the construction sector. It will also help Australia reduce its energy consumption and GHG emissions by encouraging the uptake of more sustainable construction materials in the built environment.

In Australia, buildings account for 19 per cent of total energy use and about 18 per cent of total direct GHG emissions*. If indirect emissions are included, the total GHG emissions from buildings would be closer to those of the global building and construction sector at almost 40 per cent.**

AMBA Chair Dr Craig Lovel said measures to make our buildings more sustainable and energy efficient should be linked to any stimulus for the construction sector.

“Australia has an ideal opportunity to encourage the uptake of technologies that increase the energy efficiency of our buildings and homes, while creating new jobs and new work for the construction sector,” Dr Lovel said.

“Constructing and renovating buildings with sustainability in mind can play a vital role in our low-carbon future.”

“We should be looking at ways to improve the thermal performance and energy efficiency of our buildings, so we significantly reduce our energy consumption and activate new markets in construction.

“Polymer-based construction materials can significantly improve the energy efficiency of our buildings – every kW saved through energy-efficient buildings is a kW we don’t need to produce in the first place. 

“Supporting the use of these technologies would also support local jobs and help emerging parts of the residential and commercial building industry, while improving Australia’s environmental performance and creating more comfortable and sustainable buildings for consumers.”

Polymer-based insulation materials such as polyurethane provide greater GHG emissions reduction and save more energy than traditional insulation materials. A home with appropriately installed polyurethane insulation can halve the energy usage of un-insulated brick house. Energy savings can be 25 per cent greater than traditional insulation materials.

AMBA has proposed the modernisation of the national rating scheme for energy efficiency and the Australian Building Code to drive the development of more sustainable housing construction in Australia.

“We recommend Australia adopts a certification system for energy efficient buildings to establish clear standards for energy efficiency in our built environment,” said Dr Lovel.

“A national standard would also help consumers understand exactly what they’re buying when they renovate or construct a new building.”

AMBA is an interest group of companies established to represent the safe and sustainable use of polymers in the Australian construction industry. The group is part of Chemistry Australia, Australia’s peak body for the chemistry sector.

For more information about the safe and sustainable use of polymers in energy-efficient construction, please visit: australianmodernbuildingalliance.org.au

[*] Australian Energy Statistics, Department of the Environment and Energy 2017.

[**] Energy Policies of IEA Countries – Australia 2018 Review, International Energy Agency, 2018.


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Chemistry Australia is the pre-eminent national body representing the $40 billion Australian chemistry industry, one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the country. The industry supports more than 212,000 full time jobs and contributes more than $38 billion to Australia’s GDP. Members of Chemistry Australia are positioned across the entire value chain including manufacturers, importers and distributors, logistics and supply chain partners, raw material suppliers, fabricators, compounders, recyclers, research, academia and service providers to the industry. These businesses range from small family-owned companies to leading national and multinational enterprises.