Zero-energy buildings proven to bring billion dollar benefits to SA

Lochiel Park is arguably Australia’s most environmentally sustainable residential estate. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Lochiel Park is arguably Australia’s most environmentally sustainable residential estate.

Research Fellow from UniSA’s Research Node for Low Carbon Living, Dr Stephen Berry and his colleagues have set themselves a challenge to change policy and the way we build in Australia.

Research Fellow from UniSA’s Research Node for Low Carbon Living Dr Stephen Berry during a presentation at Lochiel Park.Research Fellow from UniSA’s Research Node for Low Carbon Living Dr Stephen Berry during a presentation at Lochiel Park.

Dr Berry asks “if we have the ability to construct, live and work in green, zero-energy environments then why shouldn’t we?”

“With our living laboratory at the Lochiel Park Green Village in Adelaide, our research has proven that marrying low carbon housing design and innovative technology leads to more energy efficient, thermally comfortable and environmentally friendly homes,” Dr Berry says.

Organisations or companies interested in working with this research node are invited to attend the ‘Industry Friends of Low Carbon Living’ event on Tuesday 17 May at City West campus (see below for more details).

With the label ‘environmentally sustainable’ there is often a perception that building is going to be more expensive but Dr Berry and his team have found this is not the case.

“Adopting a zero carbon housing standard locally was demonstrated to be overwhelmingly positive,” Dr Berry says.

“Potentially, the South Australian community would receive benefits in the order of $1.31 billion if a carbon zero policy was implemented state-wide for 10 years.

“That means for every $1 invested in low carbon homes, the community would receive $2.42 in economic gain.

“Home owners could also expect net benefits of around $25,000 across the life of their home through greater energy efficiency and on-site generation, along with other benefits such as better health and well-being.

“These results could be applicable nationally and show that it is time for building standards to be raised from the current six star minimum rating to one that would achieve a much deeper cut in residential carbon emissions.”

The Node for Low Carbon Living officially supports the strategy adopted by Adelaide City Council to be a carbon neutral city by 2020.

“South Australia and the nation took the first baby steps to embrace sustainable low carbon building when the initial building energy standard was set in 2003 at four stars which progressed to six stars in 2010, but technologies evolve and we must push to higher standards,” Dr Berry says.

“Our research confirms zero carbon housing is both achievable and financially rewarding for householders and the wider community.

“It’s time for the Australian community to demand more sustainable housing.”

Under the leadership of Professor Wasim Saman, the Research Node for Low Carbon Living officially supports the policy adopted by the State Government and the Adelaide City Council to be a carbon neutral city by 2020.

UniSA’s world leading research centred at its living laboratories is providing the foundation evidence on which to create the first carbon neutral city.

More of UniSA’s world leading research from Lochiel Park is available here.

Organisations or companies interested in working with the Research Node for Low Carbon Living are invited to attend the “Industry Friends of Low Carbon Living” event on Tuesday 17 May from 4 – 6pm at the Bradley Forum (Level 5, Hawke Building, City West campus). RSVP to Hannah.Thwaites@unisa.edu.au. Further information is also available from Stephen.Berry@unisa.edu.au.

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