Building a Low Carbon Future

OpEd –  Shannon Battisson LFRAIA (Immediate Past National President,  Australian Institute of Architects)

Australia’s built environment is responsible for almost a quarter of the country’s carbon emissions. As such, the Australian Institute of Architects is calling for urgent reforms to address emissions from the sector and to bring about a net zero future.

This will involve designing and retrofitting buildings to embrace electrification and cut gas as we reduce embodied carbon emissions through a carbon life cycle assessment.

The Institute has called for a new national policy to replace the Trajectory for Low Carbon Buildings and increase ambition for the 2025 National Construction Code. This policy should commit to achieving net zero operational emissions for all new buildings and major renovations by 2030, and for all existing buildings by 2040.

Additionally, there should be a nationally consistent methodology for mandatory embodied emissions measurement and reporting in state and territory legislation by 2025.

Decarbonising our energy systems will reduce emissions and improve air quality. The Institute has proposed the elimination of the use of natural gas in all new buildings from 2025, and retrofitting all existing buildings to only use clean energy by 2040.

While much attention is given to emissions from emissions-heavy industries and transport, the built environment must not be neglected. It is an integral part of communities, shaping the places where people live, work, and meet. By reforming the sector, we can not only combat catastrophic climate change but also improve the lives of those who inhabit our buildings.

Shannon Battisson LFRAIA
Immediate Past National President
Australian Institute of Architects

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