Pathway to 2020 for Increased Stringency in New Building Energy Efficiency Standards

Department of the Environment and Energy

This purpose of this study is to update the findings of the building benefit/cost analysis, for commercial buildings, undertaken for the report Pathway to 2020 for Increased Stringency in New Building Energy Efficiency Standards:  Benefit Cost Analysis (2012). The 2012 study analysed the range of cost-effective savings in the energy consumption of new buildings that could be achieved in Australia by 2015 and 2020, relative to buildings compliant with the current, 2010 version of the Building Code of Australia (BCA2010), based on a number of defined scenarios. It was commissioned by the former Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency as a contribution to the National Building Energy Framework measure described in the former National Strategy on Energy Efficiency.

In December 2015 the COAG Energy Council agreed to the National Energy Productivity Plan which includes a measure to advance the building energy performance requirements in the National Construction Code (measure 31). In this context the former Department of Industry, Innovation and Science commissioned an update on the benefit cost analysis contained in the 2012 report, for commercial buildings only, to help inform potential policy settings for future.

This updated analysis largely repeats the 2012 study methodology, albeit with contemporary price and building stock observations and revised policy scenarios, as described below. The purpose of this study  to help inform potential policy settings for building energy performance requirements in 2019 for Class 3 and 5 – 9 buildings in the National Construction Code. The original study and this updated analysis should be read in conjunction with each other. Due to the change in policy scenarios, the results of the 2012 study and 2016 Update are not strictly comparable. That said, some scenarios in the two reports overlap and, as discussed below, the findings of the two reports are consistent with each other.

The performance levels identified here as being cost effective should be regarded as indicative only, as they are based on a point-in-time analysis of technical building performance improvement potentials and associated economic costs and benefits, for a limited number of building types, climate zones and policy scenarios. The scope of this project did not allow for revised cost estimation or new building simulation modelling. This would tend make the results conservative, as new materials, technologies, design concepts and cost reductions that have become available since 2012 would be likely to increase the scope of cost effective savings.