Australians want sustainable homes.
Change has been slow when it comes to sustainable homes, but consumers want it and the benefits are there for the construction industry and the environment. The majority of Australian homebuyers would prefer to purchase an energy-efficient home, but are not aware of the wide range of sustainable products now available. That is the key finding of a new report into the residential market by the CRC (Cooperative Research Centre) for Low Carbon Living and the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC).
Suzanne Toumbourou, ASBEC executive director, says that while some builders are already incorporating the latest energy-efficient designs and technology into new homes, the industry as a whole has been slow to change. “These [innovative] builders lack scale and face significant barriers,” she says. “Consumers are unclear of their choices, while home builders are locked into business models and supply chains that limit innovation. And financiers don’t value sustainable homes.”
To overcome these barriers, the report suggests that the building industry adopt a number of new measures, such as an education program for consumers, greater differentiation of sustainable housing in the market and better training for the construction sector. “Our research shows that, with the right incentives and support, the transition to sustainable homes can create a win-win outcome for builders, consumers, the economy and the environment,” says Toumbourou.
Forward-thinking builders, such as Oracle Platinum Homes, are already incorporating energy-efficient building materials into their new residential designs. For example, Oracle’s new display home in the Brisbane suburb of New Beith features a Bristile Solar system, which incorporates high-efficiency solar PV roof tiles that resemble standard roof tiles but convert solar energy into electricity. They are also hail-resistant and available in two profile types and a variety of colours.