Building Towards a Greener Future: The State of Sustainable Housing in Australia

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Today, climate change is at the forefront of our global challenges, impacting every aspect of life, from our health to our economy. Our homes, too, are part of this intricate puzzle. In fact, residential buildings in Australia account for nearly a quarter of overall energy use and contribute to more than 10% of total carbon emissions, according to the Australian Government. This data has sparked a growing interest among Australians in finding environmentally friendly solutions for their housing needs.

Energy efficiency lies at the heart of sustainable living. But how do we measure it? One of the key metrics we use is the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) rating. A home that scores 7 stars or higher on this rating is considered ‘green’—in other words, it’s energy efficient.

However, the current state of sustainable housing in Australia suggests we have a long way to go. Astonishingly, over 83% of Australian homes do not meet the 7 star NatHERS rating. This highlights a significant opportunity for improvement in our journey towards sustainability.

Moreover, looking at new constructions, the 2023 data from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) indicates that only 21% of new homes built so far this year have achieved the goal of a 7-star rating or higher. Although this is a small fraction, it signals a slow but steady shift towards more sustainable building practices.

This is a call to action for all of us: homeowners, builders, architects, and policymakers alike. We need to accelerate the pace of green housing adoption to make meaningful progress in mitigating climate change. Whether it’s by building new energy-efficient homes or retrofitting existing ones with green technology, every step we take in this direction is a win for our planet.

Remember, building and owning a green home isn’t just about reducing carbon emissions. It also translates to long-term cost savings, as energy-efficient homes have lower utility costs. Furthermore, with financial incentives like green home loans increasingly being offered by banks, the financial argument for sustainable homes is growing stronger.

What is a green home loan?

A green home loan is a type of loan that encourages borrowers to buy or build their future homes in an environmentally friendly way. These loans usually offer discounted interest rates for homes that pass a form of eco-friendly certification.

To qualify for this green home loan, your future home should typically have at least one of these qualifications**:

  • A 7 stars or higher rating under NatHERS.
  • A Residential Efficiency Scorecard with a rating of 7 stars or more (excludes the impact of installed/installing rooftop solar).
  • Passive House Certification.
  • Green Star, Design & As Built score of 8 points or more on the credit ‘15 Greenhouse Gas Emissions.’

If you’re considering investing in an eco-friendly and energy efficient home, getting a green home loan might be a good choice. Get in touch today and we can let you know what options are available.

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