Widespread carbon neutral housing throughout Australia is a realistic goal within the next 10 years, but will require a timely policy commitment from government, Chris Riedy, associate professor at the Institute for Sustainable Futures told The Green Building Show this week.In an interview with The Green Building Show’s Carlos Martinez, Riedy explains affordability, government policy and the skill set of the building industry, are the three major bottlenecks preventing carbon neutral housing from moving out of the display stage and being embraced as an Australian norm.
“Affordability is probably the easiest to address, with the price of solar panels coming down,” says Riedy. “But with government policy, we don’t have certainty for investors in energy efficient and carbon neutral buildings.”
While the government regularly reviews Australia’s building codes, the outcomes are uncertain, which deters significant investment in this space. Riedy told The Green Building Show that a long-term policy pathway needs to be set out for carbon neutral housing to be seen as an attractive investment option.
“The outcomes of the [building code] reviews are a big battle between the different stakeholders involved,” he says. “So there’s no certainty for investors on whether the [carbon] policy is going to improve or not.”
Riedy also says that up-skilling within the building industry also represents a significant obstacle in the move to carbon neutral housing, as there is little incentive for builders to adopt the new skill-set necessary for carbon neutral housing.
“Not all builders have the ability to deliver this type of home. Many builders are used to doing things a particular way,” he says. “Builders need to be able to work with new types of lighting, and insulation…these types of skills aren’t wide spread in the industry yet.”