Below are copies of the submissions the uPVC Window Alliance has made recently in respect of advocating for improving the energy efficiency of Australian homes and buildings.
The Alliance seeks to improve the energy performance of the built environment by advocating for more stringent performance requirements in the National Construction Code (NCC) and other relevant standards and codes. Australia’s NCC is currently considerably less stringent when it comes to energy productivity of new buildings compared to many overseas jurisdictions. Given the built environment accounts for 23% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, implementing an effective energy code in the sector is essential to realising Australia’s long term energy and greenhouse gas targets.
Australia’s new homes have been using minimum standards set in 2010, that will not change until 2022 at the earliest, locking in poor energy productivity for years to come. It is our view that building regulations should have reasonable provisions to limit heat gains and losses through the fabric of new buildings and encourage works to existing buildings.
We would like to see a maximum U-value of 4.0W/m2K for windows in residential buildings, transitioning to lower values over an appropriate period, particularly for cool climates. In 2018, three quarters of new homes in Australia used windows with U-values >4.0W/m2K, i.e poorly insulating (source: https://ahd.csiro.au/dashboards/construction/windows/).
In other words, the vast majority of windows currently being installed essentially offer little thermal benefit. These windows will be transferring heat through the building fabric for many years to come, resulting in a heating and cooling burden for these homes and a societal burden in terms of energy grid peak-loading.