Our built environment plays a major role in determining how we use energy and move around the city, as well as how liveable our city is in a changing climate. The energy performance of our buildings, and the type of energy they use, will affect both our comfort and our ability to reduce emissions over coming decades.
From 2020, the use of gas is expected to make up 21% of the ACT's greenhouse gas emissions. Transitioning to 100% renewable electricity presents an opportunity to transition away from gas by electrifying our heating and cooling systems.
How we plan new suburbs, develop the city centre and town centres, and design new infrastructure will also have long term implications for sustainable transport choices and achieving a net zero emissions city which is resilient to climate change impacts. Government will work towards a compact, liveable and sustainable built environment which supports achievement of our net zero emissions goal. This work is closely aligned with the ACT Planning Strategy 2018.
Government will improve the efficiency and climate-resilience of buildings to support the transition to net zero emissions and build resilience to climate change impacts.
Key actions for buildings
- Design, and commit to a timeframe for implementing, higher minimum energy performance and climate resilience standards for new buildings that will deliver efficient, zero emissions buildings.
- Implement Canberra's Living Infrastructure Plan: Cooling the City to achieve 30% urban canopy cover and 30% surface permeability.
- Facilitate demonstration projects showcasing zero (or negative) emissions climate-wise homes.
- Develop a new residential energy assessment tool that adequately assesses the year-round thermal performance of buildings in the Canberra climate.
- Trial incentives and other measures to encourage all-electric, high efficiency apartment and commercial buildings.
- Expand the Energy Efficiency Improvement Scheme to increase support for low income priority households and further encourage a shift from gas to high efficiency electric appliances.
- Encourage the use of smart financing by medium and large businesses and organisations to support energy efficiency improvements, space heating upgrades and zero emissions vehicle fleets.
- Amend planning regulations to remove the mandating of reticulated gas in new suburbs.
- Develop a plan for achieving zero emissions from gas use by 2045, including setting timelines with appropriate transition periods for phasing out new and existing gas connections.
- Introduce mandatory disclosure of energy performance for all rental properties.
- By 2021 introduce legislation for staged minimum energy performance requirements for rental properties to come into force in 2022–23.
- Expand the Actsmart Home Energy Program to provide free, tailored in-home energy assessments for renters.
Public housing and low income households
- Continue to upgrade to efficient electric appliances in existing public housing properties where technically feasible and assess the costs and benefits of shifting to all-electric public housing.
- Ensure all newly constructed public housing properties are all-electric (fitted with efficient electric appliances) from 2019.
- Continue to deliver the solar for low income program and investigate options for providing solar to public housing.
- Trial facilitating access to interest free loans or other innovative finance for gas to electric upgrades and deep retrofits of low income homes.