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South Australia aims high for energy efficiency

Industry groups have applauded the South Australian government announcement that it will invest $60 million to improve the energy efficiency of government buildings.

According to Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Minister for Energy and Mining, the commitment is the largest per capita stimulus investment of any Australian government in improving the energy efficiency of public buildings.

“Simple measures like better insulation, shading, new lighting and more efficient air conditioning can bring older public buildings that get too hot in summer and too cold in winter in line with modern energy-efficiency standards,” says van Holst Pellekaan.

“We want to build what matters – getting people working now, whilst saving taxpayers money, cutting our carbon emissions and reducing peak demand. This program could sustain around 310–430 green jobs for tradies, allowing us to upgrade lighting, insulation, air conditioning, and add sensors and energy management software.”

Earlier this year the International Monetary Fund and International Energy Agency called on governments around the world to invest in upgrading buildings to stimulate their economies and support the transition to clean energy. Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, called energy efficiency a “job-creation machine” and highlighted its critical role in reducing emissions.

The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC), the Property Council of Australia, Climate Council, Conservation Council of South Australia, Energy Efficiency Council (EEC), Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and, as a member of ASBEC, the Australian Institute of Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating (AIRAH), all welcomed the South Australian government announcement.

The industry groups have commended the Marshall government for showing leadership on the economy and the climate, and have called on other governments to follow South Australia’s example.

“It is very positive to see this kind of initiative,” says AIRAH CEO Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH. “It shows a growing awareness of the role that building systems can play, not only in reducing emissions, but also in improving the wellbeing of workers, and stimulating our economy at this crucial time.”

“This policy will create hundreds of jobs for tradies and engineers,” says EEC CEO Luke Menzel. “This is a win for the economy, a win for the environment and a win for South Australians.”

“The South Australian Government has delivered a decisive win for both the economy and the environment today,” says GBCA CEO Davina Rooney. “Energy efficiency is the cheapest form of emissions reduction, it increases the health and wellbeing of occupants and creates jobs. We commend Premier Marshall and his team for this initiative that demonstrates government leadership in their assets.”

ASBEC – which counts among its members a host of industry organisations – has also congratulated the South Australian government for the move.

“Governments own or lease roughly 30 per cent of Australia’s non-residential buildings, so this kind of policy is essential to reducing our country’s emissions,” says ASBEC Executive Director Suzanne Toumbourou.

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