RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT PROFESSIONALS ATTITUDES TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AUSTRALIA
Free (open access)
Volume 6 (2011), Issue 4
474 - 486
S. G. BOND
Buildings account for around 30% of the developed countries greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Improving energy efficiency of buildings is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways of reducing GHG emissions. This paper outlines the results of research carried out in Australia in 2009. The broad aims of the research are to identify policy directions to aid in the uptake of sustainability practices that will help improve building performance and reduce GHG emissions. Part of the research entailed surveying building practitioners involved in residential property development to fi nd out their experiences with designing and constructing homes and what they perceive to be the drivers and barriers to the uptake of sustainable building practices. Respondents have seen an increase in demand for energy-efficient ‘green’ homes, due to an increase in awareness of climate change and also the reduced utility costs associated with these homes. The most common, client-preferred, and successful features incorporated into the design and retrofi tting of homes were passive solar design, having gas connected, solar water heating and rainwater tanks. The high sunshine hours in Australia together with the availability of Government rebates and subsidies make these features fi nancially viable. The average cost premium to build a ‘green’ home was identifi ed as 14.2% compared to the cost of building a conventional home without energy-efficient features. The main barriers that prevent the incorporation of sustainable features into residential developments were identifi ed as cost and lack of developer awareness. Despite this, two-thirds of the respondents felt that consumers would be willing to pay up to a 10% premium for an environmentally friendly home. Unfortunately, this falls below the 14.2% premium identified.
energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, residential, sustainability