Key Issues in Buildings Energy Efficiency Programs
The EU and Australia have instituted significant new public policies to promote energy efficiency in the “built environment.” Many of these public policies were motivated by the same concerns that led to the pioneering voluntary initiatives of Green Building Councils (especially the LEED design certification program) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR system for buildings. However, policy initiatives on both continents are relatively new, have been recently modified, and are yet to be finalized. Further, in both Europe and Australia, there is wide variety in the transposition of the general approach at the national-government level (in the EU) or in state-level initiatives (in Australia). There has been little objective, peer-reviewed research to date on the effects of various approaches on energy efficiency. Despite the diversity of detail, energy efficiency policy initiatives in Europe and Australia have been assembled from common building blocks: 1- Building codes; 2- Energy design or use certificates; 3- Special minimum rating requirements or display obligations for public buildings. 4- Benchmarks or grading systems; 5- Qualified inspectors, including quality-assurance programs and standardized energy modeling software; 6- Incentives (including certificate trading systems).