The way forward—moving toward net zero energy standards
Net zero energy building (NZEB) standards have been gaining prominence lately as the next performance target for buildings. However, despite the demonstrated benefits of such building performance across triple bottom-line concepts, Australia is yet to formulate a policy toward adopting a net zero energy building standard. Evidence from various scholars suggests that Australia cannot delay the implementation of deep improvements in energy efficiency in the built environment any longer, as issues of energy security, affordability and increasing greenhouse gas emissions have become critical. This chapter reviews recent advances in the high-performance building standards with emphasis on global developments of net zero energy standards and discusses how Australia is positioned in relation to this standard and the ways Australia might move forward to this standard.
The energy efficiency efforts currently pursued in Australia need to be scaled up to match global best practice standards. One of such standards is the NZEB which has been demonstrated to have both economic and environmental benefits if adopted. Given the lack of a holistic definition, determining best practices becomes difficult. Some OECD countries have led the way and already have a policy in place to support the adoption of the standard, and Australia have a large pool of resources to tap into by learning lessons from some of the policy initiatives of those other OECD nations. Higher level of code compliance in addition to cost reduction of high-end products is essential to move toward NZEB standards.