Facilitating a transition to zero emission new housing in Australia: costs, benefits and direction for policy

Moore, T 2012, Facilitating a transition to zero emission new housing in Australia: costs, benefits and direction for policy, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Facilitating a transition to zero emission new housing in Australia: costs, benefits and direction for policy
Author(s) Moore, T
Year 2012
Abstract Mitigating the impacts of climate change is perhaps the greatest challenge facing mankind. It has been calculated that reductions of greenhouse gas emissions of up to 90% of 1990 levels are required by 2050 to limit the impacts from anthropogenic climate change. Accordingly, projected responses to this challenge would require all sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The residential sector in Australia, and globally, has been identified as being a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, it has been found to have favourable cost-benefit ratios to address these emissions. Many countries, including Australia, have now introduced minimum energy performance standards for new housing which aim to limit energy consumption and, in turn, greenhouse gas emissions. However, it is projected that current policies fall short of achieving significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

A facilitated regulatory transition to zero emission new housing (ZEH) by 2020 is being attempted in several advanced economies. Despite international efforts, the realisation of ZEH as a minimum building standard in Australia remains elusive. This thesis aims to address a lack of empirical evidence regarding the costs, benefits and practical policy implications of a ZEH transition in the Australian context. In order to do this a mixed methods approach has been applied.

Firstly, the costs, benefits and practical requirements for a facilitated regulatory transition to ZEH in Australia were evaluated. Secondly, existing new housing energy performance policies from Australia, the EU and USA were analysed to identify policy implementation gaps, key trends and current knowledge. A socio-technical transitions framework was utilised to analyse the progress to ZEH.

Results show that ZEH is economically and environmentally feasible for the dominant new housing form in the state of Victoria, Australia. However, there are currently significant gaps within the Australian policy context which must be addressed if a facilitated regulatory transition to ZEH is to occur. The research highlights that without a significant re-think of current approaches, Australian housing energy performance policies risk falling further behind standards of comparable advanced economies. This risks locking current and future occupants into unnecessary environmental impacts and high operational costs across the life-span of the house. In addition, findings indicate the applicability of a socio-technical transitions framework in analysis of ZEH transitions and policy development recommendations are presented.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Global, Urban and Social Studies
Keyword(s) Zero emission housing
socio-technical transitions
cost-benefit analysis
policy analysis
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Created: Tue, 11 Dec 2012, 16:15:40 EST by Brett Fenton
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