Dr Trivess Moore, Senior Lecturer in RMIT’s School of Property, Construction and Project Management, says that Australia has millions of houses unfit to withstand predicted climate changes.
“The majority of existing and new housing in Australia is not suitable for performing in our current climate. This means we have a high reliance on mechanical heating and cooling to stay thermally comfortable resulting in high energy consumption and bills,” said Dr Moore.
“The majority of the housing stock performs between 1.5-3 stars on a scale of 0 (worst) to 10 (best). Regulations for housing performance were only introduced in the 1990s and 2000s meaning we have millions of housings which are not fit for purpose.
“Predicted climate changes over the coming decades will only exacerbate this issue for many Australian households. We are already seeing the negative impact on people’s health and wellbeing during extreme weather events. In some cases, households will find their housing unliveable for periods of time if we see climate change much further.
“Before buying an existing house, people should seek out information about the quality and performance of the house. Home energy assessments, such as the Scorecard, can provide households with the likely performance of the dwelling as well as some key opportunities for improving performance through cost-efficient retrofit.”
“New housing standards will increase in 2023 but while this will make housing more resilient to a changing climate, there is more that should be done to future-proof new housing moving forward. Evidence from our own research suggests new housing should be built to at least an 8-star performance level which would help improve performance now and into the future.”
Dr Trivess Moore is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Property, Construction and Project Management at RMIT University. His research focuses on the intersection between technical performance, social impact and policy in relation to how housing, households and the housing sector will transition to a low carbon future. He also conducts research exploring how issues of quality and performance financial and social impact on occupants in dwellings. Recent research has explored how to scale up retrofit in Australia and the social impacts of the flammable cladding crisis.
Images courtesy of rmit.edu.au