New homes and renovations costing more than $50,000 will have to meet a 7-star energy efficiency rating from October next year in NSW under upgraded rules that will force developers to play their part in driving down the state’s emissions.
Large commercial developments, as well as big state projects, will also have to submit a “net-zero statement” that shows their buildings are either all-electric or can fully convert to renewable energy by 2035 if they want a green light to proceed.
NSW Treasurer Matt Kean and Planning Minister Anthony Roberts will announce the measures on Monday as they unveil the NSW government’s latest sustainable housing state environmental planning policy (SEPP), which has been under scrutiny since the ambitious policy framework of former planning minister Rob Stokes was scrapped earlier this year.
New homes and renovations will have to reach a 7-star rating on the Building Sustainability Index, as opposed to the current minimum of 5.5, which could mean adding solar panels to household roofs, increasing insulation or converting gas hot water systems to a heat pump system. It is the third increase to the standard since it was introduced in 2004.
The government will also start tracking greenhouse gas emissions in residential building materials, by requiring that people calculate and report the carbon contained in the construction material they use. It will develop an online calculator service and its findings will be used to inform future policy.
Roberts, who returned to the planning role at the end of last year, said the measures would play a key role in helping NSW reach zero emissions by 2050.
“We need to ensure the places we live, work and stay in are more comfortable – all while we save people money on their power bills and contribute to our net-zero target,” he said.
NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said the new standards would drive “more energy-efficient homes from Bondi to Broken Hill and beyond, with better design, better insulation and more sunlight”.
He said people living in new high-rise apartments in suburban Sydney would save up to $150 each year, while power bills for new homeowners in western Sydney would be reduced by $720 each year. That saving could reach $970 in regional NSW.