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Race for 2030 report

Race for 2030 report

Race for 2030 is an Australian research centre established in 2020 with $68.5M of Commonwealth funding and additional contributions from other partners. The centre aims to invest $350M of resources over ten years to catalyse lower energy costs and a substantial reduction in carbon emissions over a range of sectors, including Australian homes.

We picked up on an interesting report completed in May 2022 titled “Enhancing home thermal efficiency” by RMIT, which summarises a state-of-play in the current Australian housing market and identifies barriers and opportunities. 

Some key takeaways in the report:

  • In Australia, buildings are 19% of total energy use and 18% of carbon emissions (2023).
  • Residential buildings are 8.4% of energy use, 24% of overall electricity use, and 12% of carbon emissions. Residential buildings are also 70% of total building floor area in Australia.
  • Climate regions like Australia have increased mortality rates due to unnecessarily low indoor temperatures.
  • A 1.5°C rise in global temperature would increase hospitalisation from heat-related illnesses, and high ambient temperatures may render poorly designed homes uninhabitable if there is a power outage during a heatwave.
  • Globally, 60,000 passive houses illustrate how careful design and insulation can substantially reduce heating requirements in homes.
  • Scenario Modelling in Appendix 7 shows that in Victoria, overheating in Class 1 dwellings increases from 491 hours in 2021 to 837 hours in the projected 2050 climate. For Class 2 dwellings this goes from 318 hours to  558 hours. Note, this is assessed against the NatHERS rating criteria (28°C for overheating), while the Passivhaus criteria is 25°C.

Some of the barriers to improving thermal performance include:

  • Lack of awareness of the financial benefits of energy efficiency upgrades;
  • High upfront costs and competing priorities;
  • Lack of workforce upskilling;
  • Lack of as-built verification.

This report summarises existing research well and is worth a read.