New building energy efficiency standards

Policy Description

New building energy efficiency standards specify energy performance requirements for buildings.

These may be prescriptive – for example by specifying a maximum permissible lighting power density – or may be based on modelling of building performance to achieve a minimum energy performance target.

Where it has been used

Building energy efficiency standards are used widely, and have gradually moved from countries with very cold climates to tropical countries where cooling is predominantly required.


The best time to save energy in a building is when it is being designed, and new building standards aim to capture this opportunity.


Without thorough regulation and enforcement that buildings “as built” match the design intent, the opportunity for good lifetime building energy savings can be compromised. For energy efficiency building standards to be most effective a strong enforcement regime is required, which can add to the cost of the policy and also create an opportunity for corruption.


Building energy efficiency standards can add to the cost of a building, and essentially move operating expenditure over the lifetime of a building to an upfront capital expenditure, which may be opposed.

There may be opportunity to overcome this barrier by linking performance over and above the required standard to environmental upgrade agreements.


Australian National Construction Code – Energy efficiency provisions


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