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Sustainable housing: a national priority

The FMA was given the opportunity to place an industry body representative on the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council's (ASBEC's) Sustainable Housing Task Group. Michael Barlow is being sponsored by National Projects & Maintenance to take on this representative role. Here, he provides an overview of his work on the Task Group to date.

My name is Mick Barlow and I have been given the responsibility to represent the FMA and its members on this important journey. This is a serious subject and important to us all, as an industry and as a nation.

It is with a little surprise and a lot of sadness that I attach this link: 2018 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard

The report finds that we are falling behind our international competitors and missing a huge opportunity to drive down energy bills while cutting carbon emissions.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranks Australia 18th among the world’s 25 largest energy users – the worst in the developed world and a fall from our 16th-place position in 2016. While Australia’s efforts in the buildings sector were ranked in the top half (10th) of countries surveyed, in transport and industry we ranked 20th and 22nd respectively – results that are, unfortunately, not surprising. 

It is time to take action, and I am happy to say that we are. ASBEC has several Task Groups working to deliver agreed outcomes through approved strategies.

The remit of the Sustainable Housing Task Group is as follows:

Strategy: Engage government, industry and the property market in growing the market for better quality, environmentally sustainable, and livable residential development and housing.

Output: Roadmap for sustainable housing to 2050:

  • business case for industry investment

  • policies and incentives required to achieve market transformation

We have a 2018 Policy Roadmap: Safe and Sustainable Homes for All

I have read through a lot of information over the last few weeks, and I could fill the entire FMA magazine, Facility Perspectives, with what I have found. But I thought it best to provide a monthly update to bring all FMA members and readers along on the journey, and hopefully make them as passionate and engaged as I am.

My actions for the next month are to meet with industry leaders in sustainability to hear their views on how to to make housing sustainable (and affordable). I have also been invited to a workshop at the University of Technology Sydney in August to:

  • identify attractive pathways that would support industry transition in the Roadmap; and
  • define scenarios for economic modelling research.

My next submission for the FMA magazine will report my meetings and the workshop. Thank you for your support.


About ASBEC
The Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) is the peak body of key organisations committed to a sustainable built environment in Australia. Its membership consists of industry and professional associations, non-government organisations and government observers who are involved in the planning, design, delivery and operation of our built environment, and are concerned with the social and environmental impacts of this sector. They provide a forum for diverse groups involved in the built environment to gather, find common ground and intelligently discuss contentious issues as well as advocate their own sustainability products, policies and initiatives. It is a non-profit volunteer organisation. Members commit their time, resources and energy to developing practical opportunities for a more sustainable built environment.