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Building and construction industry going green

Posted October 13, 2011, by Helen Isbister

The building and construction industry is undergoing a green makeover which is simultaneously creating jobs and fighting climate change. Going green will not only save our planet but could also help save us from the current economic doom and gloom.

Giving a green overhaul to the 81 per cent of offices across Australia which are more than 10 years old would create 10 000 jobs in the construction industry, according to a new report by David Langdon.

That would translate into almost 27 000 new jobs across the broader economy, every one of which will translate into some serious health benefits for our planet.
‘The report finds that for every 'green collar job' created as a result of retrofitting existing office stock, there is a potential annual saving of approximately 300 tonnes of greenhouse gas,’ says Romilly Madew, the Chief Executive of the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

‘The report finds that for every 'green collar job' created as a result of retrofitting existing office stock, there is a potential annual saving of approximately 300 tonnes of greenhouse gas,’ says Romilly Madew, the Chief Executive of the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

‘What's more, this research clearly demonstrates that greening our existing office buildings will provide more value than the immediate impact on the environment. We will create jobs growth without needing to create additional office stock –  future-proofing our existing buildings, ensuring they perform closer to new standards and addressing tenant expectations for green buildings.’

The government is also jumping onboard the green revolution – with the recent Council of Australian Governments (COAG) announcement that a minimum six star energy efficiency rating will be required for residential homes and commercial properties built after May 2011.

The move from the current requirement of four or five star energy efficiency will help move the building industry towards more energy-efficient buildings and reduced carbon emissions.

‘Australia's commercial and residential buildings are responsible for 23 per cent of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions. This is why energy efficiency measures in new and existing buildings are vital if we are to reduce Australia's carbon footprint,’ Ms Madew says.

The new laws will mean building and construction workers will need to get out their green toolkit, so book yourself into one of the Green Star Masterclasses held across the country by the GBCA.

Helen Isbister

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