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What Sustainable Construction Will Look Like in 2017

Jason Hook

Head of Sales and Marketing

Dec 20, 2016 6:28:00 AM

As the population growth in Australia’s cities shows no sign of slowing down, so too does the housing boom. This means there’s even more pressure on the construction industry to be sustainable to ensure a bright future for the residents of tomorrow.

Below we explore how sustainable construction will be undertaken in 2017 and what this means for your business.


Buildings of Change

The public is very aware of environmental threats and they are demonstrating this through an increasing preference for sustainable homes. The government is also pushing sustainable development with their YourHome guide to sustainable homes website, as well as not-for-profit organisations such as the Green Building Council of Australia.

It’s in everyone’s interest to build sustainably, not just because it’s better for the environment, but because these buildings are significantly cheaper to run. And many buildings can be made sustainable with relatively small changes and better planning. 

Take passive design as an example. Simply by facing a building in a different direction, over 40% can be saved in heating costs because heat is essentially “lock in” to a building. This clever design will be much more prevalent in buildings over the next year. 

Further, as extreme weather becomes more common, buildings have to be stronger and built with more care in order to be sustainable. This means that we can’t be building for the conditions now, we have to build with the climate of the future in mind.

So, materials and design must be able to stand the test of time and the sun in 50 or 100 years’ time. This is assisted by organisations such as the Living Future Institute Australia who promote training and support for sustainable design, ensuring the industry is working together with government to achieve important goals.


How Government and Policy Influences Construction

Government plays a vital role in the construction industry. This is because the focus of the government will shine through their policies regulating and funding the industry. Consider the Rudd government’s (albeit failed) insulation scheme or subsidies for solar panels. These decisions at a national level impact the choices made by clients at local level, meaning that the work you do on-site relates very closely to how it’s valued by the government of the day. 

Further, the government relies heavily on the construction industry, as research shows it provides 7.7% of the country’s GDP and employs over 1 million people.

Importantly, this growth presents an opportunity for the government and the industry. If they are to achieve shared goals of sustainable development, the construction industry must then focus on environmentally-friendly materials and processes. But this is only possible if government prioritises this, applying regulation and funding based on such initiatives.


The Australian Government and Sustainable Building

According to the Sydney Build Expo, the current federal government is a strong supporter of the industry. The Minister for Cities and Built Environment, Jamie Briggs, was one of the keynote speakers at this year’s event, and emphasised the role of innovation as an untapped avenue for sustainable development. This suggests that there will be an increased focus on new sustainable technologies introduced to the market.

However, it must be noted that because the government needs the construction industry, they are at the whim of lobbying efforts. This means that change can be brought about by bringing issues of sustainability and subsidies to parliament. And this is where change happens.

The year 2017 will see an increase in sustainable construction across the country. This will be assisted by government and industry partnerships, as well as not-for-profit organisations, all of which must focus on creating sustainable cities not for now, but for the future. So, get in early and capitalise on the market’s thirst for sustainable development. 

And for more information on sustainable building, download our 12 Tips Guide on Building Commercial Property today:

12 tips to building eco-friendly

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