10 Pages

Housing Form, Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Primarily in response to the negative economic aspects associated with low density suburban sprawl, most state governments in Australia have now introduced planning guidelines which facilitate an increase in the density of new residential development and redevelopment (for example, The Good Design Guide for Medium Density Housing, introduced by the State government of Victoria in 1995). This has subsequently generated much debate among academics (e.g. Troy, 1996) and local communities (via 'Save Our Suburbs' groups wishing to retain the existing style of housing). In 1997, another major stimulus for change to Australian housing emerged in the form of the Prime Minister's November 1997 Statement, Safeguarding the Future: Australia's Response to Climate Change ( where it was stated that:

The Government will work with the States, Territories and industry to develop energy efficiency codes and standards for housing and commercial buildings, appliances and equipment ... We will expand the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme by including a minimum energy performance requirement for new houses and major extensions and we will work with the States, Territories and industry to develop voluntary minimum energy performance standards for new and substantially refurbished commercial buildings ... These initiatives will take us to best practice standards in these important areas. If this voluntary approach does not achieve acceptable progress within 12 months, we will work to implement mandatory standards. (p.6)

development). The extent to which medium-density housing represents a more attractive environmental outcome - in energy and greenhouse terms - than low-density detached forms of housing is examined for typical examples of a single detached dwelling and an apartment.