Water Week

EWN Publishing

5 Star Plus scheme: greener house to cost $8,000-$15,000 more than ‘normal house’, says WA Liberal MP

Posted by waterweek on 12 October 2007

The application of the Building Sustainability Index was fraught with difficulties about who was to pay for and administer it, said Liberal MP Norman Moore, in the Legislative Council of Western Australia (5/9/2007).

Costs more than usual house: “It may well be the case that over a long period there will not be a financial burden on purchasers of houses built under the standards, but there is no doubt that the initial cost of building a house under the standards is likely to be higher than that for a normal house, if I can use the phrase ‘normal house’. The building industry has estimated that, under the original building and sustainability index proposition, we could be looking at anything between $8,000 and $15,000 per home for extra construction costs. That is a significant burden on people who are already paying very large amounts of stamp duty and people who have had to take out very large mortgages to buy their homes.”

Who pays for it?: Regarding costs of administering the scheme, probably to be done by local governments, Moore said, “… in the time that I have been on this planet I have learnt that invariably it is the taxpayer or ratepayer who pays; very rarely does anybody else pick up the tab on the way through. We need to know about those costs and the government should provide information about them. The fourth paragraph asks the government to identify other regimes that have been examined and why 5 Star Plus is preferred. That is a very legitimate request; why go down this path and not some other path if there are different regimes in place?”

A better approach: The government would do better to come up with a proposal “… whereby it would cost people $15,000 to start with but would save them $15,000 in energy costs or something like that over 25 years. Putting those cards on the table in the current environment would go a long way towards encouraging people to go down this path. I am very supportive of serious architectural effort being put into designing houses that enable us to save energy, building houses that are comfortable throughout the year without the need for cooling and heating and maximising the benefits of design and climate and all the other things that go with that,” Moore added.

Reference: Norman Frederick Moore, Liberal Party of Australia, Legislative Council, Western Australia, 5 September 2007: on Building Sustainability Index

Erisk Net, 5/9/2007

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