16 Climate Change Solutions - The Built Environment

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Government could be a force for progress in finding Climate Change solutions. The problem simply has to be solved. Time is showing that there is no escape from this reality. Politics aside, the governance mechanisms need to be in the public interest, free from sectarian or industrial lobby group interference.

It is my educated opinion that a rational point for debate is that we need a review of governance systems in relation to energy use and power sources and a new 21st Century response that will benefit Australia in the long run.

The opinions and points made in this document are based on my 40-year professional and academic career and long-term experience. This includes many successes in the built environment as an architect, project manager, builder and developer, as well as teacher, researcher and innovator. This experience covers not only what has gone right but also, what has gone wrong or not worked to plan. The errors or miscalculations are actually where the best lessons are learned.

Getting it right is not that easy. I am sure most politicians can testify to that truism.

Political action needed to avert future damages of Climate Change After looking at all the evidence and possible solutions available, it is obvious we must heighten levels of awareness and not delay decisive action any longer. Time is marching uncomfortably onwards. Therefore political system needs to facilitate the process and not hinder it any longer, through inaction.

Summary of what Governance Action needs to be taken:

1. Review the Building Codes of Australia and remove the discrepancies and bad science that exists in the energy provisions section. State Parliaments needs to push the Federal Government to initiate this change.

2. Review and amend the AccuRate home energy-rating scheme. Discrepancies, bad science and the obvious industry lobby group interference in setting the benchmarks are causing impediments to progress.

3. Review and amend the privacy provisions in residential guidelines to allow passive solar houses to be effectively developed.

4. Review the R-codes to introduce mandatory solar access zones, limit the footprints on sites to rein in excessively sized homes, and review and amend all heights and setbacks to coincide with passive solar design principles.

5. Pass a statute law protecting all roofs of buildings from overshadowing from neighbors and an appropriate appeals process to separate the exceptions for the general rule. This is prime solar collection space for the future.

6. Mandate that independently assessed and verified efficiency for water and energy be disclosed at the point of sale of all buildings.

7. Set energy and water use benchmarks for energy bill discounts for compliant and successful users who achieve them.

8. Progressively raise the rate of charges with the volume of use or misuse.

9. Continue to reward best practice and innovation with awards.

10. Annually report to the public the overall performances in energy and water conservation so everyone can assess the effectiveness of ongoing community and government actions.

11. Embark on a PR campaign similar to the 'No Smoking' Campaign to help change the awareness of Climate Change and what the public can do to help solve the problem.

12. Make it mandatory for all existing and new public buildings to achieve highest standards of performance within say, 20 years.

13. Embark on a public funded system of public education and training through increased grants for qualified individuals, industry associations and corporations with acknowledged expertise to educate and train the public to take some responsibility for their energy and water usage.

Go Green|Green Earth

14. Become part of a nationwide register of performance so that each State can be traced for effectiveness against benchmarks that relate to the climate and technologies economically available to them.

15. Initiate the requirement that all fossil fuel energy power stations begin to include a mandatory level of renewable energy that is synergistic to a power generation regime and control systems.

16. Designate the vast desert areas of Australia as solar collection zones that must have Australian 75% majority ownership for use in the future for the purposes of generating energy and energy products.

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