At the last conference of the Australian Windows Association (AWA), new upcoming building regulations were announced, which will create huge opportunities for energy efficient window makers.

Policy changes to enable greenhouse gas reductions are being discussed with changes for commercial buildings possible as early as 2019 as per the Australian Building Codes Board 2017. Residential building requirement changes may be introduced in 2022.

Other key points are to recognise NABERS Energy and Green Star as compliance options, and ensuring that residential buildings perform well year round. These will soon be reflected in the National Construction Code, and State and Territory specific regulations.

Buildings are responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. With new regulations, houses will need to be better insulated with the aim to climate proof the home, increasing the overall energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. The sealing of buildings and thermal bridging are also being discussed. This can all be complied with by using more efficient windows.

In 2017, 85% of all windows and doors for new homes continue to be built with single glazing, which together with poor installation, have been found to be the weakest link in the building envelope. With changes coming to the building codes, single glazing will no longer be enough to satisfy building regulations. Therefore, double or triple glazing, and technologically advanced framing systems, will be essential.

The new regulations are a huge opportunity for the building industry, especially the window industry, which will need to rise to the challenge to produce better insulated products.

Through the Paris Agreement, Australia has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% of 2005 levels by 2030. In line with this, the average temperature increase needs to be restricted to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. This builds on previous commitments signed at Kyoto and aims to include homes and businesses to be climate proofed and energy efficient.