Backing architects to design low-carbon buildings for net zero

The Albanese Government is helping architects decarbonise buildings, delivering $100,000 to support a new training program aimed at lowering emissions before construction even starts. 

This investment will deliver a new Australian Institute of Architects’ training program to equip architects with the tools to tackle the complex challenge of reducing embodied carbon in buildings.

A building’s embodied carbon includes the emissions produced by material extraction, production, and transportation of building products, as well as construction, maintenance, repairs, and renovations.

Current market solutions can offer five to 18 per cent reduction in embodied carbon while also achieving a 0.4 to three per cent reduction in material costs for typical building and infrastructure projects. 

As the electricity grid decarbonises and energy efficiency is embraced by homes and businesses, embodied carbon will overtake operational emissions, growing from 16% of a building’s total emissions in 2019 to 85% by 2050.

Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy Jenny McAllister said reducing embodied carbon would be crucial to helping to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

“Architects can dramatically reduce emissions from our built environment before one brick is even laid, just by making different design choices,” said the Assistant Minister.

“Rethinking opportunities and making smarter choices in building design will help decarbonise the industry but also save costs. Cost effective solutions already exist, we want to help bring these solutions to more architects across Australia.

“Clever design strategies, like repurposing an existing structure in the Quay Quarter Tower, saved 12,000 tonnes of embodied carbon. This is equivalent to taking 2,600 cars off the road.

“We want to help our architects design for a net zero future. This new training program will do just that.”

The new program includes a roadmap and toolkit developed by industry expects, to be delivered both in person and online by the Australian Institute of Architects.