SEE talks deep with Enphase Energy
1. Who is responsible for the creation of a sustainable building – the building owner or the building industry?
Both the building industry and building owners are jointly responsible for the creation of a sustainable building. Building developers generally have the expertise to calculate what is the embodied energy in a building and this is not often the expertise of a building owner.
However, building owners are ultimately responsible for their impact on the environment and they need to take ownership for investing in a building that is more sustainable and operates at a minimal impact on the environment.
2. Comment on the following: Sustainability is still relatively young in Australia, whereby we don’t know what our individual or collective role is to achieve it.
3. Regulation, standardisation of energy efficiency plus innovation of new materials and building systems have been positive drivers changing our old school ways of constructing buildings. Are we ready now to up the ante to provide the best sustainable outcome, inside and out? Who and what will it take?
(The following answers both questions 2 and 3) Homeowners are increasingly aware about their carbon footprint through energy consumption and this has advanced the use of rooftop solar and solar battery storage for homes undergoing renovations or newly designed homes.
Most recently, Enphase worked with Ralph Alphonso, the owner of the 5×4 Project, a small residential home in Melbourne that relies on solar power to meet a significant part of its energy requirements. His desire for a solar powered home is indeed both inspiration and aspirational for many people.
At Enphase, we believe that Australia is entering an exciting time when it comes to energy efficiency and this is where solar is making significant inroads in both the residential and commercial building sectors.
So, there are a number of forces at play – homeowners demanding solutions, companies providing unique ways of meeting that demand and an increasing willingness by governments around the world – not least due to COP 21 – to actively promote and drive sustainable behaviour. Indeed, sustainability is gaining recognition on many levels and our goal towards achieving this through the building industry is increasingly becoming a collective effort between councils, state governments and developers in Australia.
Instead of imposing regulations, we have energy efficiency standards such as the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme for homes to NABERS, Australia’s national scheme for the environmental performance of buildings.
These standards provide the building industry with a reference framework on benchmarks for building comfort and environmental impacts. This allows both owners and developers to determine if they would like to meet the minimum standards or set a new record for efficiency.
We are already seeing positive outcomes with an industry reference framework for commercial developments. Local councils have also taken the lead in developing energy efficient buildings. For example, the City of Melbourne, City of Moreland and City of Port Phillip in Victoria have adopted sustainable building designs and embraced energy efficiency.
However, in the end, it takes innovative companies to provide intuitive products that push the boundaries so that homeowners have access to the latest solutions that are easy to use, reliable and provide the best experience while minimising our environmental impact at the same time.