Industry, digitization of infrastructure, the key to net zero ambitions

For example, Europe is currently facing a winter of energy shortages potentially caused by the war in Ukraine, so it is doubling down on energy efficiency while also accelerating the transition to net zero by increasing renewable energy.

In terms of energy efficiency, Australia is working with European nations, including Germany, on several strategic initiatives to enhance their efforts, as both countries have complementary strengths in building policy and performance.

This year, the German government funded a delegation of Australian energy efficiency experts, leading to the launch in June of a German-language introduction to Australia’s NABERS program in Berlin.

A key reason why Germany has embraced NABERS is that the program, together with our Green Star scheme, positions Australia’s commercial property sector as a world leader in sustainability.

In fact, Australia topped many categories in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) for the 12th consecutive year.

Property Council of Australia chief executive Ken Morrison says we now need to provide similar tools for residential buildings to make our homes cheaper, more comfortable and more sustainable.

He says energy efficiency should be considered an essential element of our nation’s energy transition strategy.

Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Ken Morrison.

“Efficiency measures can reduce energy demand and the need for expensive infrastructure investment, while also providing some emissions reductions at relatively low cost. The built environment uses 50% of Australia’s electricity, which represents a huge opportunity to reduce energy demand and improve load management,” says Morrison.

β€œThe federal government’s commitment to deliver a national energy performance strategy by the middle of next year should raise the role the built environment can play in the national energy transition.

“Furthermore, the recent decision by the federal and state governments to raise the energy efficiency standards of new homes to seven stars is a welcome move that will deliver savings on your energy bill and better living conditions, while also reducing emissions.”

Halliday says the building sector’s commitment to energy efficiency is a good example of an economy looking at its entire energy supply chain and developing a clear roadmap to net zero.

He says each sector needs to take a view of the entire supply chain, rather than just addressing the direct emissions of their business.

This is already happening in retail, with some of the world’s leading supermarket chains accelerating their net zero targets, which directly affects every supplier.

The result of the actions of the supermarket chains is “if you want to supply a leading supermarket chain, it is imperative to have a solid plan to break even.”

Halliday says Siemens was the first major industrial firm to set a carbon neutral target by 2030, the company is well ahead of schedule and the savings are supporting the industrial satchel result.

Furthermore, Halliday points out that achieving net zero will require industries and infrastructure to accelerate their journeys towards digitalisation.

“Digitization allows you to do less with more because technology helps you identify where the opportunities are to reduce energy consumption and therefore reduce emissions,” says Halliday.

“It also boosts innovation and commercialization of things that help solve climate change faster and increases your country’s competitive advantage by creating new industries.”

Take, for example, a company that uses advanced software to create a digital twin.

With a digital twin you can build and test everything virtually to optimize performance and quality and eliminate waste, he says.

“Benefits can include rapid innovation cycles and therefore faster time to market, reduced manufacturing footprint as you optimize your manufacturing footprint, improved quality results, less raw material use and less waste.”

“Some of these opportunities are game-changers for emissions and life rafts for high-emitting sectors.”

Halliday says that getting to net zero will require governments to develop and implement strong policies because “governments can provide the push and incentives that businesses need to move to net zero faster.”

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