New South Wales will end construction of houses with dark roofs, the state government said, in a bid to lower room temperatures and improve energy efficiency across the state.
Australian researchers say record summer temperatures in Sydney’s outer suburbs are in part the result of urban design decisions, with a lack of green space and foliage creating a “heat island” effect.
This effect is aggravated by dark roofs, which can absorb much more heat than lighter colored materials. The result is warmer homes, requiring more energy to cool in the summer, and warmer neighborhoods, which reduce livability.
In a speech to the Committee for Sydney on Wednesday, Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes said applying lighter colored roofs is a simple way to improve quality of life and reduce energy consumption.
The change “would have a huge impact on the urban heat island effect in our city, and I will ask the Ministry of Planning to implement it as part of our Net Zero Cities approach,” he said. declared.
There is “no practical reason” why lighter roofs cannot be imposed, he said, to ensure that future suburbs do not reflect areas like Penrith – where the readings of the air temperatures were close to 50 degrees Celsius on January 4 of this year.
By saving on energy use, the move will also help NSW pursue its goal of achieving zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Stoked added.
âWe cannot affect the strong climate results without changing the way we build,â Stokes said.
âEmbodied energy in the environment of our buildings is the next big challenge to achieve net zero. “
The announcement comes several months after the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment unveiled a testing program for Wilton, a suburb in southwest Sydney, which includes new standards for green spaces, tree cover and light color palettes for new homes.
In a glance at Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who proclaimed that Australia’s push towards net zero will be achieved by technology yet to be developed, Stokes said: “It’s important that we don’t let this news out. brilliant things distract us from the basics of good design and planningâ¦ some of the best ideas aren’t necessarily exciting, but they are fundamental to achieving net zero.
In addition, Stokes has announced plans to increase the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) standard rating for new residential developments from 5.5 out of ten stars to 7 out of ten stars.
The financial sector has made some inroads to encourage this type of âgreenerâ development.
Last year, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation announced that mortgages for homes with a 7-star NatHERS rating will be eligible for a minor discount.
The Commonwealth Bank recently unveiled its own âgreenâ fixed rate loans, available to homeowners looking to install solar panels, batteries and other renewable technologies.