All aspects of house building in Western Australia will be examined in an important survey commissioned by the Government's energy conservation unit.
Fuel and Energy Minister Geoff Gallop said today that the survey was the first step in developing a scheme for rating the energy efficiency of homes being built throughout the State.
"The energy conservation unit has written to housing and architecture industry groups to invite them to tender for the survey," Dr Gallop said.
"It is expected that the survey will take several months to complete. The information will ultimately be incorporated into a national house energy ratings scheme.
"The aim is to help home buyers to be better informed about the energy consumption characteristics of houses they may wish to build or buy. It should also help designers and builders to improve the energy performance of homes."
Dr Gallop said the national scheme had the support of Federal and State Energy Ministers. It was considered to be an essential component of an Australia-wide drive to utilise energy more efficiently.
"The brief for the survey calls for extensive consultation with housing industry groups, including architects, builders, building material suppliers, appliance manufacturers, real estate bodies and consumer groups," Dr Gallop said.
"As the State's climate, lifestyle and common building materials are unique, we are limiting the tendering process to Western Australian firms with a good knowledge of our building industry.
"The task will be to analyse the existing housing stock in WA and identify the local factors which affect energy efficiency."
The Minister said it was important to realise that houses built today would dictate energy use well into the next century. It was necessary therefore to incorporate energy efficiencies now, rather than at some time in the future.
The house energy ratings scheme would provide the framework to encourage improved energy efficiencies in WA's housing.