The Queensland Government has recently announced their plans to remove the current laws that make it compulsory to install rainwater tanks and gas, solar or heat pump hot water systems in all new homes.
These changes seem to be a backwards step for the Queensland Government. Why abolish legislation that makes new homes sustainable? These laws were designed to preserve and sustain our natural resources, which in turn reduce living costs for home owners. While there is an increase in upfront costs in the initial house construction, the longer-term benefits and savings to both the home owner and the environment outweigh these costs, and help to reduce other costs down the track.
Where homes don’t have a rainwater tank, rain water is transferred to a catchment area, treated and chlorinated, and returned back through expensive pressure pipelines to your house. You then pay for the chlorinated water that is used to wash your car and water your garden, when it could be done for free. The cheaper option is for rainwater to be captured at the source and stored in a rainwater tank, which can then be used freely in your home and garden.
The Building and Sustainability Index (BASIX), implemented by the NSW Government is one of the strongest sustainable planning measures undertaken in Australia1. The changes to be made by the Queensland Government are short-sighted and counteract the goals of other states like NSW, where the aim is to have residential dwellings water and energy efficient.