Australian Federal "Green" attack on big houses

This will have no effect, contrary to the hot air below. People who can afford a big house will not balk at a couple of hundred dollars for another useless bit of paper and nor will they be much motivated to save on energy costs. If they were real Greenies they would be buying a small house, to reduce their "footprint".

And calling big houses "McMansions" is just empty-headed abuse. "McMansions" originally referred to houses that all looked much alike but the bigger a house is, the more likely an architect will have been involved in its design. The term also reflects a contempt for popular design features, which is just snobbery

A NEW green scheme threatens to wipe tens of thousands of dollars from the market price of so-called "McMansions".

The Federal Government aims to introduce, by as soon as next year, mandatory energy star ratings for homes being sold or rented out. Under the favoured system, vendors and landlords would have to pay about $200 to have their property assessed, with a total cost to homeowners and property investors of $1.1 billion over the next 10 years.

Housing experts said most McMansions would score very poorly on the ratings system, which would be similar to the methodology used to identify the energy efficiency of whitegoods.

Mick Fabar, director of private energy-ratings firm Green Homes Australia, said: "Through our experience with our rating tool, those two-storey McMansions would not get over zero."

There are significant financial implications for owners of these homes - and most older dwellings which are also likely to rate lowly. Owners would need to either spend up on going green or face the prospect of a lower sale price.

A Federal Government study into a similar ACT scheme operating since 1999, which rates properties out of 10 stars, found that a 1-star difference affected selling prices by 3 per cent.

Asked whether the scheme would have a negative effect on the sale price of some homes, a spokeswoman for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Minister Greg Combet said: "It will allow buyers and renters to better compare different properties, making it easier to identify a property which uses less energy or water and thereby save money."

But the Federal Opposition's spokesman for climate action, environment and heritage, Greg Hunt, said such a scheme would create "enormous uncertainty".

"It could push up the cost of rent for people just when they are feeling cost-of-living pressures," Mr Hunt said. "It's another cost imposed on people from the Government."

The new federal system is expected to replace the Bligh Government's so-called Sustainability Declaration which was introduced in 2009. Under the scheme, sellers were meant to sign a form detailing their home's energy-efficient features. But the property industry complained the forms were too complex and buyers were not interested in the information.


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