Victorian homes and public buildings to go all-electric from 2024

by Sophie Berrill
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The Victorian Government is banning new gas connections, announcing this week that all new homes and public buildings will go all-electric from 2024. 

From 1 January 2024, planning permits for new homes and residential subdivisions in Victoria will only connect to all-electric networks. All new public buildings that haven’t reached design stage will also be all-electric, including new schools, hospitals, police stations and other government-owned buildings.

Green Building Council of Australia CEO, Davina Rooney, joined the Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio and Housing Minister Sonya Kilkenny at the announcement on 28 July from an all-electric home in Melbourne. 

“Victoria uses more gas than any other state in Australia, with around 80 percent of homes currently connected to the gas network,” Rooney said on Sunday.  

“Today’s announcement will result in better, healthier homes for Victorians, cheaper energy bills, and significant reductions in emissions.”

All-electric home

Pictured: Lily D’Ambrosio, Victorian Energy Minister; Sonya Kilkenny, Victorian Housing Minister; Victor Liong, Chef. Image: GBCA

The health impact of gas

Research has found the effect of gas in homes is comparable to the impact of passive smoking. 

One study from 2013 showed children living in a home with a gas stove had a 42 percent increased risk of asthma, while a study from Stanford University found that 75 percent of methane leaking from gas stoves happens while the stove is turned off.  

The Climate Council welcomed the Government’s announcement, calling gas an “invisible harm” in homes, schools and workplaces.

“The dangers it poses, especially to our children and vulnerable households, cannot be completely eliminated, even with better ventilation,” Climate Councillor Dr Charlesworth says. 

“We have a responsibility to sound the alarm on gas, just as we did with asbestos and tobacco.”

Preparing buildings for a decarbonised future

The electrification of Victorian homes and public buildings is not only a health measure, but part of an effort to meet legislated net-zero targets.

“Reducing our reliance on gas is critical to meeting our ambitious emission reduction target of net zero by 2045 and getting more Victorians on more efficient electric appliances which will save them money on their bills,” says D’Ambrosio.

Rooney says the move will pave the way for the rest of Australia to eliminate fossil fuels from homes.

“We need to see similar commitments from all of the states and territories,” she says. 

Charlesworth agrees that “Australia doesn’t need gas”. 

“We have the capability to power our grid with renewable energy. Making all-electric housing the default is a major stride towards clean, safe, and affordable homes for all Victorians,” she says.

Some support for the sector to transition

The Government says it is investing $1 million in targeted training to support the construction industry in the transition to all-electric and 7 Star homes.

Plumbers and electricians have also been identified as “key” to delivering the transition. The Government says it will provide free training for plumbers and apprentices to design and install energy efficient heat pumps and solar hot water systems, as well as training to safely design and install rooftop solar and home battery systems.

Also in the news this week, more electric vehicles were sold in Australia in the first half of 2023 than throughout all of 2022.

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