Allianz Australia and GBCA partner to launch Green Specs – an online tool turning blueprints green

Tuesday 24 October 2023
  • New research from Allianz Australia reveals that while almost a third of surveyed Australian homeowners are looking to renovate in the next six months (29%), a quarter of those who are planning a home renovation are not considering doing this sustainably (24%).
  • Furthermore, a quarter of those surveyed with a renovation plan aren’t planning on making their home more resilient to extreme weather events (26%).
  • Australian homeowners who were surveyed list the associated high cost (40%), complexity (31%) and the lengthy time commitment (23%) as the key barriers to sustainable home improvements.
  • To help simplify sustainable renovations and improvements for all Australians, Allianz Australia and the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) have partnered to launch the online platform Green Specs.
  • Green Specs simplifies the information available in GBCA’s Sustainable Home Renovations Guide (the “Guide”), which is a technical manual and checklist for sustainable home improvements.

Despite rising interest rates and building costs, new research from Allianz Australia has today revealed that 3.5 million Australian homeowners1 are looking to renovate or make improvements to their home in the next six months.

Yet, a quarter of those with a renovation plan who were surveyed aren’t considering making their home more sustainable (24%). Almost half of those surveyed don’t know where to start when it comes to sustainable renovations (46%), and almost nine in ten say there are barriers deterring them from making their home sustainable (86%).

Australian homeowners who were surveyed list the key barriers to sustainable improvements as associated high costs (60%) and complexity (31%). Furthermore, many say that making their home more sustainable feels like a very large task (51%) and are unsure of the benefits of sustainable improvements (27%).

Despite this, the research shows there is appetite for change, with surveyed Australian homeowners admitting they would consider making their home more sustainable if it increased the value of their home (46%), if they understood what the benefits are for them or their family (37%), or the environment (34%) or if they received more information on how they can make changes in their own home (34%).

To help bridge the knowledge gap of Australian homeowners, Allianz Australia and the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) have developed Green Specs, a digital destination aiming to help Australians make their blueprints green and break down the technical information available in their newly released Guide.

The Guide, developed by GBCA, is a technical manual and checklist for sustainable improvements aimed at industry professionals, while Green Specs is a visual representation of the Guide, simplified into an interactive plan via a website.

On Green Specs, Australians will be able to explore the rooms of a digital floorplan and learn new ways to make their home more sustainable – from small improvements to undertaking major renovations. Changes can be filtered by room and budget, – everything from:

  • Positive changes (such as energy efficiency)
  • Healthy changes (such as reducing harmful chemicals or emissions)
  • Resilient changes (such as reducing the risk of extreme weather impacts on your home).

Green Specs comes as almost half of surveyed Australian homeowners say there isn’t enough information available on how to make their home more sustainable (49%), and almost two-thirds (63%) want to learn more about how they can make their home more sustainable.

Architect and leader in sustainable homes, Alexander Symes says, “It’s easy to think of sustainable renovations as complex and expensive, however this doesn’t have to be the case. By thinking holistically and choosing more sustainable products and materials, homeowners can not only support the planet, but be more resilient to a changing climate and manage their overall household energy use, benefiting from cheaper bills, and healthier and less environmental impact products.

“Having a tool that simplifies sustainable improvements available for Australian homes, from solar to insulation and even lightbulbs, Australian homeowners can be empowered to make greener decisions.”

Sema Whittle, General Manager of Sustainability at Allianz Australia, says, “The increasing frequency and severity of weather events makes it more important than ever to consider sustainable and resilient elements in our homes. The insurance industry has an important role to play in supporting our customers and the community to transition to net zero. In bringing Green Specs to life, our aim is to highlight ways to make homes more sustainable – from small improvements through to large renovations.”

Allianz claims data has revealed that 43% of home insurance claims made between May 2022 and April 2023 were a result of an extreme weather event. However, the research from Allianz Australia shows that when it comes to a sustainable home and its resilience to weather events and natural disasters, only half of surveyed Australian homeowners believe flood (55%) and bushfire (51%) resilience are features of a sustainable home.

Furthermore, a quarter of surveyed Australian homeowners with a renovation plan are not planning on making their homes more resilient against extreme weather events (26%).

“Our research has shown that three in five homeowners are looking to their home and contents insurer to inform them of how to make their homes more sustainable2 and more resilient to climate change3. Green Specs aims to bridge a knowledge gap for Australian homeowners by providing a wealth of information about everything from using sustainable building materials, choosing greener appliances, improving a home’s resilience to bushfire or flood, and more. We’re proud to partner with GBCA to bring Green Specs to life,” Sema added.

With 53% of Australia’s total built environment coming from our homes4,5, the partnership between Allianz and GBCA is designed to encourage Australians to play a role in changing how we use resources at home to help contribute to a more sustainable future.

“What’s really interesting is that changes that are good for the planet, can also be good for your health and your back pocket. By making simple updates to your home, such as replacing gas appliances, installing solar panels, or implementing energy-saving measures like sealing gaps around doors and adding insulation, you not only create a healthier living space but also reduce emissions and save on energy bills,” says Davina Rooney, CEO of GBCA.

Consumers and industry professionals looking to learn how to make their blueprints green can visit the Green Specs website.

For any media enquiries, journalists can contact our Media team.
The research was conducted by YouGov via an online survey conducted between 29 May to 5 June 2023. The sample comprised of 1,043 Australian homeowners and investors aged 18+ including 739 homeowners and 304 investors. Homeowners were defined as Australians aged 18+ who own the home that they are living in only (outright or with a mortgage) and don’t own any other property in Australia. Investors were defined as Australians aged 18+ who own at least one investment property (outright or with a mortgage) which they are not living in. The data is weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the Australian homeowners and investors population estimates.
The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) was established in 2002 to lead the sustainable transformation of the Australian built environment. It represents more than 550 individual companies with a combined annual turnover of more than $46 billion. GBCA rates the sustainability of buildings, fitouts, homes and communities through Australia’s largest national, voluntary, holistic rating system – Green Star.
  1. Almost one third of homeowners are looking to renovate within the next six months (29%)
  2. 59% of Australian homeowners believe their home and contents insurer has a role to inform them of how to make their home more sustainable
  3. 59% of Australian homeowners agree that their home and contents insurer has a role to inform them of how to make their home more resilient to climate change
  4. The Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Baseline Study 2022
  5. 2021 Residential Baseline Study for Australia and New Zealand for 2000 – 2040
Allianz Australia has been securing the future of our customers in Australia since 1914. We deliver a wide range of personal and commercial insurance products and services to more than 3 million policyholders. We also provide support for workers' compensation insurance to around 25% of the top 200 ASX companies, making us one of the leading workers' compensation insurers in Australia.

Allianz Australia Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of the worldwide Allianz Group. The Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with corporate customers in more than 70 countries. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life, and health insurance to assistance services, credit insurance and global business insurance. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we are among the leaders in the insurance industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.

This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL234708 ("Allianz"). In some cases, information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way.

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