Sustainable Building

Tradespeople know they need to build sustainably and want pocket-friendly, practical solutions.

Reducing energy consumption, waste, building for 30+ years and helping homeowners make good choices are part of the job.

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Sustainability in trades small businesses is complex. It’s a matter of sizing up cost, wastage, how long a solution will last, how easy it is to work with and how energy efficient it is.

Niche interests in passive homes, solar and energy storage, drive tradies to source quality solutions, looking overseas to progressive standards for what’s to come in mandates.

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Younger tradies are more eager to work sustainably, or at least try to. There are early signs of a backlash against demolishing existing properties and starting from scratch.

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Energy Culture

What is influencing this theme?

Labouring stands to lose out

Government forecasts predict a 0.8 per cent reduction in labour productivity if temperatures rise by four degrees by 2063. Hotter days mean fewer working hours, a greater risk of heat stroke and other safety risks.

Australia's Intergenerational Report, August 2023

Learn more
Role of work

Tradies playing their part

Tradespeople with niche interests in passive homes, solar and energy storage, are taking responsibility and sourcing sustainable solutions, or working to progressive standards. Often, they are looking overseas for what’s to come in Australian mandates.

Future Tradie Report 2024 survey, Oct-Nov 2023

Tradespeople want to provide sustainable solutions, but need help understanding best practice and sourcing products.

Sustainability and environmental awareness ranked higher than embracing technology, or finding reliable partners, in characteristics future tradies need to succeed.


of surveyed tradies under 35YO are either using sustainable working practices, or trying to. 

% of total respondents.
Sustainability defined as boutique homes, volume home builds and renovations.
Future Tradie Report 2024 survey, Oct-Nov 2023

Getting ahead of the sustainability curve is recommended by seasoned pros to up-and-comers, especially builders.

Savvy boutique home builders are looking to Europe (where building code standards are higher) for innovations and becoming passive-house certified, to get an edge on sustainable building for 30+ year lifespans.

Hands-on expertise, especially installing roofing, windows and doors, is sought-after, because correct installation is key to a building’s airtightness.

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Elite Building Services

Female tradie in vibrant orange shirt smiles at camera
Passive homes: the way of the future

How do you feel about providing solutions to homeowners that save money by using less energy?

  1. Confident (46)
  2. Curious (40)
  3. Don't Care (9)
  4. Unsure (5)

Future Tradie Report 2024 survey, Oct-Nov 2023

human electrical
Cameron and Clarissa are getting ahead by gearing up for decentralised energy distribution.

As more homes run on electricity (not gas) and electric vehicles make energy storage accessible, they have upped their knowledge and rebranded an area of Human Electrical Design to focus on EVs.

Being prepared for the future means they won’t suffer when codes and infrastructure change.

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Human Electrical Design

“Battery storage for solar panels is going to play a big part in decentralising energy distribution. We've rebranded a whole part of the business to chase after that, to be the experts in it before it gets too big.”

Cameron & Clarissa Betts, Human Electrical Design

of surveyed tradies who are confident in using new technologies, are also invested in working sustainably.

Future Tradie Report 2024 survey, Oct-Nov 2023

How are future tradies responding?
Niche Specialist

Looking beyond Australia for frontrunners

Whether it's sustainable products, techniques or building codes, tradespeople are looking overseas for innovations they can bring back.

Service Steward

Helping clients make small improvements

Anything they can do to help clients understand the true value of sustainable products and gain trust is welcomed.

culture leader

Demystifying new standards and codes

Others look to those with niche knowledge and hands-on experience, to get practical advice and solutions that meet standards.


What can you do?

Start Doing

Source sustainable and adaptable products; share the how and why

Product ranges or ranking systems that allow tradespeople to make quick decisions about the best option for their job.

Plan For

Build circular economy options into your services

Options for recycling materials or buy back schemes that enable utilisation of materials beyond their first use are a good place to start ideating.

consider in future

Low-cost sustainable product ranges

Make sustainable building more accessible for more tradespeople and clients through a product range that doesn’t have a premium price point.

Start Doing

Distill new legislation and standards into easy-to-understand guides

Help tradies understand what targets for energy rated homes mean for their business, and provide somewhere they can go for further support.

Plan For

Education and certifications in building sustainably

How can we emphasise the importance of designing buildings for a lifespan of 30+ years? Tradespeople need to be equipped with knowledge that they can apply to projects immediately.

consider in future

Increase demand and access to sustainable products and methods

This could include guidelines for virgin materials vs. recycled materials, rebates or business grants for manufacturers looking to innovate in this space.

Start Doing

Start small, be practical and passionate

Educate your teams on basic sustainability codes and vocabulary, and reward sustainable decision-making within in your business.

Plan For

Continue to learn about new products and sustainable practices

Keep across the latest product and practices of sustainable building. Build this into your business model of how you work e.g., through product suggestions, waste disposal techniques, or checklists for decision making.

consider in future

Complete certifications in practices such as passive housing

Accreditations in something like passive housing will allow you to solidify your knowledge and professional skills.

Download the full report to explore all themes and mindsets for 2024.