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NZ Government unveils huge emissions shake-up for building sector

The New Zealand Government has unveiled an impressive new program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the building and construction sector.

The industry currently produces 20 per cent of New Zealand’s total emissions, through the production of building materials, construction itself, and the energy used in the buildings.

They have a goal to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The Building for Climate Change program has been lauded by The New Zealand Green Building Council, who are hopeful that the initiative will be coupled with the retrofitting of older buildings to meet modern standards.

“Over the last few years we’ve seen momentum grow rapidly, with more of the construction sector actively thinking about their impact and how they can build better. This program elevates that conversation to another level,” NZGBC chief executive Andrew Eagles said.

“This sends the industry a clear message that this is the future, that they need to get involved and do their bit to help mitigate climate change.”

The new standards will involve strict targets around energy use and carbon emissions, with these increasing as time goes on. Reusing buildings and recycling materials will be key, with local suppliers to be prepped to support the change.

“Any changes we make will be thought through carefully,” the programmer states, “and we’ll talk to the people who will be affected by the changes first.

“This means that we’ll be working closely with the building and construction sector, other government agencies, iwi, key stakeholders, local government and communities across New Zealand to make sure we get this right.”

The planned changes won’t just be around the building and production process, but the long-term energy usage of these buildings, too.

“The changes we’re planning will make homes warmer, drier and better ventilated, and provide a healthier place for us all to work and live. Buildings will be built to use as little water and energy as practical, meaning more money in New Zealanders’ pockets as well as less emissions.”

The New Zealand Green Building Council say, when it comes to climate change, haste is necessary.

“The vision laid out by the government is a great one,” Mr Eagles notes. “But we need to move quickly and create some short term targets.

“The government is promising bold action and a once in a generation system change. We need to ensure this program delivers the change our future generations deserve.”

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