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Building for Climate Change

MBIE has released a statement of intent on transforming the building and construction sector to reduce emissions and improve climate resilience. The document sets out the vision for the building and construction sector to align with the governments commitment to be carbon zero by 2050.

There are two primary areas of focus in the sector:

  • Efficiency of energy use and water use

  • Reducing Greenhouse gases from the construction materials and processes

This is good, but as the report notes it will require change which might be difficult for the sector and it will take a while for the changes to embed into the industry.

The building code is SEG's primary reference to achieve a minimum standard in the race to the bottom by Contractors and Developers trying to make a buck. To see these minimum standards increased to achieve better outcomes for the building end users is a step (or at least a look) in the right direction.

As it stands in the NZ building code there is no requirements or incentive to limit water use. The energy efficiency is outdated in both its method and minimum requirements, thermal insulation for example is less than half that of the United Kingdom and there is no real provision for air tightness or the use of solar load to be optimised in winter and reduced in summer.

The MBIE statement of intent is to progressively change all that, increasing the minimum requirements and introducing new requirements. The updated framework is intended to set defined comfort levels including temperature ranges and air quality that will need to be achieved for consent and looking at how the external structure of new buildings can be better designed to keep those that live and work inside warmer in winter and cooler in summer with less heating and cooling.

SEG are well placed with the skills, knowledge and experience to support the delivery of better buildings by understanding, calculating, modelling and testing building efficiency and performance. Get in touch to find out how we can get better outcomes and long term value for your next building project.

This MBIE document is also supported by NZGBC Roadmap published in 2019. See links to both these documents below.

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