PRESSURE ON BUILDING INDUSTRY TO DRIVE CLIMATE CHANGE?

By NZHJ July 06, 2020 Industry news

With a new program, the Government is looking to the NZ construction industry to help drive its climate change goals...

Last week, on 3 July, the Government called for the New Zealand building and construction sector to play a major role towards helping the country reach its climate change goals, including net zero carbon by 2050.

“Building for Climate Change” is a new programme, which "sets a firm course for the building and construction sector to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions", over the next 20-30 years.

The aim, says MBIE, is “to get us building in a completely different way. Tackling the climate change challenge will require vision, commitment and perseverance as well as significant change.”

“It won’t be done overnight and it won’t be easy,” admits MBIE. “We’ll be setting targets around energy use and carbon emissions that focus on getting New Zealand where it needs to be.

“At the start, we should be able to reach the goals through good current practice, but over time, the goals will be increased to make greater carbon savings and emissions reductions.”

In terms of a timeline, following engagement with the building and construction sector, from next year, says MBIE’s Building Performance team, a group of initiatives will be launched to “kick start” changes in the building sector.

To meet these goals, there will be changes to both the Building Act and the Building Code.

As well as adjustments to current building laws, the program broadly aims to “change people’s behaviour, and the way they think about designing, constructing and operating buildings.” This includes building and construction workers.

The launch documentation adds that it is “possible that changes may need to be made to existing buildings as well.”

Outline of changes planned are about making 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.”

Energy efficiency and carbon emissions “will become core considerations when building – just as important as cost and design. Reusing buildings and recycling materials will be an important part of the building process, as well.”

You can get involved with and follow the progress of this program on the MBIE website:

www.mbie.govt.nz/building-and-energy/building/building-for-climate-change

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