11 April 2019 Boardroom’s Nikki Mandow: Government told to ‘walk the talk’ on green building standards

11 April 2019 by Jason Quinn

“You won’t see buildings as one of the sectors, because we don’t count them that way – yet the Green Building Council estimates buildings make up about 20 percent of the country’s emissions, when you include emissions in the construction, and the waste to landfill. Which is extraordinary.”

1/5th That’s right once you step back and look at the big picture buildings nationwide are 1/5th of our CO2 emissions. Sounds bad but it is actually awesome. NZ building are very poorly built for efficiency and it is pretty easy and cheap (10%) to make them world leading performance (i.e. Passive House) saving ~90% on heating costs. This means we can save significant CO2 emissions at the same time we save money. To my knowledge this is the only big CO2 opportunity that doesn’t require a cost to save CO2.

“New Zealand’s two largest contributing sectors for gross emissions in 2017, were agriculture (48.1 percent) and energy (40.7 percent),” Shaw’s statement said. “Road transport emissions and fossil fuel-generated electricity production were the big drivers for the emissions increase we’ve seen between 2016 and 2017.”

At the summit, Shaw said the building industry could play an important part in the government’s broader climate change goals, particularly any carbon-zero targets. Energy efficiency is low-hanging fruit compared to some of the more challenging goals, he said.

“Better buildings mean less carbon, less waste, less water use, less toxic materials, more resilience to climate change and the effects of climate change, more sustainable building materials, and more healthy colleagues.”

But energy efficiency was just one part of the role for the building sector in reaching the emissions targets, Shaw said. The electricity sector estimates that replacing all petrol/diesel vehicles and gas and coal-fired industrial plants with other energy sources will require a massive increase in renewable energy production – and green buildings can help.

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