2019 November 20 “Architects Declare”: NZ Profession Takes a Stand on Combating Climate Change

20191120_ArchitectureNow_NZProfessionTakesAStandOnCombattingClimateChange

“Architects Declare”: NZ profession takes a stand on combatting climate change

“We have a New Zealand version of Architects Declare, an international set of guidelines that signatories pledge to follow to help prevent irreversible damage from the global heating climate crisis.”

It is good to see the architectural profession in NZ wake up and realise they can make a difference. I regularly discuss large, cross-laminate timber (CLT) big building construction; it’s a good fit for NZ. Buildings make practical sense, in terms of energy and floor space, up to about 10 stories – every storey above that is driven by ego and zoning rules forcing up land prices. Luckily, CLT is a good fit for 10 stories or less and as this article points out, carbon negative.

I’m a bit sad that XLAM, which made CLT panels in their Nelson factory, has closed down to seek higher profits in Australia.

I wish the architecture profession had started this earlier. The US profession issued The 2030 Challenge in 2006, to move to zero carbon by 2030. This meant that progressive cities in the USA have had time to pull together building code changes and zoning regulations (and upskilling the industry on the way). We can and will do this here in New Zealand but it will be harder as we’ve left it pretty late.

Especially in light of the recent Chapman Tripp report on climate change risk that says that company directors have a duty of care to consider climate change in financial decisions (or get sued and lose), it seems odd that we’d build without considering the necessity to adapt to climate change. Wouldn’t the same duty of care be owed clients looking to construct a home or an office building?

 

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