Government green building news to round off the year

02 December 2020

Photo by Daniel Joshua on Unsplash

Yesterday, the government announced that it will become a carbon-neutral government by 2025, and as part of that, would require NABERSNZ certification on public sector buildings.

The news was part of the government’s declaration of a climate change emergency. This is an emergency, and all emergencies require swift, decisive and effective action. That’s why the policy around NABERSNZ is very welcome.

However, there’s much more the government could be doing to get carbon out of their buildings, so we’re hoping this is just the first step.

NABERSNZ is great, but can only measure the energy efficiency of office buildings, so isn’t applicable across all of the public sector buildings, many of which aren’t offices.

We’re also curious as to why government didn’t talk about their pre-election promise to certify all government-funded buildings to Green Star, and we’re doing our utmost to remind them of this promise.

If, together, we’re going to achieve a cleaner, pollution free, zero carbon Aotearoa, then the building and construction sector has to be at the forefront of our nation’s efforts. Our sector has the solutions and the will to lead the way on climate change, and lead the way we will.

Not all sectors in New Zealand will be ready and able to meet the 2030 emission reduction targets necessary to tackle climate change. But the building and construction sector is ready, and today’s government announcement is some recognition of that.

There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a difficult and challenging year. But, working together, we have enjoyed some great success. 2020 forced us to take stock of our priorities, to recalibrate and consider our ‘how’ and our ‘why’. It has also brought with it an opportunity to build back better, and a chance to move away from our traditional ways of doing things and create a greener future.

Green buildings were a key part of the political agenda in 2020, in a way never seen before in New Zealand.

Following the successful launch of our zero carbon roadmap a little over a year ago, 2020 saw the government announcement of a Building for Climate Change programme, a huge step towards tackling climate change through once in a generation green building reform.

During the year, we also saw Minister for Housing Megan Woods announced that Kāinga Ora would be certifying all new state homes to 6 Homestar. With thousands of homes in the pipeline this strong backing of the rating tool sends a clear message to the sector.

The government recently outlined three key priorities – housing, child poverty and climate. Many policies to improve the state of housing, and to tackle climate change are pretty much exactly the same. Improving the standards of homes in Aotearoa, to be warmer, healthier places, will also reduce our climate emissions.

This is just one area we’ll be working on in 2021 – focusing on getting more homes insulated, improving the standard of new homes, and advocating for the introduction of energy performance certificates – and looking to build on the many successes of 2020.

Ngā mihi nui

Andrew