Green Building Council response to government carbon neutrality by 2025 announcement

02 December 2020

Photo by Henry McIntosh on Unsplash

Responding to this afternoon’s government announcement of a zero carbon public sector, Andrew Eagles, chief executive of the Green Building Council, said:

“The public sector is the largest and most significant builder and occupier of buildings in the country, so this government commitment to slash the emissions of their own buildings is good news.

“Our built environment accounts for as much as 20 percent of New Zealand’s emissions, making the use of energy efficiency rating tool NABERSNZ an obvious and sensible choice for the government to use to drive change and reduce its carbon footprint.

“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 hope that they’re not rowing away from a public commitment to an industry-backed solution.

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

“We need to build better not just for the environment and to meet our commitments under the Paris Agreement. Building better helps create healthier spaces to live and work, and reduce energy bills and operating costs.”

A 2019 thinkstep report found a few basic changes to the construction sector’s use and production of materials could slash emission equivalent to taking almost half a million cars off the road. The majority of that is through non-residential building.