We asked, you said

30 March 2021

Image courtesy of Baptiste Marconnet, 1st place winner of NZGBC Photo Competition 2020

The results from our annual membership survey are in. This is a crucial piece of work to understand just how we are doing in the eyes of our most important stakeholders – our members.

Huge thanks to all of you who took the time to tell us what is most important to you.

Why are you members?

While the top reason for NZGBC membership among organisations was to 

support the movement of better buildings in New Zealand”
to demonstrate our sustainability leadership” 

was also a strong reason. While, also rating highly were

industry information and resources”; “help delivery of rating tools”; and “being part of a collective voice”

What do you like best about being a member?

Staying up to date with industry best environmental practice was identified as the biggest benefit of membership,

We are NZ leading architecture company in terms of sustainability and green building. NZGBC keeps us informed with what is happening out in the world thus ensuring our designed are ahead of the game.”
“Really gives an advantage with future projects with clients as it is where the industry is going and clients want main contractors to have sustainability as a driver in all aspects of construction.”
“We have to be socially and environmentally responsible as architects, and NZGBC provides a fantastic platform to access resources and offer support.”

What do you want to read about in Building Momentum?  

We all need to be inspired (and love knowing what the competition is up to), so no surprises about the top scorer for content : case studies, case studies, case studies. Watch out for your other fresh ideas filtering through in the coming months.

What about our webinars and training?

Not surprisingly, webinars have doubled in popularity this year….  It’s good to see our membership taking full advantage of these.

Here’s one of your suggestions of what you’d be most likely to attend next year:

make more videos but include downloaded content, especially do interview/Q&A type videos. Just edit them well :)”

You asked for free Homestar and Green Star training – did you know that we have free introductory modules on line to these courses?

And, more product-focussed webinars – We have a regular product and materials webinar series, please tell us what direction you would like these to take.

Rating tools

92% of respondents agreed that the NZGBC rating schemes are fundamental to improving the sustainability of buildings.


Thank you for your many helpful comments on general and very specific ways we can improve the content and delivery of the tools. Results indicate that our members strongly agree NZGBC rating tools are fundamental to the sustainability of buildings and we continue to review our processes to improve them to meet market needs.

What should we do first?

As with all organisations, NZGBC resources - time, money and expertise – are limited. You ranked these as your top priorities:

  • Waste
  • Reducing operational carbon in buildings
  • Reducing carbon from products and materials
  • Responsible sourcing of products (other than carbon related)
  • Indoor environment quality
  • Water efficiency

Here’s a sample of your other ideas:

“Well, it's holistic: I would push for smaller dwellings, and social and policy change - including reduced consumption, sharing resources, and other building-related efficiencies. I would push for taxing the construction of large residences with low occupancy - difficult as that might be.”
“Climate adaptation. Eg. avoiding overheating in current buildings and planning for future climate scenarios.”
“Carbon (embodied and in operation) obviously address that directly, but the Urban Form is the thing that is locked in place for decades/generations and hence a 'Green' building in the wrong place is a poor outcome and will remain so for a long time.”
“Lobbying government to raise the baseline standards that are so far behind 1st world countries they will continue to drag down the good work done by the diligent minority.”
“To achieve 2050 Zero Carbon, we must act now given today’s buildings will be around until 2090 or beyond.”
“All of the above are relevant - priority should be given to the usability of the tool and interactions with the NZGBC during the design process. Focus on making submissions an enjoyable and rewarding process.”

Advocacy priorities

Improving the building code to align with a zero carbon future” was easily the most popular advocacy ask.

Other useful advice from you:

“All of the above but most fundamentally legislating for low/zero Carbon buildings ASAP. The industry will never be ready for it so I think we simply need to hit it head on and go thru the pain of adaptation as fast as we can.  Without rules in place too many projects will be too slow to change, regardless of the good intentions of those within the project team.”
“Addressing the financial barriers (eg. corporate profit in a monopolized market) within the industry which result in reducing marketplace incentives to focus on carbon and sustainability (ie. make it profitable, and the change will naturally happen)”
“Education and incentives for the market - Collaboration across of fields in the built environment to develop Champions in the industry that are willing to lead the way. Learning to build a new way is a risk that we need the market to see value in and Governments will need to share in that risk. Provide subsides training opportunities to support the change we need to see.”

What are your biggest challenges?

The overwhelming challenge for our members was identified as:

“Convincing clients and consultants on sustainability”

With other top concerns including in this order:

  • Meeting carbon targets
  • Skill gaps and lack of time for training
  • Meeting budgets and increasing costs
  • Keeping up with demand
  • Covid-19 – local and global impacts
  • Finding and retaining quality staff
  • Concerns around waste and the circular economy

But one member sees a particularly clear pathway to the future:

“No real challenges here, we have been a carbon zero business for over 10 years and we only see opportunity.”


How can we best support you over the coming year?

This is a crucial question when it comes to guiding our 2021-22 business plan. We grouped them into topics here in order of popularity:

  • Educate the market
  • Advocacy
  • Events and training
  • Improve tools
  • More information
  • Help promote products and services
  • Products and materials
  • Support students, academia, young professionals
  • More on low carbon
  • Networking
  • More scientific evidence and data sharing
  • Waste issues
  • Sharing networks and contacts

The final group of answers encouraged “more of the same”. We’re pleased to see a good number of members armed with the tools and knowledge they need to help achieve our vision.

And we were all touched by one member’s comment:

You have everything we need already to keep us out of trouble for the next 12 months.”


And finally, congratulations to our prize draw winners who each won a $100 Restaurant Association voucher to support a local eatery of their choice:

Matt Wilson – Eco Insite; Nicole Carseldine - Stellar Projects; Lucy McKenzie – AUT University; Nick Karlovsky – Kāinga Ora; Saber Salehirad – Optimum Air; Paul Gilbert – 1st Maintenance; Allanah Ryan – Massey University; and, Carissa Garcia Richards – Mesh Consulting Ltd.


The data and comments gathered during the survey have been shared with the relevant NZGBC teams to inform and improve the offering to membership over the coming year.

The survey received 266 responses, equivalent to over 7% of registered members.