Update on Carbon Zero with FMANZ

31 March 2021

Last month the Facilities Management Association of New Zealand (FMANZ) hosted a nationwide series of events showcasing NZGBC and in particular the latest on the carbonzero building operations tool, which is currently in pilot phase. This was a chance for a key group of people to see what carbonzero means and how the tool can be used.

The New Zealand Government now requires all government buildings and tenancies to target a 5 star NABERSNZ rating or better, and achieve at least 4 stars for any new or renewing leases. In addition, any government agencies planning a new build will need to achieve a NABERSNZ rating of at least 5 stars and all agency ratings must be disclosed. These requirements are pushing building owners and property managers to consider the options to achieve this benchmark.

An example of what might constitute a 5.5 Star NABERSNZ building is a combination of the following:


  • Orientation-sensitive window to wall ratio
  • Double glazed/ double skin, tinted
  • Fixed/ active external shading


    • Low temperature VAV or passive chilled beams


    • Fully retro-commissioned and well tuned


    • T5 fluorescents and LEDS 5-10w/m²
    • Zoning for core and perimeter, presence detection, daylight control

    Existing building energy ratings from either NABERSNZ or Green Star Performance can feed into the carbonzero certification, making these buildings already part way through the journey. A 12 month period of energy, water, waste and refrigerant leakage data is required to measure the carbon emissions of the building in operation. This, plus a commitment to a carbon reduction action plan, including phasing out on site fossil fuels by 2025 and offsetting any current emissions, will gain the building a carbonzero building operations certification.

    The process would look something like this:

    • Formally benchmark the carbon emissions of a base or whole building
    • Manage the carbon footprint
    • Register & mitigate (offset) any unavoidable emissions
    • Market your success with a carboNZero building certificate

    Facilities managers were very much on board with the initiative and are keen to see how their buildings perform. Since NABERS inception in Australia their ratings alone have delivered a cost savings of over 900 million dollars for Australian businesses and driven enough energy saving to powers 400,000 homes. NABERSNZ and carbonzero tools are and will be major contributors in reducing the carbon emissions of the building sector in New Zealand.

    Many thanks to Gillian Wess and the team at Facilities Management Association of New Zealand (FMANZ) for inviting NZGBC to talk to their members.

    Find out more: carbonZero building operations submission guidelines