News digest: The green economy is the future, and a big boost for healthy homes

30 April 2019

Welcome to our first fortnightly news digest. We’ve rounded up all the major stories relating to the green building industry from Aotearoa and around the world so you can easily keep tabs on what’s happening.

As this is a new service we’re delivering to you we’d love your feedback so we can fine tune the format and the type of content you’re interested in.

GBC news

New Zealand’s building industry could play an important part in the government’s broader climate change goals, particularly any carbon-zero targets, Climate Change Minister James Shaw told delegates at the Green Property Summit. At the same time he faced criticism for the government’s failure to 'walk the talk' on green building standards, reports Newsroom.

Our construction industry is responsible for 17% of New Zealand's carbon emissions. Architecture Now talks to us and other industry players about initiatives to reduce those levels.

We’re excited to announce a significant step to get Aotearoa New Zealand on the pathway to a zero carbon built environment. We're working with Enviromark Solutions on how to create a net zero carbon building measurement. We're running a consultation until 11 May, and we're keen to hear from the industry.

The US Green Building Council says the general public is woefully unaware of the role green building can play in mitigating climate change, reports Architectural Record.

There’s a similar thing happening in New Zealand with Kiwis largely unaware that having an energy efficient, sustainable home could have a significant impact on our emissions targets, reports Newsroom.

Across the Tasman, the Green Building Council of Australia will evolve its Green Star system in consultation with industry as part of an ambitious plan to promote action on carbon emissions, reports Infrastructure Magazine.

And, sustainability engineer Kate Boylan is the winner of the NZGBC's inaugural Future Thinker of the Year award, reports Architecture Now.

Green buildings

Comvita has opened a new sustainably-designed 3500m2 warehouse featuring the largest solar panel installation in the Bay of Plenty. The NZ Herald reports that more than 65% of all construction waste was recycled during the project.

Property specialist Argosy has announced a $64 million project to redevelop a Wellington building aiming for a world-leading 6 Green Star rating and a 5 star energy efficiency rating, reports Stuff.

Air New Zealand will build a new 10,000 square metre hangar at its engineering base in Auckland. The hangar will be a 5-6 Green Star building, reports Stuff.

The top 10 green buildings around the world for 2019 are profiled in Building Design & Construction.

Investment

ANZ has launched a Healthy Home Loan Package for customers buying, building or renovating a home to 6 Homestar rating or above, reports Stuff.

The bank's offer of lower-cost loans to encourage investment in healthy homes has won praise from Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, reports the Otago Daily Times.

Housing New Zealand says it has has issued a $500 million Sustainability Bond to help fund investment in new or upgraded sustainable social housing.

Tapping the $100 trillion global debt markets via green bonds will be integral to financing projects to help meet climate and other sustainable development objectives, reports Etf Trends.

Some of the world’s largest central banks are recognising that climate change is a financial stability risk and are making it clear they want to deal with the issue, reports Fortune.

Real estate investors that aren’t preparing their properties for climate change and increasingly extreme weather may face steep costs, according to a recent report from the Urban Land Institute.

Energy efficiency

US home buyers are willing to pay an additional $8,728 on average upfront in order to save $1,000 a year in home utility bills, according to a new study by the National Association of Home Builders.

Energy efficiency and solar make complementary energy and carbon reductions in new home construction in the US, but when budgets are tight, efficiency needs to come first, according to a new report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.

Zero carbon

Wellington City Council is seeking feedback on Te Atakura – First to Zero: its blueprint for a zero carbon capital city.

And Christchurch could become carbon-neutral far sooner than the government's target of 2050 after the city council revealed a new plan to tackle climate change, reports Stuff.

Innovation

Cutting-edge technology that will revolutionise the smart city movement has been released in the US, reports Globe Newswire.

And, a US study proves that green roofs can reduce indoor pollution and improve indoor air quality, reports The Science Times.

Building Code

The New Zealand Government has released a consultation paper that proposes the biggest change to New Zealand’s building laws in the past 15 years, reports interest.co.nz. Public submissions are open until June 16.

New minimum standards will make rental properties drier and warmer. The healthy homes standards, which become law later this year, aim to improve heating, insulation, ventilation and drainage, reduce moisture and stop draughts, reports interest.co.nz.

Climate change

The UN chief says the "green economy is the future" and that global action against climate change needs to strengthen economies and protect the environment at the same time.

New York City has approved an ambitious plan to combat climate change by forcing thousands of large buildings to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, reports the Guardian.

And San Francisco has announced a plan to shift big commercial buildings in the city to renewable energy by 2030.

New findings published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) outline how the world can successfully implement large-scale renewable programs that will not only help reduce carbon emissions but improve global socioeconomic development, reports Forbes.

And a New Zealand government report shows the way we live and make a living is having a serious impact on our environment with climate change amplifying many current pressures.

The Sustainable Business Council is urging companies to look to environmental data before making business decisions, reports RNZ.

New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions have risen once again, largely driven by climbing road transport emissions, and fossil fuel-generated electricity production, reports Stuff.

Despite all the evidence of climate change and environmental degradation, New Zealand is failing to take action, says climate scientist James Renwick in The Spinoff.