An amazing year for green buildings

04 December 2019

Photo by William Daigneault on Unsplash

We’ve just enjoyed our most successful year ever!

And it’s thanks to all of you, our members, sponsors, and everyone who is part of the movement for better homes and buildings in Aoteaora.

We reached more New Zealanders than ever before. We launched HomeFit, a tool to improve the health of our homes, and introduced an improved Green Star tool to champion and enable, lower carbon new buildings. Green Star can now be used for any building type. Hotels, hospitals, retail, industrial, education. They can all be assessed now.

This past year has seen the NZGBC – your organisation – at its most relevant. We have firmly situated ourselves, and the movement for better, healthier buildings, bang in the middle of two of the big issues facing our country: unhealthy homes, and climate change.

Hundreds of new homes and dozens of new buildings are set to be better, healthier places for New Zealanders thanks to Homestar and Green Star.

Green Star certifications are booming, as the message that it can be used for all types of buildings is really starting to resonate.

Notable projects include The Hotel Britomart, the very first Green Star hotel design, Waterfront Theatre, the first theatre to be certified in Australasia, Mighty Ape industrial building, BNZ office interiors, and the design rating for the hotly anticipated Commercial Bay Tower, plus Precinct’s Mason Brothers’ Building that achieved a 6 Star built certification.

Homestar continues to thrive with Panuku Development, HLC and a number of private developers such as Legacy Properties and retirement villages now requiring Homestar 6 and above as a mandatory minimum. This is also helped by the ANZ healthy homes loan providing a lower interest mortgage for homes verified to Homestar.

Over 24,000 people have now used HomeFit to check the health of their home, using our wildly successful free online assessment. This is an unprecedented level of engagement. And now landlords are using HomeFit to verify their properties meet the healthy homes standard. Use it to check your home. It is free and simple to use.

This year, we felt a real shift towards an expectation for buildings to now be certified. A big thanks to all of you who provided feedback, sponsored our work and events, sat on working groups and piloted the new tools through the process of improving and updating these tools. We’re continuously looking to refine and improve all our tools, so do please get in touch with any suggestions or questions.

The 2019 Green Property Summit, organised with our friends at The Property Council, created a buzz throughout the industry and a platform for further influential discussions.

In September, we held the most successful World Green Building Week ever in New Zealand. Thousands of Kiwis took part in panel discussions, building tours, webinars, movie nights, a photo competition and thought-provoking presentations, in some of the country’s best-known venues, including Parliament’s Bowen House, and Auckland Town Hall.

And we launched a Zero Carbon Roadmap for Aotearoa’s Buildings, alongside the first ever zero carbon certification for buildings in New Zealand, developed with our friends at Toitū Envirocare. The road map is the first comprehensive raft of solutions to tackle the problem of building and construction climate change emissions, and we’ve been really happy with the reception it’s received.

We have also increased our involvement in the regions thanks to speaking engagements and collaboration with local members, such as events in Nelson, Dunedin and Palmerston North with Beca. The Waikato Forum continues to deliver thought-provoking events with inspirational local expertise and projects.

This year saw the first Future Thinker of the Year award, for a young person displaying leadership in green buildings. We had a large number of strong candidates, highlighting the depth of knowledge and expertise in green building among our rangatahi. Against impressive competition, Kate Boylan, Sustainability Engineer at T&T became Future Thinker of the Year for 2019. We’ll be kicking off the search for our next Future Thinker of the Year in a couple of weeks, so do please keep an eye out.

Our highly popular webinars, are growing even more popular, and bringing an ever wider range of topics to a broader group of people. The introduction of our on-demand video library is a great resource for NZGBC professionals and our regional members.

You have asked us to advocate for change. We have been very focused on this. Minister Parkers’ statement that Government will be requiring NABERSNZ on the offices they lease is a key milestone. Sixty five Government departments and ministers will soon be seeking ratings on their buildings. Our advocacy to amend the building code continues.

In the last year, we’ve garnered more media exposure than we have ever seen before, and in just two years we’ve trebled our website visitors. We’re now well positioned as the trusted voice on healthy homes and better, greener buildings in New Zealand.

We’ve achieved all this together, with your support. Thank you for helping to deliver a healthier, cleaner, low carbon Aotearoa.

We’ll be taking a break from 20 December, and the office will open again on 6 January. Have a great Christmas, and enjoy some time with your loved ones.

The team here will be raring to go in 2020, and we’ll already working on some awesome plans for the Housing Summit on 19th May. It’s going to be a key moment in an election year for everyone who wants our homes to be healthier, better places for all New Zealanders, so make sure you’re going to be in the room!

Noho ora mai,

Andrew Eagles