And we’re off!

04 February 2020

Photo by Tim Swaan on Unsplash

The next few months are set to be some of the most important ever for all of us who want our buildings to be less polluting and our homes to be healthy.

Sadly, the last few weeks have been tinged with a sullen, orange backdrop as our friends in Australia have faced terrible bushfires. Kia kaha Australia.

Climate change will make disasters like the bushfires even worse, scientists have warned. And, with the built environment responsible for 20 percent of New Zealand’s carbon footprint, it’s vital that we continue to build on the recent gains we have made, together, to make our buildings cleaner, greener, better places for people.

With that in mind, the recent government announcement on getting coal boilers out of public buildings was a big win for all of us. Getting government to lead, by getting fossil fuel boilers out of public buildings, was a key ask in the Zero Carbon Road Map for Aotearoa’s Buildings, which we launched at Parliament last year during World Green Building Week. Thanks to all of you who have shown your support for the road map.

Following Ministry of Health guidance that “all new builds, fit-outs and renovations should use a certified sustainability rating system such as Green Star” more and more healthcare facilities are certifying to green standards.  Christchurch’s Hillmorton Hospital is targeting Green Star, as announced just last week. This follows Taranaki DHB, Northern DHB, Southern DHB, Counties Manukau DHB and others who are committed to building to Green Star or are already building to it.

Discussions are also moving ahead with other Government departments. If you work with a Government department or council and you want support to make the case to build to green standards, sing out. We can help.

We are having an impact, and Government is listening, and taking action.

But although these steps by Government are important, it’s not enough and much more must be done. I was fortunate enough to be present at the recent announcement, and spoke with several Ministers, including the Prime Minister, who seemed warm to this message.

One way that we can all tell the Government to do more is by making a submission on the renewable energy and energy efficiency consultation that is running right now until the 28 February. Energy efficiency is an often overlooked but hugely important means of reducing our use of fossil fuels. We’ll be submitting around mid-February, and making that submission public, so do keep an eye out on our website and our social media channels.

Did you know that new houses in Aotearoa pump out five times too much climate pollution? That’s the finding of some recent research carried out by our friends at BRANZ and Massey University in a first-of-its-kind study.

We’ll be exploring vital themes such as this, and joining together all of us who want our homes to be better, less polluting, healthier places, at the Housing Summit on 19th May. This event looks set to be the most impactful housing event of the year. The team here are working on some great ideas, and we can’t wait to see the hundreds of you who will attend. Make sure you’re one of them!

As always, we’re always open to you feedback and suggestions, so do feel free to get in touch.

Noho ora mai,

Andrew Eagles