CEO update: Our climate

04 August 2022

Aotearoa now has a plan for how we adapt to the effects of climate change. Released this week by Climate Change Minister James Shaw, the National Adaptation Plan aims to provide a blueprint for more climate resilient communities. 

“Most of our existing homes and buildings were located without ongoing climate change in mind and built to perform under climate conditions at the time. However, as the climate changes, an increasing number of those homes and buildings are at risk of becoming less liveable or being damaged or destroyed.”

While these plans should have been put together years ago, it highlights not only the need to consider how we’re building and planning our towns and cities, but helps further invigorate the efforts we’re making to tackle our sector’s contribution to the climate crisis.

We are proud that Homestar, Green Star and Green Star Communities include measures to improve resilience to climate change on reducing overheating, improving sustainable urban drainage and reducing water shortages. Councils and others that want a more resilient built environment can incentivise lower carbon more resilient buildings through subsidies or incentives to take up green rating tools and to specify these climate resilience credits in the tools.

Efforts to tackle our sector's footprint are underway, and having just rounded out the financial year, I’m optimistic that momentum is building.

There have been over a thousand professionals trained to deliver more sustainable buildings in the last 12 months. We certified a record number of homes and buildings this year, and have smashed our goals for new registrations with a rapidly growing pipeline of innovative, sustainability-driven developments coming on stream. Together we’re transforming the construction and property sectors to start thinking about, and acting on, the need to do things differently.

While we’re thrilled with how things have progressed in the last 12 months we’re really going to need to knuckle down and push further, faster. Work is already underway to strengthen our tools and push the sector even more.

You can now register for Homestar v5, a pathway to reducing our residential new build emissions dramatically and creating high-performance homes. If you want to be ready for the coming Building for Climate Change programme build to v5 and measure your embodied carbon through the Homestar Embodied Carbon Calculator.

We’ve strengthened the focus on embodied carbon in buildings also with an updated Green Star version (registration under the old 1.0 version ends in October). The team is already busy working on adapting Green Star Buildings for Aotearoa which will be a massive step toward zero carbon construction.

One of the key challenges our sector faces is a consistent way of measuring embodied carbon. Currently different embodied carbon calculators give vastly different answers when assessing the same building. The NZGBC is working on guidance and a calculator for the sector so that embodied carbon calculations are easily comparable. We expect to have that available in the next few months.

A huge thank you to all our members and supporters for your hard work advocating for change, walking the talk, and sharing your knowledge and passion to drive a better built Aotearoa. As we see the effects of climate change really starting to bite and look to the future I am optimistic that together we can deliver a healthier, lower carbon Aotearoa.