Building Act changes a major step towards better buildings for New Zealanders

05 December 2022

Today’s announcement that mandatory energy performance ratings and waste reduction could be embedded in the Building Act is a huge moment for better, more sustainable buildings, the New Zealand Green Building Council says.

“We know our homes and offices waste a tremendous amount of energy, and create a massive amount of waste when built. Today’s announcement finally embeds efforts to measure and reduce our sector’s impact,” Green Building Council chief executive Andrew Eagles says.

Find out more about the proposed changes here

Performance ratings to help reduce energy use

“Energy performance ratings will massively incentivise building owners to consider how much energy they use. As the saying goes - what gets measured gets managed.”

The announcement aligns with the Emissions Reduction Plan, and Climate Change Commission recommendation for government to put in place measures such as mandatory energy performance programmes by the end of this year. That call has been backed by leading organisations throughout New Zealand and many major property and construction companies.

“The majority of buildings that will be standing in 2050 have already been built, and must perform at zero-carbon levels to help meet our climate obligations. We’ll never meet our 1.5 degree climate targets without seriously curbing our energy use and eliminating fossil fuels.”

Government departments are already required to obtain NABERSNZ certificates on buildings they lease, and many in the private sector are already doing it voluntarily.

Almost 100 New Zealand buildings and tenancies have a current NABERSNZ rating to benchmark their energy performance. Together they cover 860,000 square metres of office space and consume almost 670million kWh of electricity per year – enough to power over 83,000 homes.

“For most building owners it’s as simple as installing a metering system and taking stock. There may be some upfront costs to get setup, but it’s going to help save a great deal on energy bills in the long run.”

The NABERS programme has been compulsory for many office buildings in Australia for years, and since it was created two decades ago it has helped users save over AUS$1.4 billion in energy bills, and 9 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Mandatory waste minimisation plans

With construction and demolition waste accounting for as much as half our landfill’s waste, there is a great deal of work to do to reduce our sector’s impact.

“Gone are the days when you can just chuck everything in the skip and be done with it. We’ve seen projects divert as much as 90% of their waste from landfill just through prioritising effective design and use of materials, reuse, and using building recycling services.”

Reducing waste has obvious benefits for our carbon reductions and helps projects reduce costs through wasted materials and reuse.

ENDS

About the New Zealand Green Building Council

The New Zealand Green Building Council is a team of passionate advocates for better buildings, because we know that better buildings mean healthier, happier Kiwis.

Created by the sector, and representing over 700 organisations and companies who believe in a better built Aotearoa. We advocate for regulatory and industry-wide change, provide independent and trusted certification, and support New Zealand on its path to a low carbon future.

The NZGBC’s Green Star and Homestar certifications provide a framework for emissions reduction, designing out waste, and energy efficiency.

About NABERSNZ

NABERSNZ is an adaptation of the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS). Launched in 1999, NABERS is widely considered to be a world-leading energy rating tool for commercial buildings. It is mandatory for large office buildings in Australia.

NABERSNZ is licensed to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and is administered by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC). Ratings are carried out by trained assessors, and provide a star rating between 0-6.