Go electric – Green Building Council launches guide to ditching fossil fuels in our buildings

25 May 2023

The New Zealand Green Building Council has today released a comprehensive guide to help commercial buildings transition away from fossil fuels and towards efficient, renewable energy.

The built environment, including infrastructure, accounts for over 20% of New Zealand’s emissions. Fossil fuel use in buildings is a big part of the issue.

Fossil fuel use in buildings contributes 1.59 Mt CO2-equivalent per year – equivalent to over half a million passenger cars on New Zealand’s roads.

“The fact that we have organisations relying on pollution-belching gas and diesel to power their buildings in 2023 is unacceptable. Technology has moved on, and our planet demands we move on too,” says Green Building Council chief executive Andrew Eagles.

The guide released today outlines key steps businesses can take to retrofit existing buildings to be all-electric, and details what technology is available to replace things like natural gas systems with electric systems.

“The guide includes real examples of organisations who have successfully made the switch. These changes can be done now, all that’s missing is a bit of know-how and ambition.”

“Having a pathway to decarbonise is increasingly being demanded by investors, employees, tenants and consumers. Those who don’t risk being left behind with stranded assets. We’re also increasingly seeing electrification as a pathway to accessing sustainable finance.”

Alongside case studies from New Zealand and Australia, the guide covers the case for electrification, planning and key issues to consider when electrifying an existing building or portfolio. It also aims to address many of the persistent myths and barriers associated with electrification.

“Late last year the Government announced plans to introduce mandatory energy performance ratings. This will accelerate the shift to low carbon buildings and ditching fossil fuels in our buildings. Organisations can get ahead now through the steps laid out in this guide.”

Download a copy here