A zero carbon roadmap for Aotearoa’s buildings


Buildings have a significant role to play in bringing about a low carbon economy. A report by Thinkstep  shows that the construction and operation of buildings is responsible for around 20% of our domestic emissions (net of emissions from traded goods). About half of this is from the construction of buildings and infrastructure and half from operating buildings.

New Zealand Green Building Council’s existing tools, Green Star, Homestar and NABERSNZ, already put a central focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions but we think the time is right to release certification specifically relating to achieving net zero carbon.

It is in this context that the New Zealand Green Building Council launched Net Zero Carbon Roadmap for Aotearoa   on 24 September 2019. This roadmap sets out the steps that New Zealand needs to take to get all our buildings zero carbon by 2050 and all new buildings zero carbon by 2030. 

The New Zealand Green Building Council is asking building owners, developers and tenants to indicate their support for this revolutionary shift and signal their commitment to zero carbon in the following ways

  • Building owners to start certifying their existing buildings to zero carbon in 2020 and have all their buildings zero carbon by 2030.
  • Building developers construct their new buildings to zero carbon, and 20% less embodied carbon, by 2025.
  • Tenants inform their landlords in 2020 that they will be seeking zero carbon-rated buildings in their leases by 2025.

To ensure zero carbon buildings in Aotearoa, we're also calling on Government to

  • Set a 10-year trajectory to ensure new buildings are zero energy under the Building Code by 2030. To achieve this we propose three updates to the Building Code in 2022, 2026 and 2030, including restricting fossil fuel combustion in new buildings by 2026 and eliminating their use in new buildings by 2030.
  • Require energy-efficiency labelling on existing buildings (residential and non-residential of more than 1,000m2) when they are sold or leased by 2024. Government can also lead with procurement declaring that, from January 2021, NABERSNZ energy-efficiency ratings will be required on the base buildings in leases of buildings of more than 1,000m2 for government agencies or ministries, rising to require 4 star NABERSNZ from October 2024.
  • Ensure that the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, New Zealand Defence Force and Department of Corrections lead an all-of-government shift to verify their new buildings as sustainable and having lower embodied carbon from June 2020.

The Zero Carbon Road Map for Aotearoa's Buildings was proudly supported by Argosy, Bayleys, Precinct, Warren and MahoneyResene and Beca.