Published 6 July 2020, reposted 8 July 2020:
Building & Construction Minister Jenny Salesa & Climate Change Minister James Shaw launched a programme on Friday aiming to set a firm course for the sector to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Unfortunately, the ministers’ release, and one from the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment about the programme it’s to run, contained more hot air than helpful pointers.
Ms Salesa said: “The Building for Climate Change programme will reduce greenhouse gas emissions during the construction of buildings, and while we are living & working in them. It will also prepare our buildings for the ongoing effects of climate change, such as rising temperatures & increased rainfall. It means changing the way we think about building & construction. Energy efficiency & carbon emissions will become considerations when building – just as important as cost & aesthetics.
“To help us reach this new state, changes will be made to current building laws, targets will be set for energy use & carbon emissions, and incentives will be introduced to encourage people to think innovatively about the construction, design & operation of buildings.”
Ms Salesa said the Government expected to consult in early 2021 on the first Building for Climate Change initiatives, which would expand insulation & glazing requirements in new homes to make them warmer, drier & better ventilated.
Later, existing buildings would also have to change.
She said this long-term programme would run for the next 20-30 years, with twin aims of reducing emissions during construction & operation and preparing buildings to withstand climate changes.”
The ministry added: “Over the next year, we will be focused on engaging with the building & construction sector to test ideas, and to make sure we get this right. From next year, a group of initiatives will be launched that will kickstart changes in the building sector.”
Ms Salesa continued: “We’re planning on making some adjustments to current building laws – both the Building Act & the Building Code.
“We’ll also focus on starting to change people’s behaviour, and the way they think about designing, constructing & operating buildings. We’ll do this through incentives and encouraging innovation.
“At first, we’ll be focusing on how we can design, construct & operate new buildings better. In the future, it’s possible that changes may need to be made to existing buildings as well. Any changes we do make will be thought through carefully, and we’ll talk to the people who will be affected by the changes first, and provide a chance for feedback wherever possible.”
The ministry statement added: “We’ll be setting targets around energy use & carbon emissions that focus on getting New Zealand where it needs to be. At the start, we should be able to reach the goals through good current practice, but over time, the goals will be increased to make greater carbon savings & emissions reductions.”
Ms Salesa said the Government had signed up to a joint statement with Australia, Canada & the US to work together to develop building code responses to the changing climate.
Attribution: Ministerial & MBIE releases, MBIE information page.