Posted: 16 May 2022
What the plan means for the building and construction sector
The Emissions Reduction Plan sets out the actions we will take to meet our first emissions budget (2022-2025) and set us on the path to meet the second (2026 – 2030) and third (2031 – 2035) emissions budgets. This will enable us to transition to a low-emissions future in a way that is achievable and affordable.
Under the plan, building and construction initiatives have five key focus areas:
- Reducing the whole of life embodied carbon of buildings
- Accelerating the shift to low carbon buildings
- Improving the energy efficiency of buildings
- Shifting energy use away from fossil fuels
- Establishing the foundations for further emissions reduction in the future.
Learn more about the Emissions Reduction Plan – environment.govt.nz
Emissions Reduction Plan and summary documents – environment.govt.nz
Setting the foundations for emissions reduction
Our climate change objectives will be achieved through a range of initiatives including regulatory change, incentives, technical tools, advice and education. The changes that will occur in the first emissions budget period (2022 – 2025) are aimed to set us up for further reductions in the future. The Building for Climate Change programme will work with the building and construction sector to get this right, through each step and initiative we implement.
This year, the Building for Climate Change team will be progressing regulatory changes to introduce reporting requirements and caps for embodied carbon and operational emissions in new buildings through the building consent system and Building Code. This will build on:
- the ‘Whole-of-life Embodied Carbon’ and ‘Transforming Operational Efficiency’ frameworks for emissions mitigation, which were consulted on in 2020,
- the proposed technical methodology for assessing the embodied carbon of new buildings, published in February 2022, and
- the operational efficiency assessment methodology which will be published later this year.
You will be able to have your say on the regulatory proposals through a public consultation document, to be released later this year.
The Whole-of-Life Embodied Carbon Framework – mbie.govt.nz
The Transforming Operational Efficiency Framework – mbie.govt.nz
Your feedback is being reflected in the work we’re doing
In addition, the Building for Climate Change team is progressing proposed changes to the Building Act to:
- incorporate climate change goals more clearly into the Act,
- introduce new requirements for waste minimisation, and
- introduce mandatory energy performance certificates for existing buildings.
These proposals are being developed based on feedback and submissions received during consultation on the Emissions Reduction Plan and the emissions reduction frameworks. We are working closely with building sector stakeholders as we refine these changes.
We are also developing a behaviour change programme to raise awareness, reduce barriers and encourage action to reduce the climate impact of building and construction. We will also be progressing work on data, tools and databases that will be needed to measure and report on building emissions.
We will be working to provide additional information and education to the sector and consumers as these changes are rolled out.
Ensuring we’re connected
The Building for Climate Change team is also working closely with key partners in the sector and other government agencies to drive actions in the Emissions Reduction Plan, including:
- With the Construction Sector Accord, exploring supports to help construction businesses move to a low-emissions business model
- Supporting Government Procurement Roles and the Procurement Guide to Reducing Carbon Emissions in Building and Construction
- Managing the phase-out of fossil fuels, including fossil gas
- Supporting the use of project management and prefabrication to reduce road transport emissions
- Developing a climate innovation platform to foster innovation across the sector
- Investigating barriers to reusing, repurposing, and recycling building materials; and
- Working to make sure future building code changes support us in achieving our climate goals.
What can you do now?
We’re already seeing parts of the sector shifting practices and approaches to reduce their emissions:
- 5,197 homeowners have invested in Homestar ratings for their homes, and an additional 18,037 registrations for homes being designed to Homestar have been made
- the Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA) is developing guidance to help steel manufacturers calculate and understand their carbon footprint
- the concrete sector has reduced its emissions from cement by 15 percent between 2005 and 2018
- a timber design centre is being established to encourage and facilitate greater use of timber in building design and construction
- Green Gorilla has established a waste processing facility which diverts more than 70 per cent of incoming construction and demolition waste from Auckland landfills.
The Homestar rating tool – nzgbc.org.nz
Zero carbon steel – hera.org.nz
NZ Concrete Industry emissions reductions – concretenz.org.nz
Timber Design Centre – timberdesigncentre.co.nz
Auckland Waste Processing Facility – greengorilla.co.nz
If you would like to receive updates on what's happening in the Building for Climate Change programme, including any actions related to the Emissions Reduction Plan, please subscribe to our email database.