Green Building Council launches zero carbon road map

Council launches zero carbon road map for Aotearoa’s buildings, alongside first ever zero carbon certification for NZ buildings.

The Green Building Council is set to launch a zero carbon road map for Aotearoa’s buildings, alongside the first ever zero carbon certification for buildings in New Zealand, developed with Enviro-Mark Solutions in Parliament today.

The road map is the first comprehensive raft of solutions intended to tackle the problem of building and construction climate change emissions.

Emissions from the construction sector have increased by 66 per cent in a decade and the built environment is now responsible for approximately 20 per cent of New Zealand’s carbon footprint.

Constructing and renovating New Zealand buildings also creates climate pollution equivalent to one million cars on the road every year.

Alongside its call for the government to enshrine zero carbon buildings in the Building Code – the minimum legal standards to which buildings have to be constructed – and a demand for energy efficiency declarations when selling or leasing, the Green Building Council is also asking for key government ministries and departments to ensure all their buildings are independently verified as sustainable, and to slash ‘embodied’ carbon.

Embodied carbon refers to the climate change pollution emitted during the manufacture and construction of a building and its materials, and is separate from the carbon emitted during the buildings’ operation for heating and lighting.

Andrew Eagles, CEO of the Green Building Council, said New Zealand will not achieve the healthier zero carbon future it deserves unless it curtails emissions from the building and construction sector.

“If we don’t cut these emissions, then the government will fail to achieve its zero carbon goal,” he said.

“That’s why we have identified the significant milestones that the government and industry must achieve to decarbonise New Zealand’s buildings. These include an improved Building Code, significantly increased transparency around the energy efficiency of buildings, and a call for key government ministries and departments to lead a revolutionary shift in green buildings.

“When all parts of this roadmap are in place, the building and construction sector will be zero carbon – the greatest achievement ever for this industry, or any industry, in Aotearoa.”

Dr Ann Smith, CEO of Enviro-Mark Solutions, said despite the urgent need to reduce carbon, emissions are still rising.

“There is widespread agreement that we need to stay within a 1.5 degree Celsius limit to global warming,” she said.

“We can do this, and at the same time unlock business opportunities and improve wellbeing. Reducing emissions in the built environment is essential if we are to help achieve New Zealand’s commitments.

“Partnerships with like-minded organisations such as the New Zealand Green Business Council are a key part of Enviro-Mark Solutions’ strategy to ensure that real reductions to the atmosphere are achieved.”

A Zero Carbon Road Map for Aotearoa’s Buildings is available here.

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