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Energy efficiency boost to building code

Friday, 14 July 2000 Media Statement

Energy efficiency boost to building code


Energy Minister Pete Hodgson today announced changes to the building code to improve the energy efficiency of New Zealand houses and commercial buildings.

Mr Hodgson said the changes to the code will help reduce the national demand for energy, defer the need for new energy generation capacity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The new requirements will generate energy cost savings of around $800,000 from new houses built each year, and these savings will increase annually,” Mr Hodgson said. "The savings would be up to $400 a year per house."

The building code sets mandatory minimum performance standards for new construction. Changes have been made to clause H1 of the code, which deals specifically with energy efficiency issues. Currently 20 percent of new homes are still being built to the old energy inefficient 1977 standard.

Key changes to the clause will:

 improve minimum insulation levels in houses in cooler areas of the country, comprising the South Island and the central North Island volcanic plateau;
 Introduce specific limits on heat loss and lighting energy levels for commercial buildings;
 set maximum heat loss requirements for storage water heaters and pipe work in new domestic hot water systems.

“The slight increase in cost from meeting the new insulation standards is more than offset by savings in heating costs," Mr Hodgson said. "Add to that the value of extra comfort and warmth and this is an investment that will rapidly pay for itself.”

In commercial buildings there are unlikely to be any significant effects on capital costs. Any extra costs for insulation are expected to be more than off-set by the improved lighting design requirement which, on average, will reduce the number of light fittings installed.

There will be a six month lead-in period before new buildings must comply with the new clause H1, although builders will be encouraged to comply earlier.

EECA and the Building Industry Authority will run information and education seminars over the next six months to brief the building industry and local authorities on the changes and their implications.

EECA will also be developing and promoting measures for best practice above the ‘acceptable minimum’ standards of clause H1.

ENDS

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