Warm, Efficient Buildings Should Be High Priority
With the Government poised to massively fund infrastructure, now is the time to upgrade the country’s largest commercial and government owned buildings to the highest energy efficiency standard.
Warm roof and insulation expert John Simmons of Nuralite says as a country we need to seize the moment and invest in our existing buildings.
“With its enormous portfolio of properties – from offices to schools to hospitals – the Government is in a prime position to take the lead and upgrade to Net Zero energy,” he says.
“Before we install another wind turbine or dam another river, the number one priority for this country should be to focus on energy efficient buildings. Upgrading our stock of commercial buildings is something we can start doing today that will have huge energy savings for decades.”
Beca building scientist Shaan Cory estimates that if the 1,200 largest commercial buildings (over 3,500sqm) were upgraded to Net Zero energy it would save the electricity used by 330,000 homes. It would also save money and reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“The saved energy could be used elsewhere in New Zealand to power other energy consumers (for example electric cars or digital infrastructure) or not used in order to reduce climate change-related greenhouse gas emissions,” John says.
To be Net Zero a building must only consume energy from renewable sources or at least match imported energy from greenhouse gas-producing sources with onsite renewable generation.
Net Zero buildings typically feature a combination of insulated warm roofs, and walls, solar shading, optimised glazing, energy efficient lighting and heating, passive cooling and solar panels (photovoltaic generation).
The New Zealand Green Building Council has published “The Zero Carbon Road Map for Aotearoa's Buildings” to document a process to raise the standard of New Zealand’s buildings. This has the complete support of Nuralite.
“As a CarboNZero certified company, we are committed to helping New Zealand build better. 100% Net Zero Energy buildings should be New Zealand’s goal and with a warm roof system and other upgrades this is totally possible,” John says.
Nuralite’s warm roof system, comprising an insulation layer beneath a waterproof membrane, can be installed directly on top of existing flat roofs, existing metal roofs or above new roof structures.