Green Building Council Response To Emissions Reduction Plan Consultation
Green Building Council response to emissions reduction plan consultation | Government ideas to slash climate change pollution ‘more waffle than brunch time in Ponsonby’
Responding to today’s (Wednesday) launch of the government’s consultation on how to slash climate change pollution, Green Building Council chief executive Andrew Eagles said:
“There are more cranes in Auckland now than in Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Chicago combined. And the buildings those cranes are constructing, and all their climate change emissions, are going to be around for decades.
“If Aotearoa is going to acheive the emissions reduction we need to, then it’s time to start making all those buildings as close to zero carbon as possible – both in the way they’re built, and the way they operate and use energy.
“That’s why it’s great to see this consultation have a vision to ‘significantly reduce building-related emissions as soon as possible’. And talk of measures like energy performance certificates is really encouraging too. These certificates, which encourage transparency around energy use, have had huge benefits in Australia, saving over seven million tonnes of carbon, and a billion dollars in energy bills.
“It’s good news too to see the possible expansion of the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme. Cosy, well-insulated homes are great for our health and comfort, and for reducing emissions.
“However we don’t need another discussion document to start rolling out these programs ambitiously right now. Let’s get on with it.
“Besides our concern that we’re not rolling out proven plans immediately, we’re also not impressed with woolly wording in the government document. For example, ‘exploring a range of actions to lower emissions from buildings’ is neither a strategy nor a plan. It’s a vague collection of words which has more waffle than brunch time in Ponsonby.”
New economic analysis shows that energy performance certificates on buildings could have a net benefit of almost $600 for every tonne of carbon not emitted.
The report, by Sense Partners, found that ‘A mandatory disclosure scheme applied to a buildings base energy performance could represent present value benefits between $117.5m and $181.3m over a 10-year period at a cost of $60m - $70m. Such a policy could abate between 113,200 and 174,900 tonnes of CO2 eq over a 10-year period at a net benefit of $597/tonne.’
Buildings are responsible for around 20 per cent of New Zealand’s carbon footprint, making the building sector a vital part of the government’s ambition of a zero carbon Aotearoa.
Buildings cause climate change emissions in two ways. The first way is when the construction materials, such as steel or concrete, are produced. Building experts call these ‘embodied emissions’. The second way is when buildings use energy for everyday things like heating, lighting, watching television and boiling the jug. These are called ‘operational emissions’.
Two years ago, the Green Building Council released the first ever raft of solutions to slash emissions from the sector in a roadmap, highlighting key milestones the government should hit.
These included improving the Building Code to ensure zero energy buildings, restricting fossil fuel boilers in new buildings, energy efficency labelling for buildings, and government, as the most significant occupier of buildings in New Zealand, to lead the way with their own buildings.