Building a more sustainable construction sector

  • Hon Jenny Salesa
  • Hon James Shaw
Building and Construction Climate Change

A new programme, which sets a firm course for the Building and Construction sector to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has been announced by the Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa.

“A significant amount of New Zealand’s carbon emissions come from the building and construction sector.  If we’re serious about reducing emissions, and reaching Carbon Zero by 2050, we need a bold plan to address this,” Jenny Salesa says.

“The Building for Climate Change programme will reduce greenhouse gas emissions during the construction of buildings, and while we are living and working in them.  It will also prepare our buildings for the ongoing effects of climate change, such as rising temperatures and increased rainfall. It means changing the way we think about building and construction. Energy efficiency and carbon emissions will become core considerations when building – just as important as cost and aesthetics.

“To help us reach this new state, changes will be made to current building laws, targets will be set for energy use and carbon emissions, and incentives will be introduced to encourage people to think innovatively about the construction, design and operation of buildings,” Jenny Salesa says.

She said the Government had recently signed up to a joint statement with Australia, Canada and the United States to work together to develop building code responses to the changing climate. It would allow the Government to gather information and insights from other countries, to help develop responses to climate change here in New Zealand. 

The Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw said New Zealand’s building and construction sector could play a really important role in tackling the climate crisis and creating a better future.

“Most New Zealanders want to know that their homes, and the places they go to work and spend time in at the weekends are part of the solution to climate change.

“Because of this programme, more of us will be living and working in warmer, drier, and healthier buildings. It is another step our Government has taken towards ensuring climate-friendly solutions are a part of our everyday lives.

“We owe it to future generations to design and build better and more climate-friendly buildings. This programme will not only realise the full potential of the building and construction sector to help meet our climate change targets, but help create new jobs in communities all across the country,” James Shaw said.

The first Building for Climate Change initiatives, which expand insulation and glazing requirements in new homes – making them warmer, drier and better ventilated – are expected to be consulted on in early 2021. In the future, it’s likely that changes will also need to be made to existing buildings.

“With the health and wellbeing of our whanau, our tamariki and Papatūānuku at stake, we need to address this now,” Jenny Salesa says.

The programme will be run by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, working closely with the Building and Construction sector, other government agencies, key stakeholders, iwi, local government and communities. More information about the Building for Climate Change programme, including the Statement of Intent, can be found on the MBIE website.