New Zealand has made a commitment to being carbon neutral by 2050. The standards of how we live are beginning to change and will continue to do so until we have met our obligations in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement.
According to the MBIE (Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment), approximately 20% of New Zealand’s carbon emissions are created through the heating and cooling of our buildings.
MBIE states “The Building & Construction Sector needs to play it’s part in meeting this goal” and aims to start bringing out code changes in 2024.
So what is changing?
There are two main areas of construction the MBIE wants to adapt:
- Transforming Operational Efficiency – Changing the way our homes use energy (e.g. heating & cooling, hot water, lighting, ventilation etc).
- Whole-of-Life Embodied Carbon Emissions Reduction – This looks more at the sustainability of the materials being used to build our homes.
Energy usage is measured in kwh/m2-a (average electricity consumption per square meter). Currently, NZ homes are averaging at 120kwh/m2-a.
In 2024, the first stage of changes to the Building Code will take place. The indication of this change is that all new builds must not exceed 60kwh/m2-a in power consumption (half of what is used now). To make these changes, homes will need to have upgraded insulation and heat recovery ventilation units fitted – the problem we are facing currently is NZ is experiencing a huge demand for housing, a lot of which is being converted to new builds.
A huge majority of these new homes are being built in the most affordable way possible (the minimum building code standard), which often means extras like upgraded insulation, windows, air tight wraps and ventilation are not at the forefront of the new home owners mind. It is a common mindset to spend more money on aesthetics than on functionality. However, this way of thinking will result in huge losses or homes that are unable to be sold.
By 2024, your standard home will no longer meet the minimum requirements for living. If you go to sell this home, it would be like selling a single glazed home with no insulation in todays’ market. Please keep this in mind before you build! It is far easier and more cost effective to upgrade the structure of your home before it is built rather than a few years later before you try to sell it.
TIMELINE OF CHANGES:
60 kwh/m2-a by 2024
30 kwh/m2-a by 2028 (OUR CURRENT ENERGY EFFICIENT STANDARD)
15 kwh/m2-a by 2035 (PASSIVE HOUSE STANDARD)
To learn more about the changes to the building code: read the MBIE Building for Climate Change: Transforming Operational Efficiency document here
If you’re thinking of building, have a chat to our team to learn how we can help you secure your investment!