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  Sustainable Construction

As part of the Evaluations and Building Sustainability section at BRANZ, the Sustainable Construction Team provides resources for the construction industry in the form of:

These activities are undertaken for a wide range of clients on a wide range of building-related sustainability issues. Although the team focus is on the environmental aspects of sustainability, economic and, to a lesser extent, social aspects are also examined.


The group has the following areas of expertise:

  • The design of energy-efficient buildings and building services.
  • Building energy and environmental measurement, auditing, benchmarking and reporting.
  • Post-occupancy assessment and evaluation.
  • Environmental modelling of building materials, components and whole buildings.
  • Life cycle assessment.
  • Environmental product declarations (EPDs).
  • Cradle-to-grave material waste management.
  • Climate change impacts, remediation and adaptation strategies.
  • Technical support for guidelines, codes, standards and tools for buildings.
  • Spatial distribution and trends in building activity.
  • Inclusive design for all occupants, no matter their age or ability.
  • Training, guidance and support for a wide variety of interest groups.

The group has special interests in the interaction of materials and systems within the built environment and is able to apply robust statistical processes to help solve cross-disciplinary problems.


The group has the following existing research projects:

  • Specifications for High Performing Houses: This provides group home builders, designers and architects with up-to-date and accurate guidance on how to build better in terms of thermal envelope design to improve comfort and energy efficiency.
  • Advanced Residential Construction Techniques: This involves developing a compendium of feasible systems and techniques that will enable improvements in productivity and efficiency in residential construction.
  • Delivery of Successful Urban Intensity in Auckland: This will identify how the industry needs to change to successfully meet the needs of Auckland's urban intensification goals.
  • Environmental Profiling: This involves developing a framework and process that aligns with standards on sustainability of construction products and buildings, making it easier for New Zealand manufacturers to consistently represent the environmental performance of their products.
  • Measuring our Sustainability: This involves developing a robust environmental measure of New Zealand's new-build housing stock to track progress (in the form of trends) over time.
  • Good Homes for Low Income Tenants: The purpose is to understand the energy and indoor environment features that have the biggest benefit in low-income existing rental dwellings in terms of comfort and capital.

Analytical tools

The group has the following analytical tools available to use freely and explore:

Educational information

The group has the following sustainable information available:
LevelREBRIUniversal Design


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A draft climate change sustainability index for houses, SR095

Assessment of the need to adapt buildings in New Zealand to the impacts of climate change, SR179

Bio-derived polymers and composites, SR192

BU568 Low-impact homes
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BU564 Trombe walls
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BU533 Green roofs - an overview
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BU530 Straw bale construction
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BU524 Solar water heating
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BU523 Reducing waste from building sites
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BU503 Rainwater harvesting in commercial and industrial buildings
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BU486 BRANZ Household Energy End-Use Project (HEEP)
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Business opportunities in sustainable housing

Climate change adaptation, SR130

Climate change impacts in New Zealand: A cross-disciplinary assessment of the need to adapt buildings, with focus on housing

Climate change impacts on building performance

Climate change mitigation and adaptation tools for homes and offices in New Zealand

Cradle to the grave - LCA tools for sustainable development

Developing a sustainability framework for New Zealand homes

Fibre reinforced polymer composites, SR172

Housing life cycle and sustainability - part 1, SR214

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