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  Climate Change

Our climate is changing, with big implications for the building industry. BRANZ is working with partners to help the industry reduce greenhouse gas emissions and be better prepared to cope with the changes.

The work comes under the umbrella of the Transition to a Zero-Carbon Built Environment programme. The aim of this programme is that by 2050, the building and construction industry is delivering net-zero carbon buildings in an affordable way.

Climate patterns have always changed, but significant changes now under way have been attributed to human activities. Increasing levels of gases such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from burning coal, oil and gas are acting like a greenhouse, lifting temperatures.

With greater awareness and focus on climate change as a result of its impact on people and the environment, it is becoming increasingly important to understand and mitigate causes, such as gas emissions. The built environment has a responsibility to adapt and mitigate the effects of its products and processes as it contributes 15-20% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand, primarily made up of the long-lived gas carbon dioxide (CO2).

We need to mitigate emissions through adopting:

  • solutions and tools for designing and constructing buildings with a long useful life and low embodied carbon over their life cycle.
  • designing buildings so that they can be deconstructed for reuse or recycling and/or repurposed for the changing needs of future building users.

As part of the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, New Zealand has made a number of commitments. The key ones are:

  • The Paris Agreement, a United Nations initiative that commits us to achieving a 30% reduction of our 2005 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The agreement also aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions between 2050 and 2100.
  • The Climate Change Response Act 2002, a New Zealand law amended in 2019 with a commitment to reduce net emissions of greenhouse gases (except methane from plants and animals) to zero by 2050.
Other pages in this web resource

Climate change and the built environment

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the construction industry

Transition to a zero carbon built environment

Programme objectives and projects 

BRANZ tools and resources for climate action