BRANZ recommendations for climate action
BRANZ is playing a key role in examining how climate change will impact on our built environment and has made three recommendations for climate action:
Strategy 1: Increase energy efficiency
Our research recommends that, for buildings (whether new or existing), there is a need to improve energy efficiency, decrease the energy supply carbon footprint and manage peak demand. These measures could be taken up by government and industry in a number of ways, such as:
- encouraging passive solar design in all new builds
- providing incentives to improve thermal performance in existing buildings
- reviewing Building Code clause H1 Energy efficiency alongside clauses E3 Internal moisture and G4 Ventilation
- encouraging low-carbon fuel options for space and water heating
- increasing renewables supplying grid electricity
- investigating the feasibility of incorporating carbon performance into the Building Code
- providing ongoing tracking of building carbon performance
- providing additional, practical education resources to help consumers and the building industry better understand the implications of design choices from a carbon perspective over the building's lifetime.
Strategy 2: Reduce embodied carbon
The research also found a need to reduce the embodied carbon in construction materials, which could be done through measures such as:
- greater application of environmental rating tools such as NABERSNZ and Green Star, and tools that facilitate the evaluation of building environmental impacts, such as BRANZ's LCAQuick tool
- producing less construction waste and increasing opportunities for reuse, recycling or recovery of waste
- incentivising use of materials that provide lower embodied and life cycle greenhouse gas impacts.
Strategy 3: Strategic leadership for climate action
Four key areas of climate action that should be the focus of the transition to a net-zero carbon built environment are:
- coordinated climate change action
- climate change literacy
- actualising change
- changing beliefs and practice.