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  Transition to a zero carbon built environment

Climate change has big implications for the building industry. It has been estimated that buildings are directly and indirectly responsible for up to 20% of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions.

The goal of the BRANZ Transition to zero-carbon programme is that by 2050, the building and construction industry is delivering net-zero carbon buildings in an affordable way.

To provide research support for an industry-led transition to a zero-carbon built environment:

  • decarbonising across the whole building lifecycle
  • encouraging industry leadership and decision-making to manage climate change mitigation. 

Collaborative evidenced-based approach
Engagement with stakeholders identified a number of key needs:

  • solid evidence - we need science to help drive policy and solutions
  • evidence-backed pathways to change behaviour and bring low carbon solutions and materials into the mainstream
  • leadership and vision - we need to influence key decision-makers
  • a holistic approach, involving not just the building and construction industry but also the banking, finance and other sectors.

A collaborative programme approach is necessary because: 

  • the timing is urgent
  • it will build wider support for leadership and action
  • it will build wider capability for industry to respond in an inclusive manner
  • there are many knowledge gaps to be addressed.

The programme moves from evidence to pathways to solutions:  

  • Evidence: Use research to fill the gaps in our knowledge.
  • Pathways: Use the evidence to create net-zero carbon pathways for the industry.
  • Solutions: Design, develop and implement solutions that give net-zero carbon outputs for all building products, processes, and practices.

Key people
Dr Casimir MacGregor - Programme Leader
Casimir MacGregor is a senior social scientist at BRANZ. His research includes regulatory responses to the role of buildings in mitigating and adapting to climate change (with MBIE), an energy epidemiology of health settings, and a new study (with University of Otago Business School) on how industry is preparing for climate change.

Dr David Dowdell - Programme Science Leader
David Dowdell is a Principal Scientist at BRANZ. His key areas of research interest include the application of life cycle assessment (LCA) to building design and construction and supply chain traceability of construction products.

Programme Advisory Group: The programme will be supported by a Programme Advisory Group with two sub-groups:

  1. The Science Leadership sub-group provides specialist advice to the programme, supports research quality and helps to develop research capability.
  2. The Industry Engagement sub-group provides guidance on industry issues, concerns and experiences, helping turn research solutions into practical action.

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Invitation to collaborate
BRANZ is working with partners from across New Zealand but we need to grow capability and connections:Invitation to collaborate

  • more people with knowledge along the building supply chain and life cycle (from design, products and construction to demolition and waste reduction)
  • across and within research, policy and industry communities.

BRANZ would like to hear from stakeholders - including universities, industry and other research providers - around what could be done in partnership to support capability growth. This could include (but should not be limited to) support with joint-curriculum development or student scholarships. We would also welcome new ways to collaborate, including with industry.

Contact us

For more information, or if you are interested in collaborating with us, please get in touch.