Green Party announces plan for net zero energy buildings

If re-elected, the Green Party would work towards net zero energy new buildings by 2030 in order to accelerate the transition to a low carbon future for Aotearoa and a cleaner, safer planet for our kids and grandkids.

Green Party Co-leader, James Shaw announced the party’s sustainable buildings policy during a visit to PwC’s offices in Wellington, which are located on Wellington’s waterfront in a building that has achieved a 5 Star office design rating under Green Star.

“Most New Zealanders want to know that their homes, and the places they go to work and spend time in at the weekends are part of the solution to climate change. However, that is not the case right now. 

“Successive governments did little to reduce the carbon footprint of our homes and buildings, which are now responsible for approximately 20 percent of New Zealand’s carbon footprint. Emissions from the construction sector have also increased by two thirds over the last decade. If we continue on this path, we risk locking in higher emissions for decades to come.

The Green Party would overhaul the Building Code and work towards net zero energy new builds by 2030.

“Over the last three years, the Greens in Government have put in place one of the world’s most ambitious frameworks for tackling climate change, laying the foundations for a zero carbon Aotearoa New Zealand by 2050. As part of this, we have also started to reduce emissions from the building and construction sector by making sure all new Kāinga Ora public homes are energy efficient and have launched the Building for Climate Change programme to improve how we build while reducing carbon emissions.

“However, zero carbon Aotearoa is only possible if we go further and faster than we have been able to this term, and take urgent action to cut emissions from all buildings. This means rethinking the way we design, build and use our homes and workplaces so that they have a positive impact on our climate and natural environment.

“Our plan for net zero energy buildings by 2030 is another example of why the Green Party needs to be around the decision making table and a part of the next Government,” James Shaw said. 

Another core part of the Green Party’s sustainable building plans is the introduction of mandatory energy efficiency ratings for all commercial and residential buildings, both new and existing.

“Mandatory energy efficiency ratings for all buildings would be a great step forward and the difference it would make is huge, because when we understand the impact a building is having on the climate, we can work to reduce it. We were pleased to see Labour picking up this idea last week for homeowners, but with the Greens at the table working in partnership with the Labour Party we will be able to go further and faster, creating a truly sustainable buildings sector,” James Shaw said.

The Green Party would also make sure government leads by example and builds its own building to high environmental standards.

“Improving the way we design and use buildings would make a significant contribution towards meeting the climate change targets the Greens in Government have put in place. Next term, we want to make sure that climate change is at the centre of how we build and use buildings in Aotearoa,” James Shaw said.

The Greens’ plan for sustainable buildings also includes:

  • Creating a Rental Warrant of Fitness to complement the existing Healthy Home Standards
  • Kick-starting Aotearoa New Zealand’s sustainable building materials industry, with a particular focus on scaling up sustainable timber processing and prefabricated buildings. The Green Party’s Farming for the Future plan also set a target for government building contracts to use sustainable local timber
  • Supporting green roofs and other “soft” infrastructure
  • Ensure new government buildings are built to high environmental standards

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