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Strengthen building regs says OECD

Strengthen building regs says OECDStrengthen building regs says OECD

An OECD report says New Zealand should consider modernising national building standards.

The report, an environmental performance review for the country, says our building standards are below standards required in many other OECD member countries.

New Zealand is one of the most urbanized countries in the world, with 86% of the population living in towns and cities of 1000 people or more, so the environmental footprint of cities is particularly important.

“The environmental performance of the housing stock in New Zealand cities is relatively poor. About 30% of New Zealand homes are poorly insulated and a quarter of homeowners and a third of renters report problems with dampness or mould.”

The report says that subsidies under Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes programme retrofitted about 15% of the national housing stock.

“To avoid retrofitting needs for new housing, the government should consider modernising national building standards… New Zealand operates different voluntary building performance rating tools. Making assessments (e.g. for energy performance) mandatory for certain buildings, and gradually rolling out requirements to a larger share of the housing stock, would encourage the market to factor in energy efficiency into property prices. Building performance could also be linked to fiscal instruments (e.g. development contributions in Wellington are lower for buildings with strong environmental performance), or ease regulatory requirements (e.g. granting additional floor area for high-performing buildings).”

The report finds that local authorities have implemented the Resources Management Act without national guidance in many areas and this has resulted in inconsistencies. The OECD recommends an evaluation of RMA implementation by local authorities, nationally standardised requirements in some domains and better guidance to local authorities on how to carry out their permitting, compliance monitoring and enforcement responsibilities.

This is the third OECD review. The last was in 2007.



Green Property Summit 2017.

“Future Cities Post 2020” is the theme for the NZGBC/Property Council Green Property Summit 2017, to be held in Auckland on 29 March.

The keynote speaker is Dr John Keung, who has been the CEO of Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) for the last decade.

There is also a strong lineup of local speakers.

Other activities organized in conjunction with the event include a guided tour of some key sustainable buildings in the Auckland CBD, arranged for the afternoon before the one-day summit.

You can find more information and register here.


New online PV calculator

A new online calculator tells consumers whether installing a photovoltaic (solar) system will be cost-effective for them.

The calculator sits on the EECA’s Energywise website. It takes into account factors such as geographic region, roof slope, current electricity use and the cost of a PV system. It then gives an estimate of the years it would take for the cost of a PV system to be repaid, and the earnings or losses that would be incurred from installing a system.

The new tool was created by the University of Canterbury’s EPECentre through the GREEN Grid research programme, which is funded by MBIE, Transpower and the EEA. The calculator uses data from NIWA (the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) through its SolarView service.

The calculator is designed for typical New Zealand homes and is not applicable for commercial buildings or off-grid installations.

You can find the calculator here.