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Government agencies to be carbon neutral

Buildings will play a key role.

In early December 2020 the Government announced the Carbon Neutral Government Programme, requiring the public sector to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.

The immediate focus will be on phasing out the largest and most active coal boilers. There are more than 200 coal-fired boilers currently heating water and buildings in the state sector.

Government agencies will be required to implement an energy efficiency building rating standard over 5 years. There will be a requirement to achieve a minimum of 4 stars when establishing new leases and a minimum of 5 starts for new builds.

Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash says government agencies are able to exert strong influence through their spending on accommodation and supply contracts such as heating and lighting.

He says that greater use of lower emissions building materials in new buildings can also be incentivised through the public service showing leadership.

ďOne of New Zealandís greatest natural resources is our renewable forest plantations and use of timber can help achieve higher energy efficiency ratings for new builds.Ē

Public sector agencies must measure and publicly report on their emissions and offset any they canít cut by 2025.

You can find more information here.

 

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Homestar v5 in development

Rating tool being upgraded.

Work is progressing on an upgrade of the New Zealand Green Building Council rating tool Homestar. The current version, Homestar v4, was released in 2017.

Earlier this year over 100 people provided feedback on the current version. The upgrade is being carried out with support from a working group of technical experts and Homestar professionals. A Homestar Advisory Committee representing a cross section of stakeholders has also been set up to provide strategic direction.

A draft v5 is expected to be ready for review in December, with testing planned for early in the new year.

The full Homestar v5 tool is expected to be launched in April 2021.

 

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November Building Code updates

Changes include two new Acceptable Solutions.

On 5 November the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) implemented a number of changes to the Building Code, including two new Acceptable Solutions and amendments to twelve existing Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods.

The two new Acceptable Solutions are E1/AS2 for stormwater drainage and E3/AS2 for internal wet area membranes.

Changes to existing documents apply to Building Code clauses:

  • C Protection from fire
  • E1 Surface water
  • E2 External moisture
  • E3 Internal moisture
  • G9 Electricity
  • G13 Foul water. 


Existing Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods will remain in force until 4 November 2021.

You can find more information about the changes here and an infographic about the changes to the Protection from fire section here.

 

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NZS 3604 upgrade underway


The revision lifts building efficiency.

A key focus of the revision of NZS 3604:2011 Timber-framed buildings is supporting better thermal performance as part of New Zealandís commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Other elements in the review include expanding the scope of the standard to three full storeys to support medium-density housing, bracing, and building on expansive or liquefaction-prone soils. Publication of the updated standard is planned for 2023.

You can read more on the Standards NZ website here.