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Design aid for 3-storey, 3-unit blocks

Guide for new standards.

The Government has published a national design guide to encourage inclusive and integrated housing under the new Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS).

The focus of the non-statutory guide is on three-unit developments up to three storeys in height that are permitted under the MDRS.

You can download the guide from the Ministry for the Environment website.




Smart home guidelines coming

Energy efficiency a big driver.

Standards New Zealand and EECA have developed some draft guidelines around energy efficiency and smart homes, SNZ PAS 6012:2022 Smart home guidelines.

A smart home is a system that links residential appliances together into a network. The network ensures the appliances are operating as efficiently as possible and also connects to the grid to help shift household demand to periods of least-cost electricity. This combination of appliance efficiency and demand shifting can significantly lower electricity bills.  

The closing date for comments is 21 June 2022.

You can find more information here.



Reducing emissions in construction

Government plan released.

The Government’s first Emissions Reduction Plan has a whole section on the building and construction sector and will potentially have a major impact over the long term on construction materials and techniques used in New Zealand.

Proposed actions in the Plan include:

  • Consulting in late 2022 on introducing whole-of-life embodied carbon requirements to the Building Code.
  • Exploring whether to require waste minimisation or recovery plans for building consent.
  • Implementing amendments to Building Code Clause H1 (Energy efficiency) compliance pathways.
  • Consulting in late 2022 on proposed Building Code changes to introduce new requirements for operational efficiency
  • Introducing mandatory energy performance certificates for buildings. Initially, they could apply to government, commercial and large residential buildings and potentially expand to other residential buildings in future.
  • Exploring how incentives, support or regulatory requirements could reduce existing buildings’ emissions, while making buildings warmer and drier. 

The plan says that the building and construction sector is responsible for 9.4% of domestic greenhouse gas emissions, or over 15% if biogenic methane (e.g. from farm animals) is excluded. This is a significant underestimate of the total impact because, as the plan points out, it doesn’t include the emissions produced from the manufacture of building materials that have been imported.

You can find the plan on the Ministry for the Environment’s website.




Kāinga Ora testing solar panels

1,000 home target by 2024.

The public housing provider Kāinga Ora (KO) is starting a test of solar panels, with 100 public houses in the Wellington region to have PV systems installed this year.

KO will monitor the effectiveness of the systems for up to two years. One of the main aims of the scheme is to reduce energy costs for its clients. Savings in Wellington could be around $700 to $850 per year.

More solar systems are likely to be installed across the country, with a figure of 1,000 quoted by 2024. The solar panels will be installed on selected new homes, retrofitted homes and apartments.

You can read more on the Kāinga Ora website.




NZ sea rise tool launched

Local projections available.

A new online tool allows New Zealanders to see projections for sea level rise in their neighbourhood up to the year 2300. The tool could help local authorities, homeowners and businesses better assess evolving risks from flooding and erosion.

The tool provides projections using the new IPCC AR6 data and takes account of vertical land movements for the entire coastline at 2 km spacing.

NZ SeaRise is a five-year research programme funded by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment Endeavour Fund. It brings together 30 local and international experts from Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington, GNS Science, NIWA, University of Otago and the Antarctic Science Platform.

An update to the Coastal Hazards Guidance for Local Government on how to use the new projections for planning has been co-produced with the Ministry for the Environment.

You can find the tool here and read more about the NZ SeaRise programme here.