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Cost benefit for all-electric households

Cheapest option, new report says.

A new report says that households that go all-electric in the next few years – home appliances and vehicle – stand to save thousands of dollars in the long term compared to households with gas appliances and a petrol/diesel vehicle.

“From 2026 all electric households can expect the total annual electricity cost, including the capital costs required to switch, to be lower than the combined petrol, gas and electricity bills (including the relevant capital costs) they would pay otherwise,” says the report.

“The ideal configuration for households is rooftop solar plus batteries. However, while the installed cost of solar has fallen considerably in recent years, the cost of batteries is more stubborn.”

The report was prepared by economic consultancy Sapere using data from the Climate Change Commission. The report was commissioned by the Electricity Networks Association (which represents the lines companies).

You can find more details here.




RMA replacement laws introduced

Shorter consent times indicated.

The Government has introduced to Parliament the Natural and Built Environment Bill and the Spatial Planning Bill, two of the laws that will replace the Resource Management Act. Minister for the Environment David Parker says:

    • New standardised conditions will see fewer “bespoke” consents and speed up the process
    • Time to consent will shorten, and the fast track process will be kept
    • Costs will fall 19% a year ($149m) or $10b over 30 years on conservative estimates
    • Environmental protections will increase, based on new targets and limits.

    More than 100 RMA plans will reduce to just 15 regional-level plans across the country.

    The government hopes to pass both these laws through Parliament before the next election.
    The third piece of the reform, the Climate Adaptation Act, is due be introduced later in 2023.

    You can find details on the bills on the Parliament website here and here.




    New edition H1 documents in force

    Windows see a major change.

    The latest editions of Acceptable Solutions and Verification Methods for Building Code clause H1 Energy efficiency are now in force. The old 4th edition can no longer be used.

    The new documents have six climate zones.

    H1/AS1 5th edition amendment 1 applies to all housing (including medium-density housing and apartments) and buildings up to 300m2.

    For housing only, the construction R-values of the 4th edition H1/AS1 can still be used for roofs, walls and floors in building consent applications until 30 April 2023. (The methodology used to calculate these must be that of the 5th edition, however.)

    For housing, there is now (in building consent applications lodged from 3 November 2022) a minimum construction R-value requirement of R0.37 for all windows, doors and skylights using the schedule method. This is an increase from the minimum requirements in the 4th edition of H1/AS1. This figure will increase again on 1 May 2023 (for climate zones 3–6) and 2 November 2022 (for climate zones 1 and 2).

    You can find the H1 documents on MBIE’s Building Performance website and tools to help comply with H1 on the BRANZ website.




    National Seismic Hazard Model updated

    Likely to impact building regs.

    The revised National Seismic Hazard Model results provide an estimate of the likelihood and strength of an earthquake on any given site in the country.

    GNS Science says that on average, results have increased by 50 percent or more from previous modelling, highlighting the need to boost national resilience strategies and readiness.

    MBIE says the updated results will be used to inform the risk settings in building regulations. The Ministry is planning to consult on an initial set of proposed changes to building standards in mid-2023.

    You can find more details about the release here and here.




    BRANZ H1 tools updated

    Resources to aid compliance.

    A range of updated tools and resources to help industry comply with H1/AS1 and H1/VM1 5th edition, Amendment 1, has started being uploaded to the BRANZ website.

    The resources available right now include:

    • H1 Calculation Method Tool
    • H1 Schedule Method Tool
    • Construction R-values for common construction options. This is available as a spreadsheet for PCs, with a Mac version coming soon.

    The Construction R-values tool is the first element to be released from the 6th edition of the BRANZ House Insulation Guide. Coming shortly is the full online text of the Guide, and a video giving user guidance.

    You can find more details and download the tools from the BRANZ website.