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Higher performing flats and apartments

Gains in medium density housing.

More and more medium-density housing developments are being designed to achieve high thermal performance.

Earlier this year, occupants moved into a 21-unit co-housing project in Dunedin that was the first certified multi-unit Passive House dwelling in New Zealand.

In Māngere, Auckland, Kāinga Ora has begun a pilot project with a 3-storey, 18-home block that is on track to achieve Passive House certification. The block is planned for completion in 2023. Kāinga Ora has a further seven Passive House projects (all 3-storey) in the design phase.

The Passive House standard has tight requirements around things like annual heating/cooling demand and airtightness. This gives very low operating costs and a low operational carbon footprint.

The very rapid growth of medium-density housing in New Zealand means the thermal performance of this type of housing is of growing importance. Of the 45,119 new home consents issued in the year ending July 2021, over 30% were for townhouses, flats and units. This compares with 26% in 2020 and 20% in 2019.

You can read more about the Dunedin housing project here.




Govt seeks input on emissions reduction

Big changes for construction proposed.

The Government has released a consultation paper on its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is asking for feedback on the plan, which makes a number of suggestions that will have big impacts on construction.

The paper says: “Our vision is to significantly reduce all building-related emissions as soon as possible.”

Proposals being considered include:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions caps for buildings. New builds are the first priority because lowering emissions in existing buildings is more complex.
  • Reducing fossil gas use in buildings. MBIE is investigating the phase out of fossil gas from the energy system.
  • Reducing construction and demolition waste. (Kāinga Ora’s procurement processes for construction and demolition already require that 80–85% of materials must be recycled or diverted from landfill.)
  • For reducing waste of treated timber, moving from demolition as the default to a deconstruction model, in which buildings are removed in a way that separates and conserves materials, maintains their value, and better allows for recovery and reuse.
  • Encouraging greater use of diversified high-value wood products in construction.

Consultation on the paper, Te hau mārohi ki anamata Transitioning to a low-emissions and climate-resilient future, is open now and will close on 24 November.

You can find more details here.




Turning waste into wallboards

New technology arrives in NZ.

Industrial packaging waste will be turned into construction boards at a Te Rapa factory from November this year. The technology has been used in the United States for over a decade.

The plant will be recycling waste, including post-production industrial packaging waste from Fonterra and Frucor, into low carbon construction boards. The range of boards can be used in place of plywood, particleboard and plasterboard. P21 bracing tests for most of the products have been completed and released.

The boards are heated up to 300 °C during the manufacturing process. There are no VOC emissions or formaldehydes and all recovered offcuts and end of life products can be remanufactured into new boards.

The New Zealand company behind the initiative, saveBOARD, has received a A$1.74 million grant from the Australian and New South Wales Governments towards setting up a A$5 million facility in Australia. 



Carbon tools, seminar coming soon

BRANZ has a suite of new carbon tools that it will release to the industry shortly.

BRANZ is also running a seminar “The Carbon Challenge: Science and solutions” around the country, from Whangarei to Invercargill, between 1 November and 2 December. You can find more information about the seminar here and register and pay here.