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Big benefits in near-zero emission houses

Report puts dollars on the gains.

A new study has assessed the potential economic benefits of moving to construction of low emission and close to zero emission houses sooner rather than later.

Building low emission houses from 2025 to 2034 and near zero emission houses from 2035 to 2050, compared to just Building Code compliant houses, “would result in an additional $42 billion direct contribution to GDP and an additional 369,000 years of direct full-time equivalent employment (FTE)… When the indirect and induced impacts are included, the total GDP contribution is $141.5 billion, at an average of $5.1 billion per year.”

A less ambitious scenario, with low emission houses built 2030–2039 and near zero emission houses 2035–2050, still has significant benefits over the construction of houses that just comply with the Building Code.

Prepared by economic analysts BERL for the NZ Green Building Council, the report is available on the NZGBC website here.




Insulation retrofits boost health

Less asthma in children.

People whose homes have thermal insulation retrofitted to make them warmer are 10% less likely to develop chronic respiratory diseases compared to people whose homes are not retrofitted. The benefit is even greater – 15% – for children under 15. Greater gains come from houses that also have heat pumps retrofitted.
The findings come from a study of the medicines prescribed for residents of more than 200,000 houses that received subsidised insulation through an EECA programme that ran between 2009 and 2014.

The results support other studies that show children are less likely to develop asthma when their home environment is warmer and less prone to damp and mould.

The study was carried out by University of Otago researchers from the He Kāinga Oranga – Housing and Health Research Programme at the University’s Wellington campus.

You can find more details here.




Push for more wood processing in NZ

Forest industry plan launched.

A draft Industry Transformation Plan for Forestry and Wood Processing has been released for consultation by Te Uru Rākau New Zealand Forest Service. The key change being sought is to “process more logs and wood residues onshore to produce more value-added wood products and enable the growing bioeconomy.

”The plan points out that wood fibre can play a critical role in reducing emissions across New Zealand, particularly in sectors such as construction. It aims to grow domestic demand for our wood products and to grow investment to increase manufacturing of advanced wood-based products for construction and other sectors.

The plan points out that, while the number of logs harvested has doubled over the last decade, the capacity for processing wood domestically has basically stayed the same.

Submissions close 30 September 2022.




H1 extension only for R-values

New calculations still required.

Where building consent applications for housing are submitted before 1 May 2023, roof, wall and floor minimum construction R-values can be equivalent to the H1/AS1 4th edition requirements. There is a 2-step implementation of new R-value requirements for windows and doors in housing.

However, the 5th edition of H1/AS1 and H1/VM1, which replace the 4th from 3 November 2022,
includes new methodologies for establishing the thermal resistance of windows, doors, skylights, curtain walling and slab-on-ground floors.

With the exception of slab-on-ground floors, from 3 November 2022 only the new methodologies can be used. (Up until 1 May 2023, concrete slab-on-ground floors in housing will still be deemed to achieve a construction R-value of R1.3.)

You can find more information on the Building Performance website.




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.




Advice on dealing with flooded homes

A free bulletin on the topic.

Recent floods have caused major damage to houses around the country, and the problem is forecast to become worse in coming years. In many cases, builders will be called on to help make repairs.

Restoring flood-damaged houses involves more than just opening windows or getting fans or dehumidifiers to work and then repairing or replacing the obviously damaged building elements. There are specific steps that need to be taken to avoid long term problems, and there are important health and safety aspects to consider too.

BRANZ has produced a free bulletin to help, BU666 Restoring a home after flood damage.

You can access the bulletin from the BRANZ website.