IN DECEMBER 2020, New Zealand joined over 1,800 jurisdictions in 32 countries in declaring a climate emergency. The government committed to taking urgent action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid a more than 1.5°C rise in global warming.
To achieve this ambitious goal, a step change is needed across society. All aspects of our lives must adapt, including the almost sacred area that forms part of our national identity – sports.
A keynote address on climate change by Otago University environmental exercise physiologist Professor Jim Cotter at the Sports and Exercise Science Conference in 2020 pointed out that it is time for our elite athletes and sports teams to reconsider their carbon footprint. He asked, ‘Can smaller squads go overseas to competitions, can some races be held online – as we discovered is possible during lockdown, can altitude training be done at home?’
When even sporting leaders are being challenged to address climate change, you know it is past time that we proactively change our built environment. The carbon footprint of New Zealand’s residential building stock will need to reduce by 72% to be within the 1.5°C global climate target by 2050. As existing buildings produce two-thirds of the impact, retrofitting these to reduce operational energy use will also be a priority.
This Build, we look at why we need to move to net-zero carbon buildings and how. Jasmax, one of New Zealand’s oldest architecture practices, is leading the way, launching a staged roadmap on how to tackle climate issues.
Recent Beacon Pathway research (funded by the Building Research-Levy) found the percentage of timber framing in walls of new houses is much higher than assumed in compliance calculations. This means more thermal bridging, less insulation and poorer thermal performance. An industry workshop identified possible solutions to improve thermal performance, and high-performance details will be released in a couple of months.
Now is the time to reduce our carbon footprint, to step up to the challenge and do our part for the benefit of our children and our children’s children.
Articles are correct at the time of publication but may have since become outdated.