MBIE wants input on insulation increases

, Build 183

Changes to Building Code clause H1 Energy efficiency are being considered, and MBIE wants your input on the proposals.

Couple in warm house
Couple in warm house

MBIE IS RESPONDING  to a request from the building and construction sector to increase insulation values as the current minimum requirements in the Building Code could be improved to better keep houses warm and dry and to meet New Zealand’s climate change goals.

Insulation values increase proposed

As part of the annual Building Code update process, MBIE is proposing changes to insulation values for new builds and is keen to hear from industry how fast and far these changes should go.

Several options are proposed in the consultation document, and MBIE is keen for feedback on what would work best.

Increase to six climate zones

Changes to the current climate zones used to specify the level of insulation in buildings are also proposed. Currently, there are only three zones. This means that, for instance, Nelson is in the same zone as Queenstown.

MBIE plans to increase the number of climate zones to six, which will better reflect the weather that different parts of New Zealand experience. The amount of insulation required in buildings will vary depending on which climate zone the building is located in.

Necessary to meet global obligations

Changing insulation values is only one of the many steps that need to be taken to achieve the government’s ambitious climate change goals and to meet New Zealand’s obligations in the Paris Agreement.

However, it is necessary to start somewhere. The Building for climate change programme has been established to reduce emissions from buildings during their construction and operation, while also preparing buildings to withstand changes in the climate. The programme will make many changes to how buildings are constructed over the years ahead.

Is this the right time?

There may be questions about the cost of these changes. Building is expensive, housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable and New Zealand is desperate to increase its housing supply, so is this the right time to be making these changes?

MBIE feels that the answer is yes and that there’s never been a better time. Building consents in the quarter to December 2020 were the highest they’ve ever been. It is necessary to take advantage of this boom and build better.

It is essential to ensure that buildings provide warm, safe and dry places for people to live and work in and that they are prepared for the future effects of climate change.

Costs can be kept down

Changes can be made without a large increase in building costs. It may be necessary to start rethinking how we build, however – perhaps by considering less floor space, a smaller footprint or even a less unique design. With some innovation and a little Kiwi ingenuity, ways can be found to build better buildings while keeping costs down.

For more

Full details of the proposals will be on the MBIE website in early April. MBIE wants to hear what Build readers think about these proposals and is asking for input before 28 May 2021. Visit www.mbie.govt.nz/have-your-say/.

Download the PDF

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Couple in warm house
Couple in warm house