Skills for zero-carbon transition

By and - , Build 187

Massey University, with funding from BRANZ, will provide the next generation of building professionals with skills and knowledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.

MASSEY UNIVERSITY has developed a new training programme linked to the university’s sustainable built environment master’s. Co-developed with industry, research is aimed at industry and is relevant and usable with a focus on sustainable built environment topics.

New Zealand’s climate commitments

The global climate has changed because of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Careful future planning from the construction industry is essential to mitigate projected effects and to minimise future emissions.

Skilling students in zero carbon

The government’s direction has significant implications for the New Zealand construction industry. The School of Built Environment – Massey University identified a gap in the training delivered by tertiary institutions on climate change mitigation.

With the construction sector contributing 15–20% of New Zealand greenhouse gas emissions, future generations of construction professionals are urgently needed to help the industry reduce emissions and mitigate further effects of climate change through building adaptability.

Reducing construction’s carbon footprint

Options to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce the carbon footprint include:

  • early engagement of sustainable design principles
  • efficient energy use
  • development of zero/low-carbon building designs
  • adaptation of advanced technologies
  • using low-carbon building materials
  • increasing the share of renewables in electricity generation.

Transforming the industry to deliver zero-carbon buildings and infrastructure will require a paradigm shift in thinking, including processes, products, technology and people – from investors to designers, contractors, product manufacturers and end users.

Current research at Massey University

Currently, eight master’s research construction students, sponsored by BRANZ, have industry-led research projects on zero-carbon building research under way:

  • Embodied energy in structural systems in New Zealand residential buildings – comparison of measurement tools in New Zealand.
  • How virtual reality can help designers understand a building’s impact on the surrounding environmental conditions – temperature, wind and lighting.
  • The applications of building information modelling for the life cycle performance of green buildings.
  • Performance gap between design and actual performance of green star buildings.
  • Effective design management to reduce construction waste generation.
  • The New Zealand construction industry’s perspective on low-carbon buildings.
  • Tiling and the reduction of tiling waste.
  • Government procurement to support climate change goals.

As part of the sustainable built environment master’s programme, the following new courses have been developed:

  • Energy-efficient building design.
  • Sustainable property development.
  • Sustainability and climate change for the construction industry.
  • Sustainable buildings and structures.

For more

For more information on the programme, contact Suzanne Wilkinson at or Niluka Domingo at

Download the PDF

More articles about these topics

Articles are correct at the time of publication but may have since become outdated.