Tipping point

By - , Build 185


SIGNIFICANT CHANGES are coming to how we build in New Zealand. These have been signalled in two recent consultation documents from MBIE – Building Code update 2021 to improve energy efficiency and Building for climate change to reduce emissions from buildings during construction and operation and prepare buildings for climate change.

These changes are needed. A Build series last year comparing the energy efficiency of our buildings with the UK, Australia and Ireland highlighted how far behind these developed countries we are (see Build 179–181).

Temperature records continue to be broken globally. This year, New Zealand had the hottest June on record according to NIWA. Further afield, summer is having more dramatic results with melting power cables in Portland, Oregon, and 54.4°C in Death Valley, California, breaking the world heat record for the second year in a row.

Exactly what MBIE decides to introduce will become clearer when it releases the final Building Code update 2021 later this year. (See a summary of BRANZ’s position on the proposed changes.) Everything points to a shift towards what we once considered a high-performance building – soon this may be the new standard of our buildings.

It’s timely that this Build includes an extensive collection of articles on high-performance buildings. We start with a question – what is a high-performance building? This is now more than just good energy efficiency. Kāinga Ora is leading the charge with a programme to deliver high-performing state houses. We have tips for reducing emissions in new homes and, for the more technically minded, modelling higher thermal performance, R-values and co-heating tests.

Finally, check out the many free BRANZ tools that can help you deliver better buildings. As one colleague said when they read this, who knew BRANZ had so many tools? Make the most of them and keep warm in these cold months.

Ngā mihi

Annemarie Crampton
Build Editor

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Articles are correct at the time of publication but may have since become outdated.