The building sector is a massive contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
- New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are rising.
- 20% of the country’s carbon footprint comes from buildings and the built environment.*
- There is little general awareness or consideration of the performance of a home when choosing a house or a builder. -The most common question people ask is price/ m2.
- Development in the Queenstown Lakes District and much of the country shows no signs of slowing.
- We continue to build houses “to code” and the New Zealand Building Code is the lowest standard that you can legally build a house to. (Lowest of OECD countries).
- When we build without consideration of our future emissions, we lock in the rate of emissions for the lifetime of the building.
- 41,000 children are hospitalised each year for medical conditions related to housing. (damp, cold & mould)
- 1/7 NZ kids have Asthma.
- Asthma and respiratory diseases are the thrid most common cause of sickness and death in New Zealand
- Almost 40% of our landfill is construction and demolition waste.
- Drastic action is required immediately to turn this trajectory around.
*New Zealand Green Building Council
Drive Change from the Ground up.
- We can make a massive difference to our emissions and our impact on the environment if we as consumers ask for more, and drive change from the ground up.
- Most people don’t demand better because they haven’t had conversations on efficiency and don’t know their options.
- When consumers demand more, practices like mechanical ventilation and triple glazing in the Southern Lakes region will become standard practice, and prices will be more realistic due to increased consumer demand.
- It should not be acceptable to wipe condensation off your new windows in the morning.
- You do not have to spend a fortune on radiators or under floor heating to heat your house. Just build it well and the temperature inside will not change with the seasons.
How: Build Tight and Ventilate Right
Passive homes require only 5-10% of the energy of a typical house built to NZ building code. Not only can you reduce your emissions by 90-95%, you can reduce your power bills by that much too, while living in a warmer, healthier, quieter and more comfortable environment.
- People feel calmer and sleep better with less dust, pollens, toxins and noise from passing traffic,
- Owners and tenants save money heating and cooling their house
- We can positively impact our planet by reducing carbon emissions both in the use of, and in the creation of our homes.
- It’s so convenient not having to get up and light the fire, or rush home to warm the house.
- It’s healthier to live in a home with no condensation or mould.
- Since there is very little variation in temperature inside all year round, you don’t need to use energy to cool it in summer and can wear light, comfy clothes all year long
- It’s quiet and calm, offering a relaxed, grounded feel
- Generally people on this journey become more mindful, often choosing less toxic materials, and generating less building waste at the same time.
An Outdated Building Code
New Zealand’s building code is below the standards required in most IEA countries.
Many people building do not realise our Building code is so poor. Even proud owners of some of the most expensive homes in the country have no idea how poorly performing their new homes will be. Many of them have the funds and the willingness to build very differently if only they were given the information and the option. For instance the required insulation in London is 5 times higher than that of Christchurch, with similar climates.