The NZGBC and thinkstep have released a new research report on the built environment: “Under construction: Hidden emissions and untapped potential of buildings for New Zealand’s 2050 zero carbon goal.“
This report identifies opportunities to decarbonise New Zealand’s building and construction sector by 40% with a focus on embodied emissions from now until 2050. The strategies set out in this report could save approximately 1,200 kt CO2e per year: equivalent to taking 460,000 passenger cars off the road permanently and 15% of New Zealand’s total light vehicle fleet.
The key materials contributing to embodied GHG emissions in New Zealand were found to be steel and concrete, which together contribute more than 50% of the carbon footprint of both residential and non-residential construction (excluding fit-out and building services). Aluminium was also very significant for non-residential construction. For residential construction, timber framing was the next biggest contributor, followed by paint, aluminium and plasterboard.
A collaborative effort will enable us to achieve or exceed the 40% decarbonisation potential identified in this report. Decarbonising the built environment will require:
Collaboration among all players in the building sector;
Communication of good information and data;
Innovation in the manufacturing sector; and
Policy development encouraging the use of materials with low embodied carbon.
The report can be downloaded from: reports.thinkstep-anz.com