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  • ALCAS President

Report identifies ways to decarbonise NZ’s construction sector by 40%

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:

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