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Government Buildings Going Climate-Friendly

Tony Kidd
Tony Kidd
General Manager, NAI Harcourts New Zealand

Plans for a carbon-neutral public sector by 2025 requiring all new non-residential government buildings worth more than $25 million to be climate-friendly will come into force from 1st April 2022.

Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash and Climate Change Minister James Shaw said the new rules will also see government buildings valued at more than $9 million having to meet a minimum Green Star rating of 5 from 1st April 2022.

“Our Government has committed to achieving carbon neutrality in the public sector within five years. These minimum standards will ensure Government buildings achieve a level of excellence in climate-friendly design and construction that is rarely seen in New Zealand,” the ministers say.

“Leading by example in this way will create job opportunities in the low carbon building sector and expand the market for more commercial buildings to also achieve higher environmental standards.

“Buildings are big emitters, but the solution to this – such as improved design, better waste management, improved water and energy efficiency, and the use of low carbon materials – is achievable.

“Cleaner, climate-friendly public buildings are not just good for the planet, they will also improve the health and wellbeing of the people who visit, work and learn inside them.”

The Government says the new rules will combine with work done to support schools, tertiary institutions, hospitals and other government agencies to replace fossil fuel boilers with cleaner alternatives and improve the efficiency of their buildings.

The Green Star standard operates on a system of 100 points, with 4 star, 5 star or 6 star ratings available. The minimum 5 star rating will apply to new non-residential buildings for around 140 government agencies who follow the Government Procurement Rules.

“The Green Star system is administered by the NZ Green Building Council and is adapted to suit a New Zealand context, such as earthquake resilience.

“More sustainable building systems will help government agencies plans to reduce carbon emissions. The decision also sends an important signal to the construction, design and building supplies sector to expand capacity and capability to meet demand,” the ministers say.

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