Climate standards for new Govt buildings

Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash. Photo: Dom Thomas /RNZ.

From 1 April 2022, new non-residential government buildings with a capital value over $25 million will have to meet a minimum Green Star rating of five.

The same standard will apply to government buildings with a capital value over $9 million from April 1 2023.

The Government is rolling out its plan for a carbon neutral public sector by 2025 by requiring that all new non-residential government buildings are climate friendly, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today.

From April 2022, agencies covered by the Carbon Neutral Government Programme will have to make sure new buildings over a certain value meet a minimum Green Star rating of five. The announcement comes as countries gather to discuss how to reduce emissions from buildings at a dedicated Built Environment Day COP26 in Glasgow.

“Our Government has committed to achieving carbon neutrality in the public sector within five years,” says Shaw.

“Today’s announcement takes us a step closer towards delivering on that promise.

“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. 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.

“Introducing these standards builds on the work we have 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.

Nash says the minimum 5 star rating will apply to new non-residential buildings for around 140 government agencies who follow the Government Procurement Rules.

“From 1 April 2022, government agencies must achieve a minimum 5 star rating for new non-residential buildings with a capital value of $25 million or more.

“From 1 April 2023 when constructing a new non-residential building with a capital value of $9 million and over, agencies will be required to achieve a minimum 5 star rating for projects.

“This particular 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 plan 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.”

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