New Zealand’s buildings contribute to 20% of emissions, claims thinkstep

By Galia Ilan

According to a recent report released by thinkstep, a sustainability consultancy, the nation’s buildings are contributing to 20% of all carbon emissions.

The figure is significantly higher than the Productivity Commission’s findings noted in its report last month, suggesting buildings accounted for between 2-5% of emissions.

thinkstep assessed the ways in which buildings could contribute to pollution, such as through energy usage with lighting and heating, or during the construction process when using raw materials, whilst also considering “embodied” emissions from the lifetime of the structues.


The New Zealand Green Energy Building Council (NZGBC) has addressed the news as “hugely significant” and has urged the construction sector to consider energy efficient building in the future.

“They need to start start thinking about 'can we build buildings better, can we be looking at the way we use concrete and steel?',” stated Sam Archer, Director of the NZGBC.

“The way we get to solutions is not by following the conventional path, we have to look at different ways and we need to explore, this report may be absolutely correct, it may not, but it's certainly not a report to be put on the bottom shelf, it needs to be further investigated,” noted Nigel Isaacs, Senior Lecturer in the School of Architecture at Victoria University.


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