As hundreds and hundreds of green building enthusiasts packed into the Aotea Centre last week for the biggest ever Green Property Summit, I couldn’t help but hum the tune of a celebrated New Zealand song.
We were lucky to be able to get together, in person, to listen to a great lineup of speakers, to share stories, to share kai, and to collaborate.
We are lucky to be here, in Aotearoa, where we are able to hold events like the Summit.
We are lucky too to all be engaged in a sector which is sitting on the cusp of driving change across Aotearoa, and lead the way to a cleaner, healthier, zero carbon country.
None of the above would have been possible without us all collaborating with each other. That’s because we make our own good luck, by working together.
Just hours before the Summit, we attended a meeting with the Minister responsible for cutting the carbon emissions of government buildings, Stuart Nash. That meeting swiftly followed the call made by many of you for government to build to Green Star standards. We’re seeing some progress in this space, including written confirmation from the Minister that ‘reducing carbon emissions from buildings is a priority’. We hope to have more news on this soon.
A sparkling highlight of the Summit was being able to stand pokohiwi ki te pokohiwi with the chief executive of Toitū Envirocare, Becky Lloyd, and tautoko each other and present the certificate for Aotearoa’s first certified carbon neutral building. The 6,000m2 central Auckland building is one of the country’s most efficiently operated office buildings, and the carbonzero certification is a huge result for Argosy and for New Zealand businesses.
Carbon zero certification builds on and goes further than NABERSNZ certifications for office buildings and Green Star Performance ratings for non office buildings.
And it wasn’t just in the Summit itself that New Zealanders heard great green building stories. To coincide with the event, The Herald published a green building supplement, packed with pieces like this, this, this and this, helping to bounce the Summit out of the room and into the hands of thousands of Kiwis.
The Summit was full of good news. The numbers of green buildings are growing, and the financial sector is increasingly incentivising investment in green buildings.
This is awesome. But now is not the time to sit back and pat ourselves on the back. It’s too early for all that. Because the amount of carbon pollution caused by our sector is soaring, and that’s the most important metric we must measure ourselves by. In two years time, at the next Green Property Summit, we need to show that this trend is being tackled.
One way we can all make an impact on helping to slash the carbon from buildings and homes is by having a say on government proposals on what changes are needed to make our homes and buildings healthier and more energy efficient.
We’ll be submitting our feedback in the next few days, so do keep an eye out for it. One of the options put forward by government – increasing the minimum insulation level to only half that of comparable international standards – is completely unacceptable to us, and it should be unacceptable to government, to industry, and to all New Zealanders.
The proposed changes also do nothing to improve ventilation, heating, lighting and other important steps that are needed. You can read our initial thoughts on the consultation proposals right here.
As always, do please drop me or any of the team with any questions or suggestions.
Ngā mihi nui