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Building for Climate Change: Unlocking Funding Opportunities for Sustainable Construction

In 2018, building-related activities accounted for 9.4% of New Zealand's domestic greenhouse gas emissions, encompassing emissions from both the energy consumption in building operations and the carbon released during the manufacturing, transportation, use, and disposal of building materials and products. The Building for Climate Change programme is a noteworthy initiative introduced in 2020 by the former Labour Government of New Zealand to address the challenges posed by climate change in the construction sector. This program is still in operation today and aims to ensure that buildings are constructed and operated in a sustainable and climate-resilient manner, contributing to the country's overall efforts in combating climate change.


One of the key objectives of the programme is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the construction and operation of buildings. This includes implementing stricter energy efficiency standards, encouraging the use of renewable energy sources, and promoting sustainable building practices. By doing so, the then government aimed to minimise the carbon footprint of the built environment and move towards a low-emission future.


Building resilience for Climate Change

Another focus area of the Building for Climate Change programme is enhancing the resilience of buildings to the impacts of climate change. New Zealand is prone to various climate-related hazards such as flooding, extreme weather events, and sea-level rise. The programme emphasises the adoption of resilient building design and construction techniques to ensure that buildings can withstand and recover from these challenges. This includes incorporating climate change projections into building regulations and guidelines, and promoting the use of resilient materials and technologies.


Furthermore, the programme recognises the importance of improving the quality of housing in New Zealand, particularly in terms of energy efficiency and health outcomes. It seeks to address issues such as poor insulation, inadequate ventilation, and dampness, which can have detrimental effects on both the environment and the well-being of individuals. By promoting energy-efficient and healthy building practices, the programme aims to create comfortable and sustainable living spaces for all New Zealanders.


In researching the impact of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) on occupant comfort and well-being, researchers found that these factors are deeply intertwined. The complexity of this relationship highlighted the need for a holistic approach to building design which prioritises occupant health and well-being from the outset. The authors aimed to provide valuable insights for professionals across a range of domains by identifying and documenting best practices that support optimal IEQ, occupant comfort, and well-being.

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To support the implementation of the Building for Climate Change programme, the government is working closely with industry stakeholders, including architects, builders, and developers. It provides guidance, incentives, and funding opportunities to encourage the adoption of sustainable and climate-resilient building practices. Additionally, the government is investing in research and innovation to advance the knowledge and technologies required for a more sustainable construction sector.


The Building for Climate Change programme reflects the New Zealand government's commitment to addressing climate change and transitioning to a more sustainable future. By focusing on energy efficiency, resilience, and quality, this initiative aims to transform the construction sector towards environmentally friendly and climate-resilient practices, benefiting both the environment and the people of New Zealand.


The Building for Climate Change programme offers various funding opportunities to support the implementation of sustainable and climate-resilient building practices. These funding avenues aim to incentivise and assist individuals, businesses, and organizations in transitioning to more environmentally friendly and climate-conscious construction approaches.


climate change | DPS Consulting NZ
Assistance with climate change initatives can help ease the pain of transition

Here are some of the funding opportunities available to ease the pain of transition through the building for climate change programme:


This fund provides financial support for projects that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the adoption of low-emission vehicles in the construction sector. It can be utilised for projects that involve the purchase of electric or hybrid vehicles, installation of charging infrastructure, or development of innovative clean transportation solutions.

While I am not a fan of the idea that electric vehicles are the fossil fuel saviours some think they are (click here to read my views on that...) there are still benefits from low-emission vehicle options.


EECA offers a range of grants and funding options to support energy-efficient building practices. This includes funding for retrofitting existing buildings with energy-saving measures such as insulation, efficient heating systems, and renewable energy technologies. The EECA funding also extends to energy management and monitoring tools, as well as training and education programs related to energy efficiency.


The Provincial Growth Fund aims to stimulate economic development in regional areas of New Zealand. It provides funding for projects that promote sustainable building practices and support the growth of the construction sector in these regions. This funding can be utilized for infrastructure development, skills training, research, and innovation in sustainable construction.


This fund is designed to support projects that promote the use of renewable energy in the construction sector. It provides financial assistance for initiatives such as the installation of solar panels, wind turbines, or other clean energy technologies in buildings. The Sustainable Energy Fund aims to accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon energy system in New Zealand.


To access these funding opportunities, individuals, businesses, and organisations are typically required to submit applications outlining their project proposals, the expected environmental impact, and the desired outcomes. The New Zealand government evaluates these applications based on specific criteria and selects projects that align with the objectives of the Building for Climate Change programme.


It is important to note that with the change in Government in late 2023 from Labour to a Nation led coalition Government it is currently unclear the new Governments plans for the Building for Climate Change Programme. Therefore, it is advisable to regularly check the official government websites or consult with EECA, MfE, or NZTE for the most up-to-date information on funding options through the Building for Climate Change programme.


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