Low-carbon solutions for NZ buildings

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Low-carbon water heating systems and energy performance certificates for homes are two of the solutions BRANZ researchers are investigating to help reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.

They are part of an ongoing BRANZ research programme which is leading the drive for a successful transition to a zero-carbon built environment.

New heating technologies

Programme leader Dr Casimir MacGregor says water heating contributes about 30% of a typical household’s energy output.

“We’re looking at some promising new residential water heating technologies with potentially much lower carbon and energy costs than traditional systems,” MacGregor says.

“The results of our work will help home owners, suppliers, specifiers and developers wanting to reduce their energy and carbon footprint.

“Our study on energy performance certificates (EPCs) is looking at overseas schemes to provide the groundwork for the introduction of EPCs to New Zealand.”

EPCs rate the energy efficiency of buildings by measuring their heating and cooling requirements and (depending on the scheme), water heating and lighting needs.

They allow people to make informed decisions about the properties they buy or rent, and they provide building owners with information to improve their properties.

They also provide data on the country’s building stock, which can be used to guide government policy.

Other BRANZ zero-carbon research includes a recently-completed carbon budget for New Zealand buildings.

A carbon budget is the maximum total quantity of greenhouse gas emissions allowable to meet climate change targets over a specified time frame.

The results will help guide the industry, and provide a baseline for measuring the carbon emissions from buildings.

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