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Strong language and hairdryers | Our submission to the Climate Change Commission

By June 19, 2023No Comments

Strong language and hairdryers | Our submission to the Climate Change Commission

Facilities managers are the key custodians of the places New Zealanders use every day. Millions of people create, curate, learn, labour and laugh in these places.

These places though – the built environment – is responsible for around 20% of our country’s carbon pollution. And this pollution is contributing to the storms and floods that have put buildings, and the people in them, and who look after them, on the frontline of climate change.

This is probably the most important time ever for our profession. Facilities managers possess the knowledge and expertise which can tackle the most pressing issue of our times, and drive down the climate change causing pollution from our buildings.

This was just one point we made in our recent submission to He Pou a Rangi / the Climate Change Commission, which you can read in full here.

We heavily based our submission on the thoughts and wisdom shared by those who attended our three feedback sessions. Special thanks to Bruce Kenning – MBIE, Paul Huggins CFMANZ – Cushman&Wakefield, Anthony Van Meer – WSP, Rory Chacko – AUT, Melissa Keys – Citycare, Brian Hale – Downer, Celine Jan – Alsco, Ruth Jost – Eke Panuku, Drew Roberts – Auckland University, and Michael Philipsen – WT Partnership.

Overall, we’re very supportive of the Commission’s advice and recommendations, which are intended to provide a range of actions and directions to the government for New Zealand to take the slash emissions between 2026 and 2030.

However, we do feel that the advice, including the language and ambition, could and should be stronger and more ambitious.

This is perhaps most apparent in our feedback to the Commission’s recommendation around retrofitting. In that recommendation, the Commission says that the emissions reduction plan must ‘incentivise comprehensive retrofits to deliver healthy, resilient, low emissions buildings.’

Absolutely, our submission says. Saving existing buildings and retrofitting avoids the embodied carbon costs of demolishing and the embodied carbon costs of building again. Far and away the best way to reduce the embodied carbon of buildings is retrofitting. And driving a strong focus on energy efficiency in retrofits will also reduce carbon emissions by reducing energy demand.

In a low-carbon Aotearoa, the future – and the present – of buildings has to be retrofitting.

Our submission says, therefore, that the word ‘incentivise’ is not enough. Comprehensive refits must be guaranteed wherever possible, not merely incentivised, and the Climate Change Commission should examine stronger alternatives, including the potential for regulation.

There’s lots more in our full submission, including how hair dryers and ‘soft landings’ can reduce carbon pollution.

Once again, thanks to all of you who contributed to this important submission.


(Photo by Meiying Ng on Unsplash)