Construction and Sustainability in New Zealand

Courtesy of the New Zealand Herald

Sustainability is a key concern in the construction sector in New Zealand. The construction industry has a significant impact on the environment, and there is a growing recognition of the need to reduce the environmental impact of construction activities.

There are several initiatives and programs in place in New Zealand to promote sustainability in the construction sector. For example, the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) is a non-profit organisation that works to promote sustainable building practices and raise awareness of the benefits of green building. The NZGBC has developed the Homestar rating system, which rates the sustainability of new homes based on a range of factors including energy and water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and materials used.

The New Zealand Government has also introduced a number of initiatives to promote sustainability in the construction sector. For example, the Sustainable Homes programme provides funding for homeowners to make energy and water efficiency improvements to their homes. The government has also introduced a range of regulations and standards related to the energy efficiency of new buildings, including the New Zealand Building Code, which sets minimum energy efficiency requirements for new buildings.

There are also a number of private companies in New Zealand like Mutu that specialise in sustainable construction practices. These companies often use environmentally friendly materials and construction techniques, and may offer services such as energy audits and sustainability assessments to help clients reduce the environmental impact of their construction projects.

Overall, sustainability is an important consideration in the construction sector in New Zealand, and there are a range of initiatives and programs in place to promote sustainable building practices and reduce the environmental impact of construction activities.

Bulldozer loader uploading concrete debris into dump truck at construction site

Construction waste

Construction waste is a significant issue in New Zealand, as it makes up a large portion of the waste generated in the country. According to the Ministry for the Environment, construction and demolition waste makes up around 25% of the total waste generated in New Zealand.

Construction waste includes a range of materials, including concrete, brick, steel, timber, plasterboard, insulation, and roofing materials. The disposal of these materials can have negative environmental impacts, as they can take up space in landfills and release greenhouse gases when they decompose.

There are several initiatives and programs in place in New Zealand to reduce the amount of construction waste that is generated and increase the recycling and reuse of construction materials. For example, the New Zealand Construction Industry Council (CIC) has developed the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Protocol, which sets out best practices for the management of construction and demolition waste. The CIC also operates a Construction and Demolition Waste Forum, which brings together industry stakeholders to discuss issues related to construction and demolition waste and share information about best practices.

In addition, a number of local councils in New Zealand have introduced initiatives to encourage the reduction and recycling of construction waste. These initiatives may include providing information and resources to contractors and homeowners about how to reduce waste and recycle materials, as well as operating recycling facilities for construction and demolition materials.

Overall, there is a recognition in New Zealand of the need to reduce the amount of construction waste that is generated and increase the recycling and reuse of construction materials. There are a range of initiatives and programs in place to address this issue, and many stakeholders in the construction industry are working to promote sustainable practices that minimise the environmental impact of construction activities.

Carbon emissions in the construction sector

The construction sector is a significant contributor to carbon emissions in New Zealand. According to the Ministry for the Environment, the construction sector is responsible for around 10% of the country's total greenhouse gas emissions.

There are several factors that contribute to the carbon emissions of the construction sector in New Zealand. These include the use of fossil fuels for heating, transportation, and equipment operation, as well as the embodied carbon of building materials. Embodied carbon refers to the greenhouse gases that are emitted during the production and transportation of building materials, such as concrete and steel.

Overall, there is a recognition in New Zealand of the need to reduce the carbon emissions of the construction sector and promote the use of low-carbon building materials and practices. There are a range of initiatives and programs in place to address this issue, and many stakeholders in the construction industry are working to promote sustainable practices that minimise the environmental impact of construction activities.

Mutu and the Construction Sector

Mutu is passionate about reducing the carbon footprint of the construction companies of New Zealand. Using Mutu, our customers have already helped redirect tonnes of carbon emissions from landfill and avoided purchasing and hiring costs by using their plant and equipment in a smarter, more sustainable way.

If you would like to learn about how we do this you can reach out to us to find out more.

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