“A Zero Carbon Road Map for Aotearoa’s Buildings”

Subtitle: NZGBC fudges road map via emissions offsets and challenges James Shaw for title of NZ greenwashing king

A critique.

p.4 “The World Green Building Council defines a net zero carbon building as one that is “highly energy efficient with all remaining energy from on-site and/ or off-site renewable sources”. NZGBC has taken this definition one stage further. In the case of new buildings,we think the carbon emitted during construction should also be included in the calculations.””

This sounds good as although I'm told that it's 50/50 between build and use as far as emissions go this of course would be highly variable. So most of the CO2 emissions are probably in the building phase in NZ as energy use after build is mostly renewable due to the high hydro component. The caveat here though is that hydro's share continues to decrease and the current rather useless Green Party thinks burning stuff “as long as it's not coal” is fine but of course that's not the case.

p.4 still
“offset any unavoidable emissions”

Gee that didn't take long to run off track. This is a cheats way of avoiding emissions being calculated as part of the build.

“As noted above, in future, new buildings will have to measure, manage and offset construction emissions in addition to operational emissions if they want to meet the requirement .”

Not good at all. They should move away from concrete and steel instead of trying to 'offset' it. Offsetting is a corporate con.

p.8 This part of the document is expecting industry to make its own rules, not looking for laws to enforce that which anyway need to be supported by wider community to work but in this case I think that they are.

p.11 Argosy's buildings look like concrete, steel and glass structures in that photo. Seriously not emissions neutral.

p.12 “If New Zealand is to achieve its net zero ambitions by 2050, these fossil fuel boilers will need to be replaced with low or zero carbon heat sources, such as heat pumps, wood stoves and wood- fired boilers. “

Seriously NOT zero emissions. Just because you put wood in your burner instead of coal doesn't make you “net zero”. In fact in my view it's worse as not only are the CO2 emissions pretty much the same but there's not enough trees to burn and if you do burn them all well we're fucked. To replace all oil, gas & coal in the US for example would require burning every tree in the United States every year (source Michael Moore's movie). Instead of burning the trees we should build with them, there is lots of wood technology about to help in the build of multilevel wood structures these days. And doing so stores the CO2 instead of releasing it to the atmosphere.

This shit policy (“let's burn wood instead”) is very similar to the NZ Greens under (the corporate sponsored) James Shaw.

p. 13 “Timber is grown from the process of photosynthesis, absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) and water and transforming them into sugars and oxygen. The weight of timber is roughly half sequestered carbon. Even when processing is taken into account, timber is usually a negative emissions product and, therefore it will have a negative global warming potential value; this is very positive!”

Agree with this but the way that this is stated makes me wonder if they're dismissive of it in reality. I'd go further though, if there's no or fewer emissions in your processing of the wood (i.e. saws driven by hydro power, chainsaws are electric, trucks that remove logs are electric, drying the wood is powered by hydro) then using logs, or a little less so processed timber, is VERY good for the environment due to the captured CO2 stored in the timber. As long as the trees are replanted of course.

The claim to it having “negative global warming potential” is therefore a little bogus as well. Yes if the stand of timber is replanted after harvesting but no if it is not (imagine every tree on earth being used for housing, are there now any trees left to remove CO2 from atmosphere?).

p.17 Samson looks like they're giving a token response to removing CO2 emissions from buildings, there's no substance to the brief outline of their business.

p.18 Restricting peak level demand is something that citizens need to be a part of. There's no mention of them here. Only building and electricity industries are considered as participants in such a discussion. Will limits on peak level demand be imposed on citizens by these groups to assuage their lack of adherence to making their buildings genuinely CO2 neutral?

p.21 I think Fiona Short, the sustainability spokesperson for Warren and Mahoney, is genuine (I could be wrong, very easy these days) but once again I don't think the company is doing enough. The photos show concrete, steel, glass buildings.

p.22 Airports reducing emissions in buildings is a joke. Maybe they should get rid of their planes, as this is the largest single contributer to CO2 emissions that an individual can impose on the biosphere.

p.24 onwards nothing there of any substance whatsoever.

Document available here;


#greenwasher #politics #climatechange #co2

Enter your email to subscribe to updates.