Sustainable Construction – in a Government Media Release on 16th September 2020, Hon Phil Twyford quoted the following:

  • Cabinet has agreed that when constructing new buildings, mandated departments and agencies will be required to assess the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the materials and construction processes used. Agencies should choose those which have the lowest upfront carbon emissions.
  • The construction sector will play a big part in New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery and departments and agencies will now need to consider the use of more sustainable building materials.
  • The use of raw materials such as wood offers a chance for the government to reduce its carbon emissions, boost our wood processing sector, create jobs in the regions and utilise a sustainable resource – our forests”.

Read the full govt. media release here

This announcement complements work already being undertaken by MBIE, “Building for Climate Change”, a programme which is expected to progress for the next 20-30 years. MBIE’s vision is that by 2050:

  • New Zealand’s buildings are using as little energy and water as possible. They are warmer, drier and better ventilated, and provide a healthier place for us all to work and live.
  • The well-being of New Zealanders will be improved, they will be leading healthier lives, and respiratory illnesses from cold and damp houses will be reduced. People will also have more money in their pockets due to lower energy bills.

To achieve this vision, MBIE aims to align New Zealand’s legislation to sustainable construction initiatives and to incentivise designers to look for lower carbon solutions. There are 2 main frameworks MBIE are developing in this regard: one focusing on building operational efficiency, and the other focusing on embodied carbon in building materials & construction processes. View the full MBIE document “Building for Climate Change” here

Scion Innovation Hub – Expected Completion Date Oct 2020 – Multistorey – Diagrid Design – Manufactured by TimberLab Solutions

New Zealand has set a target to have net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases (other than methane) by 2050. By then, building and infrastructure construction is expected to form the single largest sector for global consumption emissions, accounting for almost 1/3 of total global emissions.

Mass Timber Construction (MTC) has a large part to play in helping achieve ambitious carbon goals in the building sector. With digital technology and supply chains now widely available, MTC is a viable alternative to steel and concrete construction for many building typologies.

Not only does timber naturally have embodied carbon, it is also much more efficient to build with:

  • Timber has a high strength-to-weight ratio, and timber buildings will typically be approximately half the weight of an equivalent concrete structure. This significantly reduces concrete requirements to foundations.
  • Being only 20% the weight of concrete, there are significantly less truck loads required to the building site.
  • An accurate CNC fabricated timber building will reduce the build time by as much as 30%.

Te Oro Music & Arts – CNC Fabricated by TimberLab Solutions Ltd

Botany Toyota – CNC Fabricated by TimberLab Solutions Ltd

These factors all reduce embodied carbon in the final build. It has been suggested that switching high emission products to mass timber (where appropriate) could cut global Greenhouse Gas emissions by as much as 6%.

New Zealand’s total annual exports for unprocessed logs is currently $3.8 billion ($3.0 billion of this is exported to China).

Converting these raw logs into high value Engineered Wood Products adds value to our economy and creates jobs.

TimberLab is committed to continuing to grow the New Zealand mass timber market to
improve our environment and the lives of people around the world.