More wood construction for Zero Carbon

Wednesday 13 Nov 2019

OPINION (Marty Verry): University and Scion research shows how New Zealand can achieve "zero carbon" in our third-biggest area of emissions, buildings - Our three main greenhouse gas (GHG) emission sources are transport, agriculture and buildings.

How we build the latter has a significant impact on how well we respond to climate change.

Having visited the Tokyo Car Show this month, it is clear to me that, by 2050, most land transport will be electric. Agriculture is on its own pathway to working out how to play its part in that timeframe.

The potential for a big early climate change win is in what we build with. Buildings cause GHG emissions in two ways; the embodied carbon from the extraction, manufacture and transport of the materials used, and the ongoing emissions from the energy used by the building.

Nearly all electricity in New Zealand is from renewable sources so measurement of ongoing energy use, known as "Life Cycle Analysis", is fairly irrelevant in terms of climate change. Don't get me wrong, it's always good to save power for economic reasons, but right now the biggest show in town is climate change.

So when it comes to buildings and climate change, it is only the upfront embodied carbon in the materials that is relevant in New Zealand.

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Source: Red Stag Timber

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