The New Zealand Building Code sets the regulations that outline the minimum standards for the design and construction of buildings in Aotearoa. Clause H1 (Energy Efficiency) outlines the requirements for energy efficiency in buildings. The recent changes to H1 aim to increase the energy efficiency of new buildings, reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment, and help the nation meet its emission reduction targets set out by the Government. The overall objective is ensuring that building materials have higher R-values to thereby improve thermal performance.
The first change includes increasing the minimum insulation requirements for new buildings. Going forward, the insulation in walls, ceilings, and floors must meet higher thermal performance standards to reduce heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.
Another change is that the minimum thermal performance requirements for glazing are being increased. Windows, doors and skylights will now need to have better thermal performance to reduce heat loss and gain.
The minimum requirements for heating, ventilation and cooling systems are also changing with the newly introduced H1 amendments. Buildings will need more energy-efficient systems to heat, cool and ventilate the building. In addition to this, the minimum requirements for lighting systems and hot water systems are also increasing. In turn, buildings will need more energy-efficient lighting systems to reduce the energy consumption of lighting, and more energy-efficient hot water systems in order to mitigate the energy consumption often generated through hot water heating.
The H1 changes have also introduced new climate zones across the country. Currently, New Zealand is split into 3 climate zones but the new changes have doubled this to 6 climate zones. With more distinct climate zones, building requirements can be tailored to suit local climatic conditions, ensuring the correct R-value requirements are assigned to each region.
Overall, these changes will help to reduce the environmental impact of new buildings, lower energy costs for building occupants and help New Zealand to meet its emissions reduction targets. It’s important to note that these changes may vary from time to time, and differ in different building contexts. Checking with the local council for the most recent updates regarding particular climate zones is an appropriate course of action.
If you are wishing to undertake a new build or renovation, and have questions regarding the incoming building code changes, get in contact with Korben Homes today!