Buildings and NZ's 2050 zero carbon goal

thinkstep-anz’s new report identifies opportunities to decarbonise New Zealand’s building and construction sector by 40% with a focus on embodied emissions from now until 2050.

The strategies set out in this report could save approximately 1,200 kt CO2e per year: equivalent to taking 460,000 passenger cars off the road permanently and 15% of New Zealand’s total light vehicle fleet.


The key materials contributing to embodied GHG emissions in New Zealand were found to be steel and concrete, which together contribute more than 50% of the carbon footprint of both residential and non-residential construction (excluding fit-out and building services). Aluminium was also very significant for non-residential construction. For residential construction, timber framing was the next biggest contributor, followed by paint, aluminium and plasterboard.

A collaborative effort will enable us to achieve or exceed the 40% decarbonisation potential identified in this report. Decarbonising the built environment will require the following:

· Collaboration among all players in the building sector

· Communication of good information and data

· Innovation in the manufacturing sector

· Policy development encouraging the use of materials with low embodied carbon.