New Zealand’s buildings of the future could be assessed on the overall carbon footprint and consumption of each individual piece of material used, from the ‘humble’ nail to a piece of glass.

In a world first, New Zealand’s Building and Construction Minister Clayton Cosgrove has proposed the strict carbon assessment for producing, maintaining and using new buildings under a radical proposal released under the nation’s Building Code Review.

Cosgrove says the proposal comes at a time when the world is looking to reduce carbon costs and public perceptions towards reductions are favourable.

“Using the projected lifetime CO2 emissions of buildings as the principal measure of resource efficiency under the new Building Code is worth considering,” Cosgrove says.

“This approach would take into account energy and water efficiency, construction materials and construction waste.”

Cosgrove says the proposal will also aim to keep overall building costs down.

“Innovations in building technology and construction techniques have advanced significantly since the Building Code was introduced in 1991, and as a result, we expect a lot more from our buildings than we did 16 years ago,” Cosgrove says.

Reported by Penny Jones