Net Zero: Road to 2050 – How your home could help control climate change

Net Zero: the road to 2050

Our homes are contributing a lot to climate change by simply being there. In fact, they cause up to 10 percent of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions. But some interesting things are happening to reduce the damage done to our homes and even make them part of the solution. Listen to the latest episode of Net Zero: Road to 2050 podcast to find out more.

Buildings account for between 15 and 20 percent of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions, depending on the figures used.

That’s less than other countries, because our electricity grid is greener than most. In the United States, for example, the built environment contributes nearly 50% to emissions.

But 15-20 percent is still significant.

About half of these total emissions come from homes and half from non-residential buildings. Cut it in a different way, and half of it comes from the daily operations of a building (energy for heating, lighting, cooling and the tools we have in our homes, for example), and half from what is called “embedded carbon.” “- the emissions of the energy needed for construction. It could be the extraction or registration of materials, the production of concrete, steel, glass, bricks, etc., bringing everything to the site and even the use of power tools on the work.

In the final podcast of the Net Zero: Road to 2050 Nikki Mandow, corporate editor of Newsroom, examines the challenges faced by homeowners and the construction industry to reduce emissions so we can reach our zero-carbon goals by 2050 and save the world.

We’re not doing great so far, but there are interesting things behind the scenes.

Technology will play a big role in how our homes can help us create fewer emissions, save on electricity, and hopefully avoid the need to build more power plants.

We will need more solar panels, batteries and smart appliances, as well as a much more proactive power grid that can easily move energy in and out of homes.

In the podcast, Mandow meets Nic Romaniuk, a technophile homeowner who can’t wait to get his hands on the new gear.

Nic Romaniuk can keep an eye on the flow of electricity in and out of his home from his laptop or phone. Photo: Nikki Mandow

New Zealand will also need better price signals, more information sharing, a change in regulations, and some potentially important changes in the way the electricity market operates if we are to achieve maximum emissions reductions, says Angela Ogier, director of energy and hydrogen transition at EY New Zealand.

“What we should be aiming for is the intelligence to manage these things, including home management systems to make things easier for us.

“That technology will arrive in time. But it needs the infrastructure to be built. And it needs price signals to be present on the market. “

But it’s not just about technology, Andrew Eagles, chief executive of the New Zealand Green Building Council, told Mandow on the podcast.

Andrew Eagles says we don’t need more hydroelectric dams, we need warmer, more energy efficient homes. Photo: supplied

Just making every home more efficient will also have a huge impact on the emissions associated with running a home and on the homes that play a role in eliminating our remaining coal and gas-fired electricity generation.

Research from the University of Otago has found one of the major problems with our grid and the reason we blackout and turn on the Huntly power plant is our peak load. And peak load is directly related to when we turn on our energy needs in New Zealand homes in the winter, ”says Eagles.

“Many commentators speak of the need for more hydroelectric dams or more wind turbines. But the reality is that we could reduce that peak load by more than 70 percent if we built low-carbon homes and adapted our existing homes to energy efficiency levels. “

Finally, Mandow visits the Fletcher building Low carbon 1.5 degree house pilotwhere a team is trying to figure out how to align the way we build and manage our homes with a future where we keep global warming 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Nicola Tagiston and Steve Evans of Fletcher Building with the 1.5 degree house model. Photo: Nikki Mandow

Construction hasn’t started yet, but project leader Nicola Tagiston explains what they discovered in 18 months of data-driven research on every aspect of building and running a home. You will be surprised.

Did you like this article? Podcast is so much better! Listen to it now (link above) and the others in the series (link below). You are (almost) guaranteed to learn something new and interesting.

Green Hydrogen: How Team NZ’s technology is helping us move forward.

Zombie forests, carbon sinks and ETS

Tractor protests and hot air: how our biggest emitters staged the biggest battle

Green money and green wash

When green is a bad word. How companies have done so for so long by doing so little

Net Zero: The road to 2050 is a six-part Newsroom podcast series, produced in collaboration with EY. Commercial editor Nikki Mandow examines some of the more interesting, critical, and sometimes confusing ways New Zealand is tackling climate change. Our fortnightly episodes attempt to demystify some of the complex issues involved in the push to bring Aotearoa to net zero emissions by 2050.

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