Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Building for zero carbon by 2050

Auahatia ana te kaupapa waro kore hei ā 2050

Tuesday 16 February 2021

NZ’s Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act commits us to reduce our carbon emissions to zero by 2050. The building and construction sector is responsible for 20% of NZ’s carbon emissions and has a key a role to play in achieving our goals for zero carbon emissions.

Tackling this challenge will require all actors in the sector to join forces to make the changes necessary to transform the sector. What are the necessary changes and how do we see them through?

The Climate Change Commission has been set up to give a strategic policy overview to guide NZ’s transition to a low emissions and climate-resilient future. MBIE has recently proposed two frameworks as part of its plan for how the sector can achieve carbon emissions reductions to meet the 2050 goal. Energy performance certificates for buildings are gaining political support.

What is the government thinking behind these developments? What does the latest research suggest? And what help does industry need?

This symposium will bring together local and national experts to discuss these issues and the way forward.

Topics covered

  • Need for rapid carbon reductions
  • Contribution of building sector to emissions reductions
  • What the building sector needs to be able to meet zero carbon goals

Style of course

Symposium – Multi-speaker presentations and panel discussion in lecture theatre setting.

Who should attend?  

This symposium will be relevant to builders, tradespeople, developers, architects, policymakers and researchers who want to work towards New Zealand’s low carbon commitment.

COVID-19 contingency plan

If COVID Alert Level restrictions prevent in-person/face-to-face delivery of this course, it will be delivered online the same day, and a credit of $100 given ($50 for those paying staff/student rate).

If the course is able to be delivered in person, but a participant cannot travel to Wellington due to COVID Alert Level restrictions, the course fee will be refunded in full.

Draft timetable

Time Session Presenter(s)
8:30am Registration
9:00am Mihi Whakatau and housekeeping Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman
Session 1: The big picture
9:05am Government’s vision for NZ’s low carbon future (and Q & A) Minister for Climate Change – James Shaw
9:25am MBIE Building for Climate Change – programme overview Elrond Burrell
9:40am Climate change: scientific, economic and policy context Associate Professor Ralph Chapman
10:00am Role of the Climate Change Commission Catherine Leining
10:20am Session panel All session speakers
10:30am Morning tea
Session 2: Operationalising the vision
11:00am Building for Climate Change – Mitigation Frameworks Elrond Burrell
11:20am Energy Performance Certificates – choosing the best comparison Helen Viggers
11:40am Energy Performance Certificates – an introduction Roman Jaques
12:00pm Smart Grids, Smart Communities, Smart Homes Professor Mark Apperley
12:20m Session panel All session speakers
12:30pm Lunch break
Session 3: Boots on the blueprint
1:30pm Building well at pace and  scale Patrick Dougherty
1:50pm Commercial realities and commercial possibilities: Private developers face the future Mark McGuinness
2:10pm Thinking radically: reliable delivery of healthy, low carbon buildings Guy Shaw
2:30pm Installing solar in the community Ian Shearer
2:50pm Session panel All session speakers
3:00pm Afternoon tea
Session 4: Nailing it
3:30pm Public housing: maximising wellbeing Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman
3:50pm Mobilising our collective power towards a zero carbon future Erica Finnie
4:10pm Panel discussion All speakers
4:55pm Concluding remarks & Poroporoaki Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman
5:00pm Finish
5:15pm Launch of Improving buildings, cutting carbon, NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities’ latest book Geoff Bertram, Senior Associate, Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington


  • Professor Mark Apperley – University of Waikato
  • Elrond Burrell – Principal Advisor, Architecture & Design, MBIE
  • Associate Professor Ralph Chapman – Victoria University of Wellington
  • Patrick Dougherty – General Manager, Construction & Innovation, Kāinga Ora
  • Erica Finnie – Co-Director, 350 Aotearoa
  • Catherine Leining – Climate Change Commissioner, He Pou a Rangi Climate Change Commission
  • Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman – University of Otago, Wellington
  • Roman Jaques – Senior Building Environment Scientist, BRANZ
  • Mark McGuinness – Managing Director, Willis Bond & Co. Limited
  • Hon James Shaw – Minister for Climate Change
  • Guy Shaw – Architect, Energy Architecture NZ Ltd
  • Ian Shearer – Front-End Solar Technologies Ltd
  • Helen Viggers – Research Fellow, University of Otago, Wellington

Course cost and registration

$300 early bird, $400 after Tuesday 22 December 2020.

A 50 per cent discount is available to full-time students, those unwaged and University of Otago staff.

Register now

Note COVID-19 contingency plan above. Any questions please see FAQ page or email