Jasmax to deliver net zero carbon buildings by 2030

The built environment currently accounts for 40% of all global carbon emissions. For Aotearoa New Zealand to meet its carbon zero legislation, we must rethink the way we design and build now. What we build today is going to be around until 2070. If we are going to reach net zero by 2050, new buildings will have to be at net zero carbon by 2030.

In response, Jasmax has launched its Pathway to Net Zero Carbon Design, sketching a roadmap to achieve carbon neutral buildings by 2030.

The framework is underpinned by research from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) which published its Sustainable Outcomes Guide to meet the UN Sustainability Goal to be net carbon zero by 2050. Jasmax has translated RIBA’s framework into a New Zealand context and invested in research to measure a cross section of the practice's recent and current projects against the framework.

CEO Sjoerd Post says, “While RIBA has set out an excellent roadmap towards carbon neutrality of buildings, we knew it was vital to understand how this relates in a meaningful way to New Zealand. And then, the real question is how do we engage clients to deliver on it? Given the lifecycle of buildings, we must act now, which is why we have set performance targets for 2020, 2025 and 2030.”

The performance targets relate to three key areas of building sustainability that Jasmax has identified will drive the most change towards achieving carbon neutrality. These are Whole of Life Embodied Carbon, Operational Energy, and potable Water Usage.

Principal Chris Scott says “There are a number of differences between the UK and New Zealand that have been factored into our Pathway to Net Zero Carbon Design. For example, New Zealand buildings have quite different material supply chains and are designed to meet a strict code for earthquake resilience – typically this means embodied carbon of a NZ building is often higher than a similar United Kingdom design. But we have set the target of a 50% reduction by 2030."

While the targets are ambitious, Scott adds, “The encouraging thing is we have the knowledge and the capability to achieve these targets today. For example, AUT University’s Mana Hauora Building, completed in 2017, exceeds the 2025 operational energy target. And it was delivered on a budget that had no extra allowance for sustainability.”

Jasmax has also achieved New Zealand’s Living Building, the world’s most rigorous sustainability standard, which is net zero energy. Te Kura Whare, the centre of governance for Ngāi Tūhoe, was certified in 2014. It was the 15th building globally and the first example outside of America to meet the Living Building standard.

Scott says “There is an opportunity to lead the way in not just delivering on the net zero carbon goals, but in the way we think about designing for them. Great architecture is always about pushing the boundaries. How do we deliver buildings that meet these embodied carbon targets, and are reusable at the end of their lives?  How do we build more multi-storey buildings out of renewable timber? These are questions we need as an industry to answer.”

“We are the leading designers in New Zealand not just championing sustainability but delivering it. New Zealand is world-leading in so many ways and as designers it is our responsibility to drive change. Jasmax has made a commitment to raising the bar of delivering sustainability in the building industry in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the world” says Post.