In this article, we delve into the recent New Zealand Building Code insulation changes and what these alterations mean for the required insulation levels in your future home.
Over the past two years, you’ve likely seen how the building industry in New Zealand has been under tremendous pressure. With historically low interest rates, there has been an unprecedented surge in demand for building and construction services. Manufacturers have been working diligently to produce building materials at record levels, but even so, the demand has outstripped supply. To compound this, the disruptions caused by COVID-19 have affected supply chains, making it challenging to access the raw materials essential for manufacturing building products. This perfect storm has resulted in building costs surging by more than 30% during this period.
During this tumultuous time, the government has taken a keen interest in enhancing building standards, with a particular focus on improving energy efficiency. This has been achieved by increasing the minimum insulation/R-values to control airflow, solar heat gain, hot water systems, and artificial lighting. To this end, the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) has introduced substantial amendments to H1/AS1, which are applicable to all new homes.
There are now six climate zones across New Zealand. These zones determine the new minimum insulation standards mandated for your home.
These new insulation levels apply not only to ceilings, walls, and floors but also to windows and glazing. Thanks to these improvements in thermal performance, a home constructed according to the new standards will be approximately 40% more energy-efficient. This will reduce the overall energy required for heating and cooling your home.
Insulation and joinery manufacturers have worked diligently to design and re-engineer their product ranges to ensure that builders and construction companies can comply with the new standards.
There had been widespread anticipation that MBIE would introduce new requirements to increase the thickness of walls in standard residential homes from 90mm to 140mm as part of these changes. After consulting with industry leaders, it was determined that such a change would exert excessive pressure on the industry. Nevertheless, it is still expected that this change will come into effect in the next few years.
Homes with a 140mm wide wall cavity would necessitate much higher levels of wall insulation. As a result, many home builders are proactively exploring adjustments to their designs in anticipation of these impending alterations.
If you currently own an existing house, there’s no immediate action required. However, if you’re embarking on the construction of a new home, you must ensure compliance with these new requirements.
As a landlord, it’s advisable to contemplate upgrading your homes’ insulation to ensure they meet the new standards.
If you have inquiries regarding the New Zealand Building Code insulation changes or would like to schedule a free home assessment, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team from AAA Insulation. Our sales consultants are here to discuss your specific requirements.