Significant Building Code update to H1 Energy Efficiency

Significant Building Code update released today

Today, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) released the biggest energy efficiency changes to the acceptable solutions and verification methods in more than a decade.

This year’s Building Code update means significant changes for all parts of the sector – manufacturers, suppliers, builders and homeowners. The changes go as far and as fast as is achievable using current insulation products and construction design and practices to create better quality homes and buildings for New Zealand with less impact on the environment.
Updates to insulation requirements aim to reduce energy needed to heat and cool new buildings by 23% and to heat new homes by up to 40%. This will have positive health impacts for New Zealanders and contribute to increased energy savings allowing people to heat their homes and buildings more easily and efficiently, making them more comfortable and healthier to live and work in.

There will be a one-year transition period for the sector to understand and prepare for the changes before they become mandatory in 2022.

Find out more by visiting building.govt.nz

We will be releasing more information and simple break-downs of the new regulations shortly. 

Summary of decisions

1. Energy efficiency for housing and small buildings

MBIE is proceeding with changes to roof, window, wall and underfloor insulation requirements by issuing the new edition of Acceptable Solution H1/AS1 and Verification Method H1/VM1 for housing and small buildings. The new insulation requirements aim to reduce energy needed for heating residential homes of approximately 40% over minimum previous requirements.

2. Energy efficiency for large buildings 

MBIE is proceeding with changes to roof, window, wall and underfloor insulation requirements and issuing the new H1/AS2 and H1/VM2 for large buildings. This aims to reduce the energy needed for heating and cooling of 23% on average across new large buildings over previous minimum status quo requirements. 

3. Energy efficiency for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in commercial buildings 

MBIE is publishing the new verification method H1/VM3 with modifications to the proposed text to clarify the requirements and address items raised in the consultation. This new verification method allows building owners to better monitor the performance of their HVAC system and know that the system is using energy optimally.

View the new acceptable solutions and verification methods for H1 Energy Efficiency

4. Natural light for higher-density housing 

MBIE is publishing the new acceptable solutions G7/AS1 and G7/AS2 with minor modifications to the proposal. The existing outdated G7/VM1 will be replaced with a verification method to demonstrate compliance using computer modelling. Refreshing these acceptable solutions and verification methods for clause G7 Natural Light helps ensure people have sufficient amounts of daylight in higher-density housing.

View the new acceptable solutions and verification methods for G7 Natural Light

5. Weathertightness testing for higher-density housing 

MBIE is issuing the new edition of E2/VM2 without any modifications to the proposal.  The revised weathertightness testing method cited in E2/VM2 that can be used to demonstrate that cladding systems are sufficiently weathertight. The new version does not significantly change the minimum performance requirements and existing tested cladding systems will not need to be retested.

View the new Verification Method E2/VM2 

6. Standards referenced in B1 Structure 

MBIE is referencing the new versions of four standards in the acceptable solutions and verification methods for B1 Structure.

7. Editorial changes to Acceptable Solution B1/AS1 

MBIE is proceeding with the editorial corrections to Acceptable Solution B1/AS1 without any modifications to the proposal.

View the new acceptable solutions and verification methods for B1 Structure

Transition period

The effective date for the new acceptable solutions and verification methods is 29 November 2021 with a transition period of one-year ending on 3 November 2022.