Sustainable Urban Environment

Build sustainability into Wellington’s urban environment

Traditionally, urban environments are users of energy and natural resources.  Wellington’s buildings are responsible for 42 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Transport accounts for another 35 percent.  We need to find ways to develop our urban environment in a more sustainable way. 

Creating incentives to reduce energy use will be part of the approach.  Many small-scale energy-efficiency improvements, such as better insulation in homes, vehicle efficiency, more efficient lighting, cooling and heating systems, make good economic sense as well as green sense.  Our transport infrastructure will be more sustainable with continued increases in public transport availability and quality, alongside walking and cycling alternatives.

We also need an approach that supports the urban environment to be a positive environmental contributor.  This means encouraging more green buildings in the city – buildings that are creators of energy, not just users.  Green roofs also help to absorb rainwater, provide insulation and create spaces for city gardens.  This is existing technology.

We need to explore the potential of domestic-based infrastructure, bringing green building innovations to homes and neighbourhoods.  Local renewable energy such as from wind, tidal and wave energy, as well as biomass energy from waste, could be used to power the city’s homes, buildings and transport.  Generating power locally, closer to the point of consumption, minimises energy loss and associated emissions and forms part of an infrastructure that is more resilient to unexpected natural events.

The city will continue to invest in its network of natural assets - parks, gardens, coastline, town belt and reserves, as well as green buildings.  These help to support biodiversity while also absorbing carbon emissions, and forming part of Wellington’s green infrastructure.

Building sustainability into Wellington’s urban environment needs:

  • Incentives and investment that encourages innovation in green building design and transport infrastructure
  • Support for the growth of ‘domestic-based’ infrastructure, including generating energy in a locally-distributed network
  • Continued protection of Wellington’s green infrastructure, including the Town Belt, to protect our biodiversity and offset carbon emissions.