Towards net-zero in New Zealand
Moata Carbon Portal is helping three public bodies in New Zealand cut emissions.
Establishing Watercare’s carbon baseline sets the stage for the water sector
Identifying carbon hotspots has helped Auckland’s water network operator, Watercare, and its supply chain to understand their carbon emissions and where to focus decarbonisation efforts.
In 2019, New Zealand was one of the first countries in the world to make a legally binding commitment to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. And in 2021, the government set the public sector, including public utility providers, an even stricter deadline: to become carbon neutral by 2025. The country must urgently understand, quantify and cut its carbon emissions, and plan how to compensate for remaining emissions through carbon sequestration and offsetting.
We have partnered with Local Government New Zealand, an agency that represents the country’s councils, and are supporting Auckland Council and utility providers Watercare and Transpower, to assess carbon arising from construction, repair and maintenance (capital carbon), and asset operation (operational carbon). We’re helping them slash carbon from new projects. And we’re providing the information needed to plot reduction pathways.
Our digital solution, Moata Carbon Portal, is at the centre of these activities. Digital solutions combine skills in data science with ‘domain’ expertise – deep sector knowledge in water, energy, transport and the built environment.
The impacts of each option and design change can be measured and compared. At the beginning of the process, Moata Carbon Portal encourages users to take a view of the systems into which a new asset will be integrated. No-build solutions might be possible by modifying existing assets, or by tackling user behaviours. And it focuses on asset lifecycles – capital and operational carbon combined (also referred to as ‘total carbon’).
Moata Carbon Portal is used with diverse stakeholders, from citizens to industry carbon experts and everyone in between. To span the range of interests and information needs, different toolkits and dashboards are developed. Moata Carbon Portal will continue to evolve as more organisations use it to make day-to-day decisions for their capital programmes and communicate with their stakeholders.
The link between BIM design software and Moata Carbon Portal allowed Watercare and its designers and contractors to explore multiple construction and operational scenarios and see the carbon implications as design changes were made. With a clear understanding of the programme’s carbon footprint, Watercare can use the information to start making reductions through project requirements, innovative design and efficient construction.
Auckland is committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, yet it has also increased its construction budget for 2021-31 by 21%, compared with 2011-21. The construction splurge is in preparation for a predicted 43% population increase by 2048, to replace aged infrastructure, and to stimulate recovery from the economic downturn caused by Covid-19. Yet construction is responsible for nearly 40% of global carbon emissions.
Using Moata Carbon Portal to aid New Zealand’s net-zero ambitions
City authorities and public utilities
Carbon management and digital modelling
The word Moata is Māori, meaning ‘to be ready’. It’s fitting to see Moata Carbon Portal growing in Aotearoa, where ‘moata’ originates.
Ruatara Paapu, Moata software lead, Mott MacDonald