Low carbon rules : an interdisciplinary approach to writing standards for earth and straw construction in Aotearoa New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Other Title
Hall, Min
Morris, H.
North, G.
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Conference Contribution - Paper in Published Proceedings
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
New Zealand
building standards
NZS 4297-99 (2020) Earth Building Standards
straw bale construction
earth construction
sustainable buildings
low carbon
Hall, M., Morris, H., & North, G. (2020). Low Carbon Rules: an interdisciplinary approach to writing standards for earth and straw construction in Aotearoa New Zealand. In Ali Ghaffarianhoseini (Ed.), Imaginable Futures: Design Thinking and Scientific Method. 54th International Conference of the Architectural Science Association 2020 , Vol. 54 (pp. 705-714).
In order to realise a future where a variety of low carbon building options is readily available, their consenting needs to be supported by relevant standards to assist their path through the regulatory process. The recently published suite of revised and expanded Earth Building Standards, NZS 4297-99: 2020, does just that. The product of a collaboration between a team of architects, engineers, builders, consenting officers, and academics, the standards provide normative and informative guidance for using a wide range of earth and straw building techniques. A key aspect of the interdisciplinary collaboration involved testing of both materials and testing methods included in the revised standards. These standards enable a 'low-tech' approach, making self-help methods available to owner builders, including simplified material testing with low cost equipment. This paper reviews the standards development including testing of materials, verification of low-tech material testing. Given the challenges associated with the changing roles of government and other stakeholders, the problems that arise when the maintenance and development of building standards relies heavily on industry funding, an international collaboration is proposed with lobbying for national government support for on-going development.
Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA)
Link to ePress publication
Copyright holder
Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA), Australia
Copyright notice
©2020, All rights reserved and published by The Architectural Science Association (ANZAScA), Australia
Copyright license
Available online at
This item appears in: