Reduce your carbon footprint with a clean and clever energy approach

The Aged Care & Retirement Living Decarbonisation Pathway provides New Zealand facilities with free access to helpful tools and resources, designed specifically for the sector by industry experts.

The development of this pathway has been supported by the Retirement Village Association of New Zealand (RVA).

Carbon emissions across the aged care and retirement living sector contribute approximately 66,000 tCO2e each year. Energy use in the sector is made up of an estimated 34.5% fossil fuel and 65.5% electricity. Research recently undertaken by EECA found that almost all the fossil fuel used within the sector is natural gas or LPG.

This pathway focuses on carbon emissions coming from the everyday operations of rest homes and retirement living – primarily heating, cooling, and lighting. There are good opportunities to improve the energy performance of the sector with energy savings to be made in water heating and decreasing air-conditioning consumption, as well as the use of new technologies to improve heat recovery and transfer.

New Zealand's aged care and retirement living facilities

New Zealand’s aged living sector is large and growing, with an estimated 90,000 residents in facilities catering specifically to the elderly. This is separated into three areas: rest home or aged care, retirement living (independent living), and a combination of both. Because there is so much variance within facilities, there is significant diversity in energy split and usage.

Steps taken by aged care and retirement living facility operators across New Zealand will help reduce the impact of the sector on the climate, while also reducing costs and ensuring future business continuity in a low emissions environment.

1 Based on research undertaken by EECA across a sample of 95 sites, Ministry of Health aged care bed data and JLL's annual Retirement Villages Market Review.

2 Calculated using applicable 2020 emission factors published by the Ministry for the Environment.

Objectives of the pathway

  • Support aged care and retirement living facility operators with reducing energy-related emissions at a sector level through tailored tools and resources.
  • Simplify the process of reducing emissions from the sector through a guided five-step pathway and support.
  • Connect New Zealand aged care and retirement living facility operators with world-class innovation and best-practice guidance.

Tools and resources for aged care building owners and managers

Explore our resources for NZ Aged Care and Retirement Living buildings and begin your decarbonisation journey.

Benefits to aged care and retirement living facility operators

Reduce costs

Improving energy efficiency can reduce the cost of operations and energy as well as mitigating the rising cost of fuels. The cost of gas for industry is the highest it has ever been.

Reducing energy demand offers a key opportunity to both reduce operational costs and emissions in aged care and retirement living facilities. 

Create value

With residents and their families becoming more educated on their choices and options, improving the sustainability of your facility may attract environmentally conscious residents while improving the overall satisfaction levels.

This is a key opportunity for early adopters of sustainable practices to not only save costs and future proof your facility but also to create added health benefits and value for the resident and their family.

Future proofing

Collaborative, proactive solutions can reduce competition between businesses for the same services, resources, and opportunities – reducing costs and ensuring business continuity in a low carbon future.

The Emissions Reduction Plan 2022 has set a target to produce a Gas Transition Plan by the end of 2023, which will set out a transition pathway from fossil gas. Proposed amendments to the Building Act will make holding energy performance ratings mandatory. Aged care and retirement living facility operators can begin to prepare for this transition through implementing changes that reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.