Meet Emily Newmarch

“I’m passionate about seeing carbon reduction represented in more than just numbers.”

“You can navigate different pathways and design solutions for projects by also looking at more qualitative aspects of that design,” says Victoria University PhD Candidate and Warren and Mahoney Low Carbon Design Specialist, Emily Newmarch.

“Embodied carbon is all about materials, and you can quantify those, but those materials also represent the building’s identity and express the design vision that contribute to the way the place is experienced. It’s exciting to be open to all of those conversations because it allows you to find really unique and innovative opportunities inside each project.”

Emily has spent the last 2 years embedded in the Warren and Mahoney team as she completes a PhD that she describes as “an exploration of embodied carbon emissions through a poetic and practical lens. I am using my research to support Warren and Mahoney in turning committent into action and finding ways to deliver on the carbon reduction commitments that the practice has made.”

While at Warren and Mahoney, Emily has worked on projects ranging from interiors to master-planning, and everything in-between. “I’ve really stretched across a number of projects that have helped me look at different ways that we can problem-solve through design. I look at design process, scientific methods on measuring carbon and how people work with different kinds of information; in essence, how we make our buildings better for a low-carbon future. In particular, we’ve been looking at how to make data-informed design decisions in the early design phase and creating workflows that allow us to get that information faster. I’m currently actioning that on an aquatic centre and a couple of office spaces to test how we navigate those different calculations.”

“You can navigate different pathways and design solutions for projects by also looking at more qualitative aspects of that design,” says Victoria University PhD Candidate and Warren and Mahoney Low Carbon Design Specialist, Emily Newmarch.

As a recently named finalist for the New Zealand Green Building Council’s Future Thinker of the Year award, Emily is working hard to close the gap between the skills the industry most needs and those that emerging professionals are able to learn. “We’re getting this rapid change in the industry which is being accelerated by climate change, and I’m really fortunate that I’ve had the time to learn those skills while completing my PhD. I want to make that knowledge more accessible so that others can learn how to look at the carbon footprint of their buildings and feel empowered to do the work that they want to do.

“Historically, the industry has relied heavily on individual practices to educate new professionals with the skills that they require. Gradually, we’re moving into more of a methodology space where a lot of tools are being developed, but there’s still not a lot of education around how to use them. That carries the risk of simply auditing projects and deciding that we’ll do better next time; there’s a big difference between auditing a project and informing a project. We can make more meaningful reductions by creating better education around these tools and methodologies. I have spent the last 3 summers supervising student research projects to help bridge that gap between academia and industry.”

Emily is currently addressing the urgent carbon challenge through an exploration of building at different scales. “After researching the carbon problem at a single building level – where you’re typically looking at a lifespan of 50 or 60 years – I started looking at the scales above and below. I expanded that scale to look at multiple buildings inside one calculation over a time period more like a couple of hundred years, so you’re then talking about a city block or up to a whole region. This prompted me to more closely examine end-of-life strategies for buildings. Rather than just thinking about reductions we can make today, we need to be looking at things like how we can adapt and reuse parts of buildings without requiring this ongoing cycle of demolish and rebuild. This enables systems to work well over time and creates feasible scenarios for things like large land areas within or around cities to sequester carbon through carbon sinks. I’ve been looking at how we benchmark carbon for a while and this approach could change the way we do this by sequestering and then allocating it by region.”

Since her childhood growing up near Timaru, Emily has found a deep connection with the natural environment, she says. “I was the kid who was always in gumboots. I loved being outside and going fishing and camping with my family. I was also really into both art and maths; I remember being about 11 and going for a walk with my Mum and realising as we talked that architecture was a way I could combine all of the things I loved. As I grew up, I challenged that idea with other possible career paths, but I always came back to architecture.”

The intersection of art and science continues to be where Emily feels most inspired, and she says that the relationship between the two disciplines holds a key to translating vision into action. “That juxtaposition is one of the most exciting aspects of practising architecture. Yes, a building needs to stand up and keep the weather out, but it’s also something that can express ideas and share the stories of clients and communities. The built environment is a fundamental part of our day-to-day, but it also carries meaning and shapes the way we experience the world.”

As her PhD draws to a close, Emily is excited about spending more time in industry and continuing to make a meaningful difference to the way that Warren and Mahoney approaches design. “We’re at the early stage of a couple of master-plans which will allow me to further explore how we can address the carbon problem on a multi-building level. I’m also committed to providing continued support to the wider industry on its carbon literacy journey. There are so many more pathways than just timber to get us there, so I’m excited to pass along my knowledge of those opportunities. A big part of embodied carbon lies in re-thinking how we approach typologies. It’s a really exciting problem, but also an urgent one because we need to be reacting now.”

To learn more and connect with Emily, visit and, or contact Emily directly at

Bex De Prospo
Bex De Prospo