Archive | Green building

Homestar v4 rating launched

Green Building Council chief executive Andrew Eagles thanked the construction industry last night for an extremely robust response when the council sought feedback on its proposed upgrade of the Homestar standard.

The outcome, he said, was a far better version that would make it easier to lift & verify the performance of new homes.

One important outcome is that it will be more readily available to large subdivision builders, enabling them to provide high volume of better homes at speed.

In Homestar version 4, the R values for energy rating are set out, doing away with modelling, and a one-page checklist can be used.

The Green Building Council introduced the original Homestar – an independent rating tool that certifies the health, efficiency & sustainability of homes – in 2010. After wide industry consultation, version 4 was re-engineered to align with the needs of volume builders, providing for volume certification, with more practical evidence requirements, and a removal of the requirement for slab edge insulation in Auckland, Coromandel or Northland.

Mr Eagles said: “Where Homestar v4 is applied to a new build, New Zealanders individually & collectively benefit. Over the course of 5 years, a 6 Homestar-rated household will save $5,000, an 8-star $10,000, carbon emissions will be 1900kg lower for 6-star and 6000kg lower for 8-star.”

Any questions about the need for improvement can quickly be negated. Mr Eagles said New Zealand’s building code as it concerned health & energy efficiency was the worst in the OECD. The 40% of homes that were damp & mouldy were a permanent cause of respiratory problems.

“We know our R values [for heat loss] are 2-3 times worse than other countries’,” he said.

From a slow start, the Homestar programme has started to take off and a market was being created for these tools, indicating better performance: “We know if every home was built to a 6-star rating, New Zealand would benefit to the tune of $350 million after 5 years and $150 million/year after that.”

Link: Green Building Council Homestar

Attribution: Green Building Council launch & release.

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Free assessments offered for NabersNZ ratings

The Green Building Council is offering 60 free feasibility assessments for NabersNZ certified ratings in Auckland, Wellington & Christchurch.

Chief executive Andrew Eagles said yesterday the free assessments were available to property owners & tenants for existing office properties.

NabersNZ is an independent measurement & rating tool that benchmarks the energy performance of commercial office buildings.

The Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority’s EECA Business delivers the ratings in collaboration with the Green Building Council. The assessments will be carried out by interns, who will undergo a training course before starting.
Mr Eagles said: “NabersNZ helps landlords identify improvements they can make to save energy, and that makes their building more attractive to tenants. A building with a high NabersNZ certified rating is more likely to attract high value tenants, who will pay a premium for an energy-efficient building. Research in Australia shows up to 8% more.”

Nabers – the national Australian built environment rating system – was adopted in 2013 for New Zealand. The 2 trademarks are held by the New South Wales state government and the New Zealand scheme is licensed to New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority. The NZ Green Building Council administers the programme.

Attribution: Council release.

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Addington refurb scores 5 star NabersNZ rating

IAG NZ Ltd & Goodman Property Trust are the first to achieve a 5 star NabersNZ whole building rating for their Christchurch office at 14 Show Place, Addington.

The sustainability-focused refurbishment of 7000m² of office space on 6 floors in 2 adjoining buildings was prompted by earthquake remediation work & a pending lease expiry.

NabersNZ measures office building energy use. Nabers – the national Australian built environment rating system – was adopted in 2013 for New Zealand. The 2 trademarks are held by the New South Wales state government and the New Zealand scheme is licensed to New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority. The NZ Green Building Council administers the programme.

Goodman portfolio manager Anna Lough said the project aimed to reduce operational costs, reduce the buildings’ carbon footprint and create a healthier environment for staff. Key sustainable features include a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) HVAC system with heat recovery, CO₂ sensors, LED lighting, daylight harvesting & occupancy sensors.

Ms Lough said: “Goodman undertook the project because we saw it as a great opportunity to work collaboratively with one of our largest office occupiers in New Zealand. We were able to refurbish and add value to our asset as well as retain a quality customer and secure them a long-term lease.”

The project was planned & designed in 3 months, and allowed 6-7 weeks to strip & complete each floor while other floors remained occupied. The entire project took 10 months to complete.

IAG’s national property & administration manager, Tim Griffith, said: “The project has shown us that energy-efficient improvements can be made in existing buildings – as an example we’ve easily retrofitted LED lighting with up to 20% savings in lighting energy, with a 2-3-year payback. Air-conditioning is always the largest component of energy use in a building, so it’s worth seeking specialist advice from engineers to ensure the correct equipment is installed and you receive the best energy efficient outcomes. We are seeing a 40% reduction in energy consumption in the building despite an increase in our workforce.”

And Green Building Council chief executive Alex Cutler said: “We’ve found that the buildings with the best energy performance are those where tenant & owner work collaboratively. Congratulations to IAG & Goodman, who have proven that working together can achieve market-leading results that benefit both parties.”

The NabersNZ rating was carried out by Vanessa McGrath from TM Consultants.
The IAG building’s NabersNZ rating was achieved while under the management of Maori Hill Property Ltd, which has managed the property following its sale to a group of investors last November.

Link: Video case study

Attribution: Green Building Council release.

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Lendlease becomes Barangaroo tenant and promotes multi-storey timber office construction

Lendlease Corp moved into its new headquarters in the 168-tall tower 3 of Barangaroo South’s International Towers on Friday, 11 years after being shortlisted in the design competition for the new Sydney financial district between the harbour bridge & Darling Harbour and 6½ years after winning the state government contract to develop stage 1.

2000 of the construction company’s employees are moving from 5 locations into 24,500m² on levels 8-19 of Tower 3’s 39 floors.

Work practices

Chief executive & managing director Steve McCann said the new headquarters showcased Lendlease’s capability – it’s owned by a Lendlease-managed fund, was built by the company, is in a precinct transformed by its urban regeneration business and is in a tenancy that demonstrated the group’s understanding of vibrant, productive workspaces for employees & customers.

Under the team-based working model, instead of belonging to an individual desk, employees belong to a team neighbourhood of 15-20 people, and each neighbourhood has access to a range of spaces. Spaces include a team table, the anchor point for each team; working walls for visual communication; enclosed spaces known as pods; breakaways, for less formal & ad hoc collaboration; and focus points, for tasks requiring concentration.

Levels 13 & 14 feature a 6m high breathing green wall containing over 5000 plants. Mr McCann said the active, modular green wall system was scientifically proven to accelerate the removal of air pollutants, such as carbon dioxide & volatile organic compounds. “In addition, it cools the surrounding air temperature, resulting in energy efficiency and health & wellbeing gains.”

Tower 3 is one of the largest highrise office buildings to have received a 6 star green star office design v3 rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.

As well as noting that staff will have access to over 1000 bike racks, 40% of their work stations are stand-up desks. Lendlease made some observations about work practices in its business, and said the research that informed its new workplace strategy & design revealed:

  • 41% of its people occupy a work point seat at any time
  • 36% are away, on site or working away from the office
  • 23% will be around & about, mainly in meetings or refreshing
  • 54% of their work is process-type, interruptible & routine
  • 53% of their work is done collaborating with others, and
  • 46% of their work requires deeper thinking, focus & to be ‘in the zone’.

Barangaroo South project progress

The whole of Barangaroo South adds about 270,000m² of premium office space to Sydney – similar in scale to the Marina Bay financial centre in Singapore & Canary Wharf in London. 3 towers named International Towers Sydney have been built, 2 now occupied:

Tower 1, PwC, HSBC, Marsh & McLennan, Servcorp
Tower 2, Westpac, Swiss Re, Gilbert + Tobin
Tower 3, KPMG, Lendlease

  • $A4 billion of funding secured for the whole precinct
  • Unitholders in the Towers 2 & 3 owner, Lend Lease International Towers Sydney Trust, are the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (50%), Australian Prime Property Fund Commercial (25%), Lend Lease Trust (15%) & APG (10%)
  • Tower 2 completed & opened 1 July 2015. Tower 3 opening mid-2016 and Tower 1 to open end 2016
  • Barangaroo Reserve (6 ha of parkland) opened by NSW Government in mid-2015.
  • 7000 office workers have moved into Tower 2 and 25 retailers are trading in the precinct; on completion there will be over 80 retail outlets
  • $A40 million public art fund ($A20 million for Barangaroo South) established, with first indigenous artwork unveiled late 2015
  • Transport for NSW’s construction of Wynyard Walk & Barangaroo Ferry hub is ongoing
  • Planning assessments in progress for concept plan amendment (modification 8) & Crown Hotel
  • Application to come for Renzo Piano-designed 1 Sydney Harbour towers.

Trust also buys 6-storey laminated timber office building

An impression of the 6-storey Barangaroo timber-structure office building.

An impression of the 6-storey Barangaroo timber-structure office building.

As its own new headquarters in Barangaroo South neared completion, Lendlease Corp announced on 24 June that the owner of 2 of the 3 office towers in the precinct, Lend Lease International Towers Sydney Trust, would also acquire an innovative 6-storey engineered timber office building.

The building, designed by Jonathan Evans & Alec Tzannes of Tzannes Associates, is aimed at setting a new benchmark in the use of sustainable building materials. It’s due for completion next year.

It will have 5 office floors above ground-floor retail, net lettable area of 6850m², and will be built at the Sussex St junction between the old central business district and the new Barangaroo.

The building will be constructed from cross-laminated timber (CLT) & glue-laminated timber (glulam). CLT has a lower carbon footprint than other building materials, the production process produces zero waste, and timbers are sourced from certified sustainably managed forests. Much of the building can be prefabricated and assembled on site.

Mr Tzannes said: “Looking from the bridges leading to Barangaroo, through the clean glass skin, the multi-storey timber structure forms the character of the architecture, that from inside creates an interior environment reminiscent of the spaces often found in Sydney’s historic timber or cast iron & brick buildings from the era when warehouse buildings were crucial to Australia’s maritime economy.”

International House Sydney is Lendlease’s third CLT building in Australia, joining 2 in Melbourne – Forté Apartments and the Library at The Dock. The library is Australia’s first 6-star green star public building and is made from engineered timber & reclaimed hardwood.

Links: Lendlease
Barangaroo South
International House Sydney

Earlier stories:
21 December 2009: Lend Lease wins Barangaroo stage 1
25 March 2006: 11ha of park in Sydney’s East Darling redevelopment
7 August 2005: East Darling Harbour design competition goes to round 2

Attribution: Company releases.

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Te Puni Kokiri House wins energy award as savings returned to public purse

Argosy Property Ltd’s internal retrofit of Te Puni Kokiri House in Wellington has won the building the Opus International Consultants public sector award at the annual Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority awards for its $7.9 million improvement in value and 30% reduction in energy use.

The building has a 4.5 NabersNZ energy efficiency rating as a result of its retrofit – one of the best ratings for a heritage building in New Zealand – on top of a 5 green star built rating.

The award last week demonstrated that even New Zealand’s oldest heritage buildings can get a new lease of life and be transformed into high performing green buildings.

Te Puni Kokiri House, at 143 Lambton Quay, was also highly commended in the Smart Energy Solutions small-medium energy user category.

Highlights of Te Puni Kokiri House’s retrofit:

  • The value of the building has improved by $7.9 million
  • $80,000/year of energy savings now goes back into the public purse as all 11 floors are occupied by Te Puni Kokiri (the Ministry of Maori Affairs)
  • Energy audits before & after refurbishment showed energy use had reduced from 205 kilowatt hours of energy/m²/year to 138kWh, an improvement of more than 30%
  • Te Puni Kokiri House was the first building in New Zealand to use electro-commutated fan coil units, which improve control of air-conditioning
  • 90% of construction waste was re-used or recycled, and water use has been reduced by 29%.

Several NZ Green Building Council members were also finalists in the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority awards. Laminex NZ was commended in the Waikato University innovation category and the Trustpower renewable energy category, Christchurch City Council was commended in the Opus public sector category, Victoria University’s Victoria energy initiative was highly commended in the Fujitsu General NZ community category, and Auckland Council organisation Panuku Development Auckland’s sustainability manager, Viv Heslop, won the Vector Energy leadership award.

NabersNZ is based on the national Australian built environment rating system (Nabers), which has been used to rate building energy performance for a decade. NabersNZ is the industry standard for benchmarking & improving office building energy performance in New Zealand. It’s licensed to the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority and is administered by the NZ Green Building Council. The Energy Management Association of NZ adapted it for New Zealand conditions.

Attribution: Green Building Council release.

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Call for consistent Australian sustainability ratings

The Australia Sustainable Built Environment Council called last week for a new nationally consistent rating framework for housing sustainability.

President Ken Maher said: “Housing is responsible for 13% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Improving the sustainability of our housing stock is crucial to meeting Australia’s targets for emissions reduction. At the same time, with energy costs rising, greater energy efficiency in our homes will improve the cost & quality of living for all Australians.”

Professor Maher said Australia had no coherent national framework for rating housing sustainability. Instead, a plethora of ratings & measurement tools made things complex for industry professionals and incomprehensible to consumers.

He said the framework should consist of 3 key elements: minimum regulatory performance standards in new buildings, benchmarks for market comparison of best practice sustainability performance, and explanations of the value of sustainability features to renovators & homebuyers.

National Framework for Residential Ratings – Policy Platform
National Framework for Residential Ratings – Discussion Paper

Attribution: Council release.

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New Homestar version targets apartment quality

A new version of Homestar, the rating tool for New Zealand home sustainability, is intended to make it easier for apartment buyers to gauge the health & efficiency of their homes.

The Green Building Council launched Homestar version 3 yesterday with updates specifically to suit higher density developments, making it easier to use the tool on largescale multi-unit projects such as apartments & terraced townhouses.

The updated Homestar includes factors specific to multi-home developments:

  • rewarding shared areas that promote community activities, such as landscaped areas or playgrounds
  • levels of natural light within apartments
  • efficient heating & air-conditioning
  • use of brownfield sites to minimise urban sprawl.

Homestar, run by the Green Building Council, was introduced in 2010 with the backing of the Government & industry to help improve the often low performance of New Zealand homes.

Chief executive Alex Cutler said the updates made Homestar more flexible, so it can work well both for standalone houses as well as developments of many homes.

Homestar is a comprehensive, national, independent system that rates the health, comfort & efficiency of homes on a scale of 1-10, at both the design & built phases. Ms Cutler said a 6-Homestar rating or higher would provide assurance that a home would be warmer, healthier & cost less to run than a typical new home.

The typical New Zealand home rates around 2-3 Homestar, while a new home built only to building code would rate around 4 Homestar. The proposed Auckland unitary plan includes a 6 Homestar rating as a minimum requirement for developments with multiple homes, a provision now being applied in Auckland’s special housing areas.

The Homestar tool review was supported by principal sponsor Willis Bond & Co Ltd and associate sponsor Ockham Residential Ltd.

Both developers have been piloting the new Homestar. Willis Bond & Co last month became the first project to achieve Homestar ratings across a largescale development, with 113 homes at Wynyard Central gaining at least 7 Homestar Design.

Ockham Residential’s new Daisy development in Mt Eden has been appraised as being on track for a 9 Homestar Design rating.

Attribution: Green Building Council release.

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Meridian signs up to return to Christchurch cbd

National electricity retailer Meridian Energy Ltd will return to an office in the Christchurch cbd next year after signing up for nearly half the office space in the 5-level Awly building, currently under construction.

The 51% state-owned Meridian has signed a 10-year lease for 4100m² to accommodate its 370 Christchurch staff in the Warren & Mahoney-designed building, owned by Awly Investments Ltd (Anna Wei Lern Yeo & Andy Wei Lok Yeo), at 287-293 Durham St.

Before the earthquakes in 2010-11, Meridian had its office in Manchester St, but subsequently shifted to premises on the cbd fringe, in Moorhouse Avenue.

Noel Gilchrist & Helen Weideman of Colliers International, who negotiated the lease, said they hoped to be able to confirm further Awly tenants soon.

Mr Gilchrist said: “Meridian’s move sends another really positive signal to the market that big office tenants are keen to return to the inner city. Meridian conducted an exhaustive search lasting over a year, during which they looked at numerous sites.

“We think tenants have been sitting back waiting to see who’s going where, but the office space is starting to take on much more shape now and opportunities are becoming more limited. Office tenants who don’t act shortly risk missing out on their first choice.”

Meridian’s corporate property & procurement manager, John Langman, said the company was attracted to the Awly building because it fitted the staff’s criteria: “Safety still remained of primary importance – particularly in a multi-level building. They also wanted good facilities within the building, such as showers & cycle parks, and wanted to be close to other things such as cafes & shops.

“We’re delighted to be moving into the cbd, not just for ourselves but because we know it will encourage others to follow suit. We think this building is one of the best in the city and we are very keen to be part of the inner-city rebuild.”

Meridian hopes to occupy its new space by next March-April.

Awly is the first building in Christchurch, post-earthquakes, to achieve a 5 green star design rating. Among the many sustainable features are a high performance façade with solar-control glazing & tailored external shading, base-isolated structure for greater seismic resilience and a highly efficient air-conditioning system.

Meridian also selected Awly because of its potential energy efficiencies. The building has been designed to target a 4 star-plus NabersNZ rating – an energy performance measurement for office buildings that can help reduce costs for tenants and enhance building value for owners.

NabersNZ measures & rates energy performance on a scale of 1-6 stars. A 5-star rating is considered market leading performance. To achieve a rating, qualified assessors use 12 months of energy use data,and take into account building area, location, computer density and hours of operation.

Attribution: Agency release.

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New guide aims for better building performance

A new resource launched last night encourages tenants & landlords to join forces to create better performing, more energy-efficient buildings.

The Performance Leasing Guide & Model Clauses is a joint initiative between the Government & industry, developed by the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority, lawyers DLA Piper NZ and the NZ Green Building Council.

The guide has model clauses that may be pasted directly into lease agreements and covers issues such as co-operation between tenants & landlords, energy use, water & waste, quality of the indoor environment and use of rating tools such as Green Star & NabersNZ.

It was adapted from a resource produced by Sydney’s Better Buildings Partnership, a government/industry initiative. Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority chief executive Mike Underhill said the Sydney partnership had had a demonstrably positive impact – a recent leasing index showed two-thirds of Sydney office leases contained best practice clauses, many drawn directly from model clauses supplied by the partnership.

He said the guide complemented other tools available to the commercial property sector such as NabersNZ, the rating for office energy efficiency.

“Globally the trend is towards greater transparency about building performance, as both owners & tenants recognise the advantages of well run, energy-efficient spaces. Owners want lower operating costs & better asset value, while tenants want to be in spaces that support productivity & wellbeing.”

DLA Piper partner Justin March said the guide was intended to help landlords & tenants set clear expectations about building performance at the very beginning of the relationship.

In-depth master classes on best practice leasing, drawing on the guide & clauses, will be held in Wellington & Auckland on Friday 10 July.

Links: For more information & to register
Performance Leasing Guide

Attribution: Joint release.

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Auckland’s waterfront – aiming to be the international exemplar

Among the ironies of political & business life in Auckland, Waterfront Auckland sits at the forefront. As a council-controlled agency, its budget is always a target for reduction, yet its key role is the promotion of excellence.

It could have carpeted the Wynyard Quarter with structures of no architectural, visual or workplace merit and been gone by now. Instead, it has demanded higher standards in every design to ensure a high class of city waterfront transformation.

Aiming high, to be an exemplar in waterfront transformation, has attracted international attention to Auckland as a place of innovation.

Now Waterfront Auckland wants to measure the performance of not just individual buildings, as is happening through Green Building Council ratings, it wants to measure the whole quarter – the buildings, utilities, the air. And it wants to take that model for measuring sustainable construction into the wider Auckland development sphere, as Waterfront Auckland becomes one of the agencies under a new council development authority from 1 September.

The aim, then, will be to make excellence a target in development throughout Auckland.

Waterfront Auckland, in partnership with EECA (the Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority), launched its new online tracking platform, the WQSmart website ( last week.

Waterfront Auckland chief executive John Dalzell said when launching the site: “The website is a great first output and a logical initial channel to make the invisible visible, with a fantastic design that makes normally complex data sets easily digestible by everyone.

“By raising awareness about the extent to which a neighbourhood as a whole puts pressure on resources & the environment, we increase our ability to influence behaviours by building owners, tenants and even visitors to the area.”

One of those new developers is NZX-listed Precinct Properties NZ Ltd, which will build 48,000m² of offices in its Wynyard Quarter project, on land leased from Waterfront Auckland. Development manager Alain McKinney said the company had started with an ordinary building but was turning its precinct into something quite different.

Precinct hopes to start work in July and have the first building ready for occupancy in December 2016. Mr McKinney said green building wasn’t the exception anymore but was becoming the norm – “lower cost, better working environment, fresh air, all the things we didn’t know we needed.”

Wynyard Central will also have a hotel on the old Team NZ site, part of about $1 billion of developments in the quarter over the next decade. For all of them, Mr Dalzell said, Waterfront Auckland’s role was “about influencing, not pushing”.

Developing sustainability ideas in the Wynyard Quarter began in Jellicoe St back in 2006. The bug caught and, through the creation of a dozen waterfront plans since then – now condensed into one – the bug has stuck.

One of the early aspirations for the quarter’s transformation was to reverse the traffic split to make it 70% public transport, 30% private, aided by tighter parking requirements and also helped by many visitors to the Viaduct Events Centre hotfooting it from downtown through the Viaduct Basin and over the Te Wero footbridge, instead of driving.

“The whole thinking about sustainability is something we embedded,” Mr Dalzell said. “With the new development authority, the challenge will be to take what we’ve done down here and spread that wider, and that’s why the Smart precinct is such a big deal.

“It’s an important part of being able to communicate not only to the Auckland community but to the New Zealand community too. We’ve got an opportunity to be quite strategic with this initiative.

It’s all about addressing consumption, reducing consumption, and it’s about taking the investment the council is making and joining that up with other agencies to present a more coherent opportunity to the private sector.”

The Wynyard Quarter Smart website was designed by Method Studios. It’s leading-edge here, but Waterfront Auckland is still some way behind in this kind of monitoring.

In 2007, 238 US developments signed up to participate in the pilot programme taking the LEED (Leadership in energy & environmental design) green building rating system down to neighbourhood level.

LEED for Neighbourhood Development, launched jointly by the US Green Building Council, the Natural Resources Defence Council & the Congress for the New Urbanism, was the first national US certification system for sustainable neighbourhood design & development. The system was finalised in 2009.

Earlier story:
18 August 2007: LEED rating system now down to neighbourhood level

Links: WQSmart
YouTube video overview
Method Studios
EECA Business
LEED for Neighbourhood Development

Attribution: Presentation, releases.

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