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NZGBC walks talk with Green Star interiors rating

NZGBC entrance. Image: Wayne Curtis

The New Zealand Green Building Council has scored a 5 Green Star rating for its own office fitout, saying it proves sustainability can be achieved on a tight budget.

The NZGBC moved into the office at 205 Queen Street Auckland at the end of last year, and began a fitout designed as a public showcase for Green Star-rated interiors.

“Because of the choices we’ve made, our office uses less energy and water, and promotes health and productivity with great internal air quality,” NZGBC chief executive Alex Cutler said. “We’ve long advocated the benefits of sustainable offices, in terms of cost savings and positive impact on staff. Now we’ve taken our own medicine, and we’re loving it.”

Collaboration space. Image: Wayne Curtis

Collaboration space. Image: Wayne Curtis

Ms Cutler said that even with a wide range of industry knowledge at its disposal, the limited budget available made the project a challenge. The NZGBC had some industry sponsorship, however Ms Cutler said the budget was still around that of other small organisations.

“The key to an economical, sustainable fitout is don’t focus on bling – look for products that will pay for themselves in terms of energy savings and indoor environment quality,” she said.

And even though the NZGBC certified Green Star ratings, its own rating was still subject to “the same independent, robust process all projects experience”, she said.

The new office will be used as a drop-in space for NZGBC members and a venue for events and training.

Image: Wayne Curtis

Image: Wayne Curtis

How the 5 Green Star rating was achieved:

Energy – lighting was reduced (from 56 fittings to 20) and redesigned with presence detectors – new lights are either high-efficiency or LEDs. The fridge, dishwasher and IT hardware are Energy Star-rated. There is also a real-time energy monitoring display to help track and improve energy efficiency.

Water – the dishwasher and hot-water dispenser were chosen for their high water-efficiency ratings.

Materials – reused office furniture and computers; any new furniture or cabinetry is certified by a recognised eco label. Existing Green Tag-certified carpet tiles were supplemented with new low-VOC carpet made from recycled fishing nets. Walls and doors were painted with low-VOC, Environmental Choice NZ-certified product. Waste is separated and recycled, and food scraps are composted.

Indoor Environment Quality – planter pots and two small climbing walls; species were selected to help filter particles and toxins from the air. A separate airconditioning unit was installed to regulate the temperature and provide fresh air in the new training rooms. The photocopier room has a dedicated exhaust to remove toxins.

Innovation – two innovation points were awarded for exceeding the benchmark in the number of plants, and for providing learning resources, such as the energy-monitoring display and information cards around the office.

Management – construction and demolition waste was minimised and separated on-site, according to a strict waste management plan. Recycling is measured, and eco-friendly cleaning products are used. NZGBC also included environmental management clauses within their lease with the landlord.

Transport – NZGBC chose an office that was close to mass transport and many of its members.

Working in the kitchen. Image: Wayne Curtis

Working in the kitchen. Image: Wayne Curtis

Companies involved :

  • Needs analysis – Jasmax
  • Architect – Phil Smith, CASA
  • Engineers – WSP
  • Project management – RDT Pacific
  • Contractor – Firma Construction
  • Airconditioning – Temperzone
  • Energy monitoring – Schneider Electric
  • Wall partitions – Potter Interior Systems
  • Acoustic barrier – Pyrotek Noise Control
  • Carpet – Inzide Commercial
  • Paint – Resene
  • Melteca and Seratone – Laminex NZ
  • Plants – Exotic Planters
  • Lightshades – ECC
  • Hot water dispenser – Merquip
  • Tiles – Tileworks
  • Appliances – Bosch
  • Green Star Accredited Professional – Penny Cole, WSP Ltd

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