UniMed Building achieves BASE rating for sustainability

07 December 2015

Christchurch’s UniMed Building on Gloucester Street has achieved a rating under BASE, the local rating scheme for sustainable design and construction.

The four-storey building, owned by the Union Medical Benefits Society (UniMed), combines office and retail over 2,685 square metres.

BASE (Building A Sustainable Environment) is a simple, introductory-level green building assessment for the Christchurch rebuild, developed by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) in conjunction with Christchurch City Council.

Vanessa McGrath, Manager of Rating Tools, NZGBC said BASE was developed to achieve buildings that are 20% more efficient than Building Code. “This means better energy and water use, with a healthier indoor environment. Buildings that can demonstrate sustainability are more attractive to tenants and hold their value over the long term. We congratulate UniMed for its vision in contributing to a city fit for the future.”

The UniMed Building features extra insulation and high-performance glazing to ensure better energy efficiency, along with heat recovery ventilation to reduce energy use even further. All building services have been through an extensive commissioning and quality monitoring – and sub-meters will help keep tabs on energy performance to ensure the building continues to run efficiently.

It has been designed to provide a healthy indoor environment with extensive views and natural light. It also features low-flow water fittings, areas for recycling, and facilities to encourage walking or cycling.

UniMed Chief Executive Dermot Martin said the company was clear from the outset it wanted a building that would be resilient and sustainable. “As well as creating a great place for our staff and customers, we wanted to invest in a building that is fit for the future.

The light and views make for a pleasant working environment, and the focus on operational efficiency means that it will use less energy and water over the long term. Opting for a more sustainable building means far greater long-term value for us, and for Christchurch.”

The building was designed by architects Wilson and Hill. The engineer and BASE co-ordinator was Scott Waller of Powell Fenwick.