Northland District Health Board building achieves Whangarei’s first Green Star rating

09 February 2016

Northland District Health Board’s new office has become the first building in Whangarei to achieve a Green Star rating for its sustainable and energy-efficient building design.

Tohora House is a 3207 square-metre, two-level office building located on Hospital Road, and achieved a 4 Green Star Design rating. Smart design decisions from the outset helped build environmental efficiency into the project, designed by Neil Wild & Associates.

The building is made of lined precast concrete, which has high thermal stability, keeping the interior cool in summer and warm in winter. Extended overhangs provide shading at the hottest time of the year, helped by heat-reflective glass coatings. Tohora House’s lights are highly efficient LEDs, and are controlled separately around the building’s perimeter to reduce the use of artificial light and energy during the day.

Green Star is an independent rating system that assesses buildings’ environmental aspects across a range of criteria, at both Design and Built stage, and is independently certified by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC). A 4 Green Star rating denotes best practice.

NZGBC CEO Alex Cutler says she’s delighted to see Northland District Health Board taking the lead on sustainable building in Whangarei, and using smart design to create a comfortable, energy-efficient indoor environment.

“Implementing sustainability at the design stage of a building project is the most cost-effective way to lock in long-term savings. We encourage other organisations in the area to follow the DHB’s example, and discover the long-term benefits of lower energy use and increased staff comfort through using Green Star,” says Ms Cutler.

Dr Nick Chamberlain, chief executive of the Northland District Health Board, says it was important for the DHB to invest in a building that prioritises sustainability and efficiency.

“Tohora House exemplifies the benefits of well-planned new construction, bringing together formerly separate teams, providing the opportunity to operate as a ‘whole of system’ organisation, and saving costs. Green Star helped us verify that our new building is energy efficient, providing a much better working environment for our staff while helping to save the planet.”

Opened in April 2015, Tohora House also features an energy-efficient air conditioning system, with the ability to recover heat from the hot-water system. The project received an Innovation point for diverting 94% of site waste from landfill through reuse and recycling.

The Green Star Accredited Professional was Glenn Christiansen of 22 Degrees.