Central Auckland office becomes Aotearoa's first certified carbon neutral building

06 May 2021

82 Wyndham Street has become the first building to be awarded Toitū carbonzero certification by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) and Toitū Envirocare. Owned by NZX listed property investment and management company Argosy Property Limited (Argosy), the award makes it the only building in the country to comprehensively record and measure their operational carbon footprint, create set targets for improvement, and entirely offset their emissions.

Toitū CEO Becky Lloyd, NZGBC CEO Andrew Eagles, Argosy CEO Peter Mence, and head of sustainability Saatyesh Bhana. By Dillon Photography

 

"We are thrilled to have gone through this process and be able to say we have New Zealand's first carbon neutral building," Saatyesh Bhana, Argosy's Head of Sustainability says.

"We know the operation of our buildings have an impact on the environment and we want to ensure that our buildings play their part in combating climate pollution."

The certification builds on existing ways of understanding operational emissions taking into account not just the amount of energy used, but water, waste and refrigerant pollution from a building's daily operation.

Argosy, already a leader in sustainable buildings in New Zealand, took on the challenge, building on 82 Wyndham Street's 5 Green Star rating (awarded for its sustainable design and construction) and impressive 5.5 NABERSNZ rating (a rating out of 6 stars for its energy performance).

"We are implementing NABERSNZ across our commercial office portfolio to help understand, manage and improve our energy use. With the carbonzero certification we're able to take that a step further and ensure we're taking into account all building operations," Saatyesh Bhana says.

"We would urge everyone to consider how well they understand their own emissions and what plans they have to tackle them. Carbonzero is a great way to put the stick in the sand.

Throughout 2020 the 6,000m2 building's base services were monitored, its fuel use, electricity, water, waste and refrigerants recorded and tallied to paint an accurate picture of the building's operational footprint over 12 months. Come the end of the year the building had produced 27 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, primarily through it's 237,000 kWh of energy consumed. This was then offset by Argosy through certified carbon credits.

"This is a huge result for Argosy and for New Zealand businesses. We now know the carbon footprint of one of the country's most efficiently operated office buildings," NZGBC chief executive Andrew Eagles says.

"There are approximately 1,250 large office buildings in New Zealand - that's thousands of tonnes of pollution that isn't counted, mitigated or offset.   If we're going to tackle our country's emissions businesses have to follow Argosy's lead; actually measure and take stock of their pollution, create a plan, and dramatically reduce it."

Argosy's emissions reduction plan includes reducing electricity consumption and refrigerant use by 30 percent by 2030 and removing a backup diesel generator which contributed 5 litres (or 10kg of CO2-e) to the building's footprint last year.

Toitū Envirocare Chief Executive Becky Lloyd commends Argosy and NZGBC for their leadership in this sector. “With building operations accounting for a significant percentage of New Zealand's domestic carbon emissions, we applaud Argosy’s role in leading the way to help bring about a low carbon economy. Whilst this is the first building in this pilot program that has received the Toitū carbonzero base building certification, in conjunction with NZGBC there are two more buildings currently being audited for certification in coming weeks and we hope that our partnership with NZGBC will see many more building owners follow the lead of Argosy”


Additional information on certification

A carbonzero building operations certification is valid for a period of 12 months after which buildings will need to resubmit for certification.

This certification is for the base building of 82 Wyndham Street, taking into account the emissions from the building's core services (air conditioning, common area and external lighting, hot water, lifts, car parking or similar).

It does not require tenant or occupant emissions to be considered. Examples of building types include tenanted commercial buildings or industrial facilities where the building’s core services are clearly sub-metered separately from tenant loads and are provided by the building owner

Carbon zero certification is also available for whole building operations. Making a net zero carbon claim for a whole building requires a building’s total emissions to be measured and offset. This includes all emissions from base building services and emissions from occupants and their operations.

All building types can achieve carbon zero building operations certification (not only those that are owned and occupied by the same entity); for example, commercial office buildings, universities, hotels, multi-unit residential buildings and public buildings.

Carbon zero certification is internationally recognised through the ISO standard 14064-1:2018

Carbon zero builds on NABERSNZ ratings for offices, and Green Star Performance ratings for non offices.

Notes to editors:

About Toitū

Toitū Envirocare is an independent certifier and wholly-owned subsidiary of Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, a New Zealand Government-owned Crown Research Institute. Toitū carbonzero base builidng certification is proof that buildings and building owners are positively contributing to the sustainability of our future through measuring, reducing and offsetting the carbon footprint of their building.

To achieve Toitū carbonzero base building certification the building owner must measure the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions required under the international standard for organisational carbon footprints, ISO 14064-1:2018.  The emissions are measured annually, and the inventory is independently verified to ensure it is accurate and complete.

About NZGBC

The New Zealand Green Building Council are a team of passionate advocates for better buildings, because we know that better buildings mean healthier, happier Kiwis. Created by the sector, the NZGBC are Aotearoa's leading sustainable building not-for-profit, representing over 520 companies and organisations.

As well as advocating for change, the NZGBC runs trusted green building rating tools including NABERSNZ, Green Star, Homestar and HomeFit.