Auckland food warehouse shortlisted for international building award

15 September 2016

A food warehouse in Mt Wellington, Auckland, has been named a finalist in the 2016 World Green Building Council’s Asia Pacific Leadership in Green Building Awards.

Ceres Organics’ 5,500-square-metre home, owned by Norak Properties, is one of three buildings nominated in the Leadership in Sustainable Design and Performance category – Commercial category. It’s the only New Zealand building to make it to the finals of the biennial awards, where the best projects from each country are put forward for competition.

First held in 2014, the Asia Pacific Leadership in Green Building Awards showcase the achievements of companies pushing the envelope on sustainable buildings. Three businesses and a further nine green building projects have been shortlisted, from New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea and India.

The Ceres Organics complex comprises a two-level office building attached to a large precast concrete warehouse. It was the first building of its type in New Zealand to gain a Green Star rating – 5 Green Star Industrial Built, signifying ‘New Zealand excellence’ – awarded by the NZ Green Building Council (NZGBC).

Williams Architects designed the building to make the most of passive solar heating and natural light. Built on a brownfield site, the project incorporated material recycled from the former derelict building; also, 95% of construction waste was diverted from landfill. A fully automated building management system (BMS) monitors lighting, CO2 levels, and water and energy usage, and the building boasts many other sustainability features.

Ceres Organics’ director David King, who oversaw the project, said that as an environmentally minded business, sustainability had to be integral to the building they worked in – and the benefits were quickly obvious.

“We’re more than 40% more efficient in terms of energy use compared to the previous building, and electricity costs are down $40,000 annually – and we’re constantly looking for ways to find further savings. It’s also a lovely building to work in, with good natural light and indoor living gardens. This nomination reflects the vision of Ceres Organics, and the support of Norak Properties and the project team to create a building that holds its own internationally, and their work is part of this success.”

NZGBC chief executive Alex Cutler says the nomination is an impressive achievement.

“These awards are hotly contested, and having a Kiwi building among the finalists indicates there are some leaders in sustainable building practising among us. They set an exciting example on the road to tackling the effects of rising populations and environmental pressures we face.”

The winners will be announced at the India Green Building Council’s annual Congress in Mumbai in early October. In 2014, CASA Architects won the Leadership in Sustainable Design and Performance trophy for the Te Mirumiru childcare centre in Northland. CASA architect Phil Smith is one of the judges at this year’s awards.

Read more about the Ceres Organics building.