Update from Alex

26 February 2016

Christchurch milestones and global green growth

Timing is everything. Five years since Christchurch’s most damaging earthquake, it seems opportune to remember that rebuilding, and doing it well, takes time and dedication. (As this morning's quake shows, Cantabrians' sense of recovery and progress still sometimes takes a battering.) But whilst there have been some stops and starts to the rebuild and a palpable sense of frustration, if we touch on the green building activity, there are some great milestones to recall and celebrate.

The 4 Green Star Forte Health building, which opened in 2014, was the first medical centre in New Zealand to achieve a Green Star rating. The Awly Investments Building hit a 5 Green Star rating, and in another large CBD development, the Vodafone and Kathmandu HQs are targeting 5 Green Star too.

CERA has commissioned custom Green Star tools for four of the city’s anchor projects – one of which, the Bus Interchange, is already contributing to a positive cityscape.

On the residential front, the first 10 Homestar Built rating at 11 Church Square in Addington has just been joined by another 10 Homestar Built rating, right next door.

Sustainability has also been at the heart of other projects, such as Duncan Cotterill Plaza, the UniMed building, Opus’s work on the Avon River Precinct, and the Justice and Emergency Services Precinct. Many consultants have used EECA design funding to create better-performing buildings (which I’m sure will result in a slew of good NABERSNZ ratings in the next few years), and the first tentative steps have been taken towards the long-discussed renewable district energy network.

So I’d like to toast those of you who have been working so hard in Christchurch to push sustainable (common sense) design. Thank you for being advocates at every level: during chats over a drink, sketching out ideas on napkins, and in hard negotiations. It may not feel like it every day, but the fruits of your efforts will benefit the city for years to come.

Internationally, it’s clear that green building is a growing trend. Results just released from the World Green Building Trends 2016 study show that the percentage of firms expecting to have more than 60% of their projects certified green is anticipated to nearly double by 2018.

Three-quarters of respondents are tracking metrics on their green buildings; they’re seeing benefits such as decreased operating costs and increased asset value. Client demand is the top driver for 40% of green buildings (up from 34% in 2008), outstripping reasons such as environmental regulations and the perception that it’s the ‘right thing to do’ – this proves that efficient, healthy buildings keep both owners and tenants happy. The full report (including a handy Executive Summary) is in the NZGBC Knowledge Hub. Happy reading, and keep on building.