Major new initiative to improve New Zealand buildings
29 November 2017
A major new initiative to improve the nation’s buildings
was launched in Auckland today by the New Zealand Green Building Council.
For the very first time in New Zealand, owners and
tenants will be able to perform a health and productivity check for any kind of
building, including offices, hospitals, industrial units and schools, thanks to
the launch of a new verification tool for buildings – called Green Star
Until today, the Green Star rating system concentrated
primarily on new buildings. Green Star Performance has been designed, after
extensive industry consultation, to be used across New Zealand’s 41,000 existing
Green Star Performance will rate buildings from zero
stars to six stars. A Five Green Star Performance rating indicates New Zealand
excellence, and six stars represents world leadership standard.
The rating tool comprises nine categories: energy, indoor
environment quality, transport, water, emissions, land use and ecology,
materials, management and innovation.
Next year, the New Zealand Green Building Council will
launch a similar verification tool for the country’s houses.
Greener buildings generally have reduced operating costs,
a minimal environmental footprint, and help with employee recruitment and
retention. Last year, a Harvard
University study revealed that green buildings can boost workers’
productivity by thousands of dollars a year, and employees in buildings with
better lighting, ventilation and heat control performed over 25 percent higher
in standard cognition tests.
Earlier this month, it
was revealed that Auckland Council is saving around $300,000 in energy
costs every year in just one building, thanks to a green refit.
Andrew Eagles, chief executive of the New Zealand Green
Building Council, said: “New Zealand’s buildings aren’t good enough. And that’s
affecting New Zealanders. It’s affecting our colleagues and staff members, our
long-term assets, our operating costs, our productivity, and our businesses.
“We need better buildings now – more than ever before.
There is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reduce the environmental impact
of our buildings, and to enjoy the huge benefits this will bring. And that’s
why we’ve launched Green Star Performance.
“The benefits of this innovative new verification tool
will be huge, and diverse. Better buildings
have reduced operating costs and higher returns. They’re
more attractive to everyone – tenants, buyers and employees. As healthier
environments, they’re better for New Zealanders, and help recruitment and
retention, and staff productivity too.”
Dr Lee Bint, sustainable building scientist at BRANZ,
of the buildings we are constructing today will be around in 2050 to 2100.
Buildings are one of the largest contributors to the world’s emissions. Yet, if
the buildings we’re designing, engineering, constructing and operating today
aren’t already net-zero, then how will we reach our net-zero carbon target in
the next 32 years?
“More than 81% of New Zealand’s 41,000 commercial buildings are already
ten years or older. That’s more than 33,000 buildings. The emphasis shouldn’t
just be on new buildings, but also how we can retrofit our existing buildings
to holistically reduce environmental impact, improve productivity and
health of the building occupants and increase savings for the industry.”
This week a coalition of
over 20 New Zealand business leaders, whose organisations are worth
billions of dollars, made a landmark commitment to tackle energy efficiency in
their buildings – and called on the new Government to encourage all businesses
to be more energy efficient.
Andrew Eagles added: “Many thanks to all our
sponsors for their ongoing support, and particularly to Temperzone, the
principal sponsor of the Green Star Performance launch event, and to platinum
sponsors APS, Lightex and Schneider Electric. Thanks too to gold sponsors
Autex, Resene, Hire Plants and Beca.”