Aorangi House Future Thinkers Meetup Highlights

10 July 2019

Aorangi House used to be not much more than an outdated and tired building. The frequent green-led refurbishments allowed the building to mature into a top-notch 5.5-star NABERSNZ rating. The environmental impressiveness of the building makes it an incredible venue for Future Thinkers meetups, showcasing the power of retrofitting.

On Monday, 9 June, a group of Wellington-based future thinkers met at Aorangi House. Attendees got to hear from Cara Askew, an NZGBC Future Thinker and Building Scientist at Beca. She explained how the building was refurbished from its previous desolate, leaky state, to an award-winning, highly energy-efficient office space. This building has set a new standard in updating older construction and how sustainable an office space can be.

Caras’ presentation had significant takeaways.

Firstly, by refurbishing the building compared to demolishing it, they were able to divert tonnes of waste. For Aorangi House, they mitigated 2870 tonnes of solid waste and 662 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Secondly, there is great power in insulation. The added insulation to the building’s exterior allowed for better monitoring of internal temperatures. This significantly impacts the efficiency of maintaining temperature. The tradition wall glaze that the majority of office buildings use is not as energy efficient as the external insulation Aorangi House uses.

Finally, the specific shading of windows used allows for Aorangi House to decrease their chances of overheating by 80%.

With the recent updates made to Aorangi House, it is now one of only two office buildings in New Zealand at a 5.5-star NABERSNZ rating. Despite original construction in the 1970s, this building continues to impress and stand out as a sustainable leader. The building continues to get recognition, such as the World Green Building Council’s Leadership in Sustainable Design & Performance Award. The building also achieved Highly Commended at the CIBSE Building Performance Awards, even after ten years post refurbishment.

The meetup also had a surprise guest! Gareth Hughes, Green Party MP, stopped by to share his thoughts on the governmental role in shifting the built environment towards net zero. He also wanted to hear from attendees and get their input on what they believe would be most helpful to aid the movement.

Want to find out how to be a part of meetups and get the most out of green development? Check out how to become a Future Thinker to learn more!