Duncan Cotterill Plaza achieves Christchurch’s first BASE rating

07 July 2015

Christchurch’s Duncan Cotterill Plaza is the first building in the city to achieve a rating under BASE (Building a Sustainable Environment) – the sustainability tool developed specially for the rebuild.

The four-storey, mixed-use development, at 148 Victoria St, was designed by +MAP Architects and is owned by John Ryder. Offices and retail space are complemented by a courtyard and memorial sculpture. The development opened in June 2015.

BASE is a simple, introductory-level green building assessment for the Christchurch rebuild, developed by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) in conjunction with Christchurch City Council.

It was launched in 2012 as a way to foster a healthy, efficient rebuilt city with reduced environmental impact – in line with the vision that emerged from the ‘Share an Idea’ public consultation project. BASE is particularly suited to small and medium commercial buildings, including mixed-use developments.

NZGBC chief executive Alex Cutler says certifying the first BASE rating is a positive landmark in the rebuild, and a signal that meeting green building standards is affordable and achievable for developers.

“BASE was developed to achieve buildings that are 20% more efficient than Building Code in terms of energy and water use, with a healthier indoor environment. This makes them more attractive to tenants and means they will hold their value over the long term,” says Ms Cutler. “We congratulate John Ryder for his vision in contributing to a city fit for the future.”

As well as registering for BASE ratings, market feedback is that many are using the tool as a ‘checklist’ to ensure developments meet environmental criteria. The NZGBC plans to issue further guidance to support project teams using BASE in this way.

Ryder says he wanted to give something back to the city, and Duncan Cotterill Plaza was an exciting chance to build something innovative and distinctive.

“We’re thrilled to have created a building that has a lighter environmental footprint and is more efficient and attractive for tenants,” says Ryder. “It’s also sensitive to the needs of the city. Duncan Cotterill Plaza is set back from the road, so its position and scale are sympathetic to the adjacent Knox Church, an important heritage icon. BASE is a simple, useable way to ensure the building has good environmental credentials. It’s great to get independent, external endorsement of what we’ve achieved.”

Christchurch deputy mayor Vicki Buck says Duncan Cotterill Plaza meets the growing demand for a ‘greener’ city.

“Our entire community benefits from a sustainable city, in which buildings are performing more efficiently and their impact on the environment is minimised. Duncan Cotterill Plaza is a fantastic example of what can be done. I hope we’ll see more BASE ratings in Christchurch,” she said.

Under BASE, certain environmental requirements are compulsory. These are:

  • 30% of construction waste is diverted from landfill/cleanfill
  • Water-efficient bathroom fittings
  • An energy-efficient thermal envelope, HVAC, hot water and lighting systems (energy modeling is required for all buildings 2000m2 or larger)
  • No ozone-depleting refrigerants
  • Comprehensive system commissioning to fine-tune the finished building and ensure it’s working efficiently.

Other features of Duncan Cotterill Plaza include:

  • Horizontal and vertical louvres, and high-performance glazing, to moderate solar gain
  • Designed to a Life Safety Design Level that is 130% of the current (updated) Christchurch Design Level for office buildings
  • Sub-metering to monitor lighting and general power consumption per floor, and per tenancy
  • Designed for excellent occupant comfort, with natural light and access to views
  • Provision for recycling facilities
  • Showers and changing rooms for foot and cycle commuters
  • Use of low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) materials.