One of the strong recurring themes at the Green Property Summit in Auckland in March was on shifting the focus from design to ongoing building performance.
Everyone will have heard the stories about buildings that have been designed as exemplars for performance and energy use but fail to live up to the bold claims.
At Waterfront Auckland there is a strong push to not fall into that old trap. And we arguably have more at stake, with our sustainability aspirations and targets covering a much broader mandate that just building performance. That is why we adopted an ambitious Sustainable Development Framework for the landholdings we manage. It’s a valuable document that sets out our sustainability aspirations and commitments and establishes the development expectations and targets against which we can measure progress and success.
The urban renewal of the former industrial land in Wynyard Quarter has provided us with the perfect brown field opportunity to see proof of this framework in action. Work is set to get underway on the first of 500-600 apartments, townhouses and terrace houses and commercial buildings later this year. The SDF will help guide this development to create a thriving mixed use community that is truly resilient to change.
But how do we get there? Let’s start with buildings themselves. A key strategy for Waterfront Auckland is high performance buildings – based on the belief that if buildings are designed well it should help minimise energy needs. From there the next step is to see some of the energy supply provided through solar PV. There are two key tools being used to support the implementation of these strategies. The first is a list of standards relating to areas such as climate change mitigation and adaptation, resource efficiency, environmental quality, and transport and connectivity which are hardwired into our development agreements. The second is via ratings, in particular the requirement for the commercial buildings to be 5 star Green Star or higher and for apartments to be a minimum of 7 star Home Star and for building performance to be reported to Waterfront Auckland.
So the issue for us became how to track that and how to make sure the data collected on building performance is transparent and able to be used to support better performance management. The result is Smart Precinct – an approach which requires sustainability in design and operations of the assets (buildings, infrastructure) through the collection of information to monitor progress against targets.
This is an extremely exciting project for us and is unprecedented in this country in terms of scale and scope when it comes to engaging asset owners, public and stakeholders to adopt sustainable practices at a precinct wide level. Central to the strategy is the leveraging of technology to identify, capture, integrate, analyse and interpret the data.
The first manifestation of Smart Precinct is the Wynyard Quarter Smart website - an online reporting and tracking tool, measuring progress towards delivering on the Sustainable Development Framework [SDF]. Work is already underway to build the platform which sits behind the website and will collect and integrate the information that will be flowing through from development partners and asset owners with increasing frequency over the next few years. The platforms strength is that it will make the invisible, visible in a manner that is easily digestible by everyone. The theory being that by raising awareness and consciousness about the extent to which a neighbourhood as a whole puts pressure on natural resources and the environment, there is an inherent behaviour adjustment by building owners, tenants and even visitors to the area. These are behaviour changes that aren’t just fuelled by social motives but also efficiency and economic imperatives.
At launch last week the website is displaying all the information currently available and as more buildings and assets get constructed, then the information will become richer and tell a more compelling story. Once combined with data relating to spaces between the building – air and water quality, the true impact of Smart Precinct will be felt.
Until that time our focus is on refining the technology and pin pointing how we capture the data so that buildings and asset perform as they were designed. Watch this space.
Visit WYNYARD QUARTER SMART
WATCH Dr Viv Heslop talk about what sustainability means to Waterfront Auckland.
VIV HESLOP, Sustainability Manager
Dr Viv Heslop is Sustainability Manager for Panuku Development Auckland and her work is focused on implementing the sustainable development framework. She has an extensive experience as an urban planner and sustainability strategist and tries to practice what she preaches by cycling to and from work each day from her home in Mt Albert.
This was orginially posted on www.waterfrontauckland.co.nz.