Panuku Development Auckland's Senior Advisor Sustainability, Miranda James, discusses the energy efficiency of office buildings from dual perspectives as landlord and tenant.
Last month we reached an exciting milestone at Wynyard Quarter.
Even before the first bulldozers rumbled onto site, the Quarter has led the way in sustainability, with standards setting high goals for building performance.
The Lysaght Building, a lovely 90-year old heritage site, was one of the first completed and tenanted (it’s now home to the innovative folk of GridAKL). It’s also the only commercial site at Wynyard Quarter that Panuku retains as owner – so we have an ongoing interest and responsibility.
So we were thrilled to get a stonking 4.5 stars out of 6 for our initial NABERSNZ rating (this ranks energy efficiency in office buildings). This is officially ‘excellent’ on the NABERSNZ scale. To put this into perspective – the average New Zealand office building is around 2.5 stars, and it’s not unusual for new buildings to score even lower. So, a great achievement for an adaptive re-use project.
Why is NABERSNZ important? It proves a green building is performing the way it’s intended. Being designed for sustainability doesn’t ensure a building will run well. Buildings are a bit like cars – they don’t run efficiently without regular care and maintenance. This is the first NABERSNZ rating to be achieved so far at Wynyard Quarter, and we’re pretty damned proud.
Now, in line with our agreement with tenants ATEED, we’ll be working closely on building efficiency to see where we can tweak things and do even better. NABERSNZ is designed to be used as a tool to improve, and that’s what we intend to do. Can we take it to 5 stars…? We’ll certainly try, and most importantly communicate how we’re doing. We’re already doing this in real time through Wynyard Quarter Smart. This is one of the most exciting parts of the Quarter’s sustainability story – the way resource use across all completed buildings is transparently reported and updated.
Which raises another building performance story – our own. On the same day we announced the Lysaght 4.5 star rating, we revealed that Panuku is moving to new premises at 82 Wyndham Street, owned by Argosy Property.
Argosy as an investor and landlord, has a long history with Green Star-rated refurbs (having won awards for two of its Wellington properties). They will refurbish the building to a minimum 4 Green Star – an achievement for a refurbishment of an old 80s site – plus they’re committed to getting a 4 star ‘excellent’ NABERSNZ rating for base building energy efficiency.
As tenant we’ll play our part. Half the energy used in an office building is under the direct control of occupants – so for the site to run well, we have to examine our own efficiency. We’ll also get a NABERSNZ rating for tenant energy use (targeting 4 star, or ‘excellent’). And we’re examining what other tools and systems we can use to not only benchmark, but communicate our sustainability journey.
Today, there are more options than ever for commercial projects to measure and express sustainability – not only rating tools, but digital reporting platforms and other mechanisms. In choosing our preferred path we’re considering not only our own impact, but how we can best help the wider market understand and embrace more sustainable ways of working.
Genuinely sustainable buildings can only be achieved through a positive collaboration between landlord and tenant. Performance tools such as NABERSNZ have brought a new transparency and helped change the nature of dialogue in the New Zealand office market from often combative, to co-operative.
Which is why we’re committed to working closely with our tenants at Lysaght to improve performance – and why as a tenant, we’re looking forward to working with Argosy throughout the Green Star journey. There will be elements of the project that are innovative – particularly in relation to how it’s communicated – and we’ll assist with that.
The benefits of low-impact, high-performing commercial buildings are unquestionable: better productivity and well-being for occupants, lower running costs, lower emissions, better long-term value – all ultimately benefiting the wider city and economy. We’re looking forward to sharing our story as we go.