Office block includes most energy-smart buildings in New Zealand

Office block includes most energy-smart buildings in New Zealand

A 1970s office block in central Wellington is now an energy-smart show-stopper.

Once outdated, the 46-year-old Aorangi House in Molesworth Street now has an energy performance rating that is more than 50 percent better than the average office, reports Stuff.

The rating, given by Nabers NZ, is a government-backed tool that gauges energy efficiency in the commercial property sector.

The tool measures the energy performance of a building's core services, including lifts, stairwell lighting, toilets, air conditioning and ventilation.

Buildings are rated on a scale of one to six stars.

Nabers NZ assessor Ben Masters said the 12-story office block was built in 1970, but over time its systems became problematic. The building was later transformed and refurbished with a raft of energy smart features that set the stage for energy saving, he said.

Engineering consultancy Beca, the anchor tenant, provided an environmentally sustainable design for the project. The company moved into Aorangi House soon after its renovation.

Masters, who was also the spokesman for Beca, said the 5-star rating for Aorangi House was considered a thumbs up for the revival of older commercial buildings. 

The result proved age did not impede on making a building commercially and environmentally sustainable, he said.

"What makes the 5-star rating so significant is that Aorangi House is a recycled building,” he said. "It shows sustainable refurbishment is a viable option to the carbon-hungry alternative of demolition and replacement."

The design would not suit all buildings, but Aorangi House showed that aging office blocks could be refurbished to achieve high-energy performance and low greenhouse gas emissions, Masters said.

Constant energy monitoring and building tuning had been crucial to achieving low energy usage, he said.

Aorangi House is owned by Anaro Group, which manages 44 commercial properties around New Zealand on behalf of private investor groups.

Anaro Group general manager Toby Scott said a Nabers NZ rating was increasingly relevant in the commercial property market.

Aorangi House is not the only Wellington building with a Nabers NZ rating. Te Puni Kokiri House on Lambton Quay, which was built in 1940 and is the former State Insurance building, was given a rating of 4.5 stars.

A $7.9 million redevelopment and a 30 percent reduction in energy use helped the Wellington office block take out a major prize in the country's largest energy awards scheme.

Another building on the block with a Nabers NZ rating is 1 and 3 The Terrace, which is owned by Precinct Properties New Zealand. The building is home to the New Zealand Treasury. It was given a rating of 3 stars.

Nabers NZ is licensed by the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority and administered by the New Zealand Green Building Council.


Topics: Architectural Firms, Associations / Organizations, Building Owners and Managers, Certifications, Construction Firms, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions, Energy Saving Products, Engineering Firms, Office Buildings, Sustainable Communities, Urban Planning and Design

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