A new initiative to improve the nation’s buildings has launched in Auckland this week by the New Zealand Green Building Council.
For the very first time in New Zealand, owners and tenants will be able to perform a health and productivity check for any kind of building, including offices, hospitals, industrial units and schools, thanks to the launch of a new verification tool for buildings – called Green Star Performance.
Until today, the Green Star rating system concentrated primarily on new buildings. Green Star Performance has been designed, after extensive industry consultation, to be used across New Zealand’s 41,000 existing buildings.
Green Star Performance will rate buildings from zero stars to six stars. A Five Green Star Performance rating indicates New Zealand excellence, and six stars represents world leadership standard.
The rating tool comprises nine categories: energy, indoor environment quality, transport, water, emissions, land use and ecology, materials, management and innovation.
Andrew Eagles, CEO of the New Zealand Green Building Council, said: “New Zealand’s buildings aren’t good enough. And that’s affecting New Zealanders. It’s affecting our colleagues and staff members, our long-term assets, our operating costs, our productivity, and our businesses.
“We need better buildings now – more than ever before. There is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of our buildings, and to enjoy the huge benefits this will bring. And that’s why we’ve launched Green Star Performance.
“The benefits of this innovative new verification tool will be huge, and diverse. Better buildings have reduced operating costs and higher returns. They’re more attractive to everyone – tenants, buyers and employees. As healthier environments, they’re better for New Zealanders, and help recruitment and retention, and staff productivity too.”
Dr Lee Bint, sustainable building scientist at BRANZ, said: “Most of the buildings we are constructing today will be around in 2050 to 2100. Buildings are one of the largest contributors to the world’s emissions. Yet, if the buildings we’re designing, engineering, constructing and operating today aren’t already net-zero, then how will we reach our net-zero carbon target in the next 32 years?
“More than 81 per cent of New Zealand’s 41,000 commercial buildings are already ten years or older. That’s more than 33,000 buildings. The emphasis shouldn’t just be on new buildings, but also how we can retrofit our existing buildings to holistically reduce environmental impact, improve productivity and health of the building occupants and increase savings for the industry.”
Green cleaning component
New Zealand Green Building Council technical manager Andrea Davison, told INCLEAN NZ the criteria within the framework will also look at green cleaning, procurement and purchasing and operational waste.
The Green Cleaning component of the Green Star Performance rating tool looks firstly at whether there is a Green Cleaning Policy in place for the building or portfolio of buildings.
This policy outlines the goals and objectives, implementation procedures and strategies, environmental performance measurements, and quality assurance for ongoing improvement.
Selection of environmentally responsible cleaning products and equipment, minimisation of cleaning product usage, equipment maintenance and personnel requirements all need to be considered.
Secondly, buildings owners are rewarded for the area of the building(s) where this green cleaning policy is implemented – whether this be just the common areas or all occupied and tenanted areas of the building.
Similarly, there is a Groundskeeping credit within the rating tool which looks at what maintenance practices are carried out in the landscaped areas, and to the hard surfaces and building exterior.
Building exterior and hardscape area management procedures must employ best practice maintenance practices that significantly reduce harmful chemical use, energy waste, water waste, air pollution, and solid waste or chemical runoff, when compared with standard practices.