From Re:Speak, retrieved 08/03/2010

A new building in downtown Christchurch gets a record 6 Green Star rating from the NZ Green Building Council, check out some impressive specs…

You might recall the New Zealand Green Building Council awarding its first 5 Green Star rating in 2007 to the Meridian Building chilling on Wellington’s waterfront, and late last year, the Geyser Building in Parnell was the proud recipient of the first 6 Green Star rating for an Office Building.  In our society of excitable one-upmanship, you’ll be interested that the near-completed Christchurch Civic Building has also been given a 6 Green Star rating, boasting even more impressive results than Geyser, including a record for its ‘innovation’ rating.

The Civic Building is a joint venture between Ngai Tahu Property Ltd and the Christchurch City Council. It is a redevelopment and extension of the old Post Office building in Worcester Street, built in the 1970s, and was designed by Athfield Architects, and built by Hawkins Construction.

From the NZGBC: “Chair of the Civic Building Joint Venture Gill Cox says the Council was hoping for at least 5 Green Stars. “It’s great to have exceeded expectations by achieving a 6 Star rating within the approved budget.””

In their media release for the Civic Building project (and for more information on any of the NZGBC Green Star Case Studies, go here) they list the key sustainable features:

•   Tri-generation system enabling the building to generate its own electricity from a renewable energy source – biogas, which is piped from the Council’s Burwood landfill site – and in future years from the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant – to be converted into electricity. This process is used to heat and cool the building with annual energy savings of about $1.3 million.

•   Energy-efficient light fittings, automatic daylight dimming, occupancy controls and sensors on the escalators, which will activate only when people approach, and regeneration capabilities on the lifts.

•   Double-skin facade between is a thermal and solar buffering zone. This facade will also be used to vent air and heat from the building, enhancing its thermal properties. Within the office floors a monitoring system detects when carbon dioxide has reached a certain level and automatically introduces fresh air through floor vents.

•   Rainwater harvesting to provide up to one million litres of water annually. It will be used to flush the toilets, for landscape irrigation and a water feature.

•   Solar power will provide 85 per cent of the building’s hot water.

•   The reuse of an old building rather than build from scratch represented an embodied energy saving of 65,700 gigajoules – equivalent to a saving of 6440 tonnes of CO2 emissions or 12,800 return flights from Christchurch to Auckland.

•   The target for waste recycling from the building was 70 per cent. In January 2010, the project was achieving 88 per cent recycling for demolition and construction materials – achieved by contractors Hawkins Construction.

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