The NZI Centre in Auckland has credited active building management for boosting its NABERSNZ rating from five stars to 5.5 out of a possible six – the highest score achieved for the city.

The centre now has a base building energy intensity of 49 kilowatt hours a square metre a year, representing a 17 per cent improvement in the energy use.

Developed by Newcrest in 2009, the five-storey commercial office building achieved a 5 Star Green Star rating for fitout and design when built. It features a double-skinned facade, automatically controlled blinds to manage thermal gain and glare, and exposed concrete ceilings for indoor thermal mass.

Newcrest has maintained ownership and management of the building, and has worked collaboratively with tenants to continue to improve the building’s energy efficiency performance.

“Being efficient in our energy use is important as it helps to earn trust and respect. By positively impacting on costs it also helps our business model, contributing to more affordable insurance, so it is not just a nice to do but it’s a strategic imperative,” Jacki Johnson, chief executive of IAG, one of the building tenants, said.

“We were pleased to see five stars in the last NABERSNZ rating, but said then we wouldn’t rest on our laurels. This 5.5 star result is independent proof that our partnership with Newcrest to further improve our footprint has been successful.”

Ms Johnson said the energy efficiency initiatives were also making the building a pleasant environment to be in, which is having flow-on benefits for the firm’s workers and their productivity.

NABERSNZ is New Zealand’s national energy rating scheme for office buildings, and its aim is to encourage companies to adopt an attitude of continual improvement. It is licenced to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority and administered by the New Zealand Green Building Council.

“This scheme isn’t simply about getting a good rating; it’s about starting the journey of improvement,” EECA chief executive Mike Underhill said. “IAG is an excellent case study in how they have worked closely with the building owner and manager to tackle energy use. I hope their approach will inspire other corporate tenants.”

NZGBC chief executive Alex Cutler said while smart design created a blueprint for efficient buildings, how they’re commissioned, maintained and used was crucial to day-to-day performance.

“The NZI Centre has many sustainability features, so it has a head-start. But it also has a very active building management team who work constantly to ensure the site is comfortable and running efficiently. It’s a great role model for other buildings,” Mr Cutler said.

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