Photo by Dawid Jarosz

New Zealand’s Green Star Performance tool was officially launched last week. The low cost tool can be applied across all of NZ’s existing non-residential buildings including offices, hospitals, industrial units and schools.

It 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.

There are nine categories within the tool: energy, indoor environment quality, transport, water, emissions, land use and ecology, materials, management and innovation.

Next year, the NZGBC plans to launch a similar verification tool for the country’s houses.

“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,” Dr Lee Bint, sustainable building scientist at BRANZ, said.

“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?”

Dr Bint said that more than 81 per cent of NZs 41,000 commercial buildings are already 10 years old or older – 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.”

Mr Eagles said there is a “once-in-a-generation chance” to reduce the environmental impact of the nation’s buildings and enjoy the huge benefits that would result.

“Better buildings have reduced operating costs and higher returns. They’re more attractive to everyone – tenants, buyers and employees,” he said.

“As healthier environments, they’re better for New Zealanders, and help recruitment and retention, and staff productivity too.”

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