New Zealand now has its third Green Star-rated industrial property, with the awarding of a 5 Star Green Star rating to Ceres Organics’ 5500-square-metre warehouse complex at Mt Wellington in Auckland.

According to the NZ Green Building Council, only two other buildings in New Zealand have been certified under the Green Star Industrial tool. This is also the first food warehousing facility to achieve a rating, the NZGBC said.

Developed for Ceres by Norak Properties, the facility comprises a two-level office building attached to a precast concrete warehouse. Norak retains ownership of the property.

Sustainability aspects embedded in the design and planning by the project’s Green Star accredited professional and senior project architect, Paul Jurasovich, a sustainable design consultant at Williams Architects, include orienting the building to maximise passive solar heating and natural light.

It was constructed on a brownfield site, and construction incorporated recycled materials from the derelict building that had occupied the site.

Concrete was specified for the bulk of the building to achieve thermal mass, and natural ventilation and daylight harvesting reduce the need for mechanical ventilation and artificial lighting.

The facility also has a solar hot water system, a rainwater collection system, LED lighting, a dedicated recycling area to reduce waste to landfill, low-VOC sustainably sourced materials, substantial greenery in the office environment and a fully automated BMS to monitor lighting, CO2 levels, and energy and water usage.

Ceres also undertook carbon footprinting of the building to measure its impact, which gained the project points under the Green Star Industrial innovation category.

Ceres Organics’ managing director Noel Josephson said sustainability was vital to the company’s ethos.

“Our business is organics, and we’re serious about walking the talk on sustainability. So the design and construction of our new building had to have low environmental impact,” Mr Josephson said.

The company’s 80 staff moved into the building at the end of 2013, and energy use data since occupancy shows a greater than 40 per cent reduction in energy use, he said.

“It’s also a lovely building to work in, with good natural light and fresh air. Getting the Green Star rating is icing on the cake, because it’s proof of the high sustainability standard we were aiming for.”

NZGBC chief executive Alex Cutler said it was exciting to see Green Star being used on an industrial project.

“It’s particularly exciting to see that they’re tracking energy use and carbon, which gives a very clear picture of real life performance,” Ms Cutler said.

“The benefits of sustainable building accrue year on year in terms of lower energy and water use, less waste, better staff satisfaction. Ceres is a living example of that and I’m sure they will inspire others.”