Ngāi Tahu building praised as most efficient in Te Waipounamu

By Will Trafford

Ngāi Tahu Property's Te Urutī Building has made history by becoming the first building in Te Waipounamu to receive a 6-star NABERSNZ Energy Base Building rating.

This award recognises the highest level of energy performance in a commercial building; the 6-star rating meaning Te Urutī uses 76% less energy than comparable buildings.

Located in the Christchurch central business district, Te Urutī is part of the Pita Te Hori Centre.

The building is kitted out with high-efficiency air conditioning from a scheme that supplies multiple buildings with ground source cooling and heating. It also has a 139-panel 48kW Solar PV system that reduces energy consumption from the grid.

Ngāi Tahu Property general manager Blair Forgie says the rating reflects a commitment to climate change action through energy efficiency and lowering energy-related emissions.

“Our investment and commitment aligns with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Group’s Te Kounga Paparangi climate action plan and the Ngāi Tahu values,” Forgie says.

“From a business point of view, less energy use means lower power bill. It is in everyone’s best interest to invest in ensuring energy efficiency.”

The building's lower energy usage was achieved with high-performance glazing, reducing the extent of curtain wall used, and using high levels of thermal insulation. Energy-efficient LED lighting with daylight control, and occupancy sensors are also installed.

NABERSNZ (an adaptation of the National Australian Built Environment Rating System, NABERS) assigns a star, from 0 to 6, to rank the energy performance of office buildings.

It's required under the government's Carbon Neutral Programme for buildings where over 2,000m2 is leased by government agencies.

Assessors from Powell Fenwick worked with Ngāi Tahu Property's facilities manager and tenants to achieve the 6-star rating.

Te Urutī has been applauded by the New Zealand Green Building Council with chief executive Andrew Eagles saying Ngāi Tahu is trailblazing in sustainable building practices.

“The Pita Te Hori Centre is a fantastic example of sustainable design and construction, and it’s fantastic that this approach has been taken even further through optimising how the buildings are used and operated,” Eagles said.

“The most sustainable energy is the energy that isn’t used. We are seeing large growth in clients and owners certifying buildings to NABERSNZ. By achieving a leading 6-star NABERSNZ rating, Ngāi Tahu Property is demonstrating incredible focus and leadership in reducing pressure on our electricity grid and climate emissions.”

Te Urutī adds to the broader Ngāi Tahu portfolio of green buildings in the Pita Te Hori Centre. Iwikau, a second building in the complex, has been granted a 4 star rating by the New Zealand Green Building Council.

Ngāi Tahu says the buildings are leased to a number of commercial and government organisations.

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