Iconic sustainable building gets ‘market leading’ score for energy use

One of New Zealand's most iconic sustainable buildings has achieved a ‘market leading' NABERSNZ rating for energy performance.

The Meridian building on Wellington's waterfront has achieved a 5.5 star base building rating, which is the highest to be awarded under the 6-star scheme.

Launched earlier this year, NABERSNZ is set to become an industry standard for benchmarking and improving office building energy performance.

Owned by DNZ Property Fund, the Meridian Building was the first 5 Green Star commercial office building to be occupied in New Zealand.

NABERSNZ rates the energy performance of existing buildings while Green Star rates the environmental performance of new buildings from a design and build perspective.

NABERSNZ, which uses 12 months of in-use energy data, has now verified the building's Green Star design objectives for reduced energy use.

DNZ Chief Executive Paul Duffy said the 5.5 star NABERSNZ Certified Rating ‘completed the circle' for the building.

"The Meridian building was designed and built to the highest standards of sustainability and efficiency, with many innovative features. Although we knew it performed well for our tenants, this rating proves it conclusively.

"The 5 Green Star rating shows its potential, while the NABERSNZ rating of 5.5 out of 6 certifies its day-to-day performance.

"As owners and investors, we see a lot of value in a tool like NABERSNZ that provides a credible, independent benchmark for New Zealand's commercial buildings."

Ratings are available for whole buildings, base buildings and tenancies. The Meridian Building is the first to get a base building Certified Rating under the scheme.

Base building ratings include services such as lifts, base building air conditioning and common areas like foyers.

DNZ Property Fund has helped sponsor the introduction of NABERSNZ.

New Zealand Green Building Council chief executive Alex Cutler says the rating shows the importance of tuning and commissioning a building well.

"Aside from its ground-breaking design, the Meridian building went through a process of fine-tuning its systems well to make sure it really works for its occupants. It's the perfect balance of being designed sustainably and also being well-run and maintained.

"Good commissioning, tuning and attention to energy management can help all buildings improve their energy use. But certainly a great design gives you a massive head start."

The NABERSNZ Certified Rating, carried out by Ben Masters of BECA and Lance Jimmieson of Jackson Engineering Advisors, showed that the building uses a tiny 34kWh of energy per sq metre, per year.

EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill says few New Zealand buildings are likely to reach 5.5 stars under NABERSNZ, but the Meridian Building shows what can be achieved.

"We expect most New Zealand office buildings will sit around the 2.5-3 star mark for energy use, but there's immense potential for saving.

"Knowing exactly how your building performs, is the first crucial step and NABERSNZ is a clear benchmark to kick-start that journey.

"Not everyone will top the charts, but all tenancies and buildings will have a clear path to improve energy performance and reap the rewards for both owners and tenants."

The Meridian Building's sustainability features include a double-skinned façade; exposed thermal mass; automated window opening, automated, external louvres and internal blind.