INDEPENDENT NEWS

Meridian’s New Eco Home Makes Good Business Sense

Published: Tue 23 Oct 2007 04:32 PM
October 2007
Meridian’s New Eco Home Makes Good Business Sense
New Zealand’s first purpose-built green office building, on Queens Wharf in Wellington, will be officially opened on 24 October.
The new ‘smart building’, with a five-star rating from the New Zealand Green Building Council, has been designed to operate in an environmentally sustainable way for its tenant Meridian Energy. But the concept behind the building also makes compelling business sense.
“As the leader in the field of sustainable, clean, carbonNZero certified electricity generation, we felt compelled to make the best use of all our resources, including our accommodation,” says Meridian Chief Executive Dr Keith Turner.
“In our effort to achieve this, we were mindful of our responsibility to our stakeholders. We have worked closely with designers and contractors to ensure the new building makes good business sense.” Meridian is leasing the new building, which will use around 60 percent less energy and 70 percent less water than a standard office building.
Architect Marc Woodbury, from the Studio of Pacific Architecture, says the design team used a number of innovative design solutions to ensure the building operated in both an environmentally sustainable and cost effective way.
“The building uses its double-skinned façade to manage the internal environment,” he says.
“It has a computerised building management system to ensure energy consumption is minimised. The system automatically adjusts window louvres, lights and air conditioning to adapt to the weather conditions outside.
“There is solar hot water heating for bathrooms and showers as well as chilled beams and heat pumps for cost efficient cooling and heating. The building has a water collection system.” Construction company Fletcher was able to reduce the amount of construction waste that went to landfill by 60 percent.
Marc Woodbury says it is easy to do the maths on why green buildings are efficient and save energy, but adds they are also better to work in, so this increases productivity.
The use of natural products and careful design has ensured the building will be ‘healthy’ for people, with fresh air and comfortable temperatures, as well as a clever open-plan design to keep noise to a minimum.
“The brief from Meridian was for a user-friendly people experience. If people are happy, they will be more productive. It’s a very calm building to be in. As well as the comfortable temperatures and fresh air, it has been designed for the optimum management of sound and, amazingly for Wellington, you can even open the windows.
“This smart building ‘learns’ from its occupants and uses their feedback to create the settings that will ensure the building operates efficiently in the future.”
The building showcases the very best in New Zealand design and innovative thinking. From outside to inside fit-out, this building has been carefully planned. The information technology is also as energy efficient as possible and will support staff to collaborate in a sustainable way.
“I believe that this workspace will create an organisational culture that will stimulate innovation and leadership. I think it will be a great example to the other major corporates,” says Dr Turner. The building is owned by Dominion Funds Ltd and was developed to the specifications of its head tenant Meridian Energy.
It was designed by Wellington architectural practice, Studio of Pacific Architecture, ESD and services engineers Beca, and structural engineers Dunning Thornton. The design has been guided by Meridian’s own advisors Warren and Mahoney, eCubed, Davis Langdon and Stephenson & Turner.
Warren and Mahoney designed the interior fit-out. Wellington Waterfront Ltd was also closely involved with the development to ensure a high standard of design across the waterfront area.
ENDS

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