Precinct Properties’ green buildings deliver environmental and economic benefits for occupiers

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New Zealand’s largest owner of inner-city business space, Precinct Properties, is leading the charge in the green building market, with occupants of its Wynyard Quarter buildings, Mason Bros and 12 Madden Street, reporting increased productivity and employee attendance since moving into the properties.

To coincide with Green Building Week this week, Precinct Properties senior development manager Alain McKinney points to two of the company’s green buildings based in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct, 12 Madden and Mason Bros, and says the results are staggering.

“Post-occupancy research in the Mason Bros property has confirmed the advantages, with up to a 25% drop in absenteeism, occupants indicating an increase in their personal productivity of 8.5%, and a massive 130% increase in cycling following the move,” he reveals.

These figures are the result of post-occupancy research conducted with engineering firm Mott MacDonald and architects Warren + Mahoney, who are tenants currently occupying Mason Bros that were also involved in the design of the building.

Mott MacDonald managing director Shaun Barrett says there’s no doubt about the advantages.

“Key factors in choosing the building for our offices include attracting staff owing to the central location, the desirability of the innovation precinct, and improving staff well-being by locating in a sustainable building that supports better environmental quality,” he says.

As for the results, Mr Barrett is enthusiastic. “Just being in this environment and building is a breath of fresh air. It makes coming to work a real pleasure, and it’s obvious that our people love it.”

The Mason Bros building, at 139 Pakenham Street, was designed by architects Warren + Mahoney, in line with the Wynyard Quarter Sustainability Framework, to deliver impressive 5-Green Star building and 5 Star NABERSNZ energy ratings.

This ethos can also be seen at Precinct Properties’ 5-Green Star 12 Madden Street building, which has similarly increased productivity and shown a reduction in absenteeism for its occupiers.

As a result, green buildings such as Mason Bros and 12 Madden are delivering real cost savings for occupiers.

In 12 Madden, for example, power and water usage are significantly decreased for tenants. Power usage for a typical building is around 140KWh/m/annum, whereas 12 Madden is using only 68KWh/m/annum.

Water usage for 12 Madden is only eight litres per head a day, whereas standard office water consumption is around 50 litres per person a day.

Since moving into the building in August 2017, 12 Madden tenant Online Republic has reported an increase in revenue, a decrease in absenteeism, and has even seen an increase in office milk consumption owing to employees’ preference to stay in the building for their morning coffee.

Mr McKinney says careful design with an overarching focus on environmental sustainability and responsibility has delivered on the promises of a green building.

“By taking this approach, you get a building which is energy efficient and uses less water. It has better indoor air and light quality, which contributes to increased productivity and improved employee attendance.”

Having seen the benefits of the green approach at 12 Madden and Mason Bros, Precinct Properties is introducing it into further new developments, among them 10 Madden, a brand new building scheduled to open in 2020.

Mr McKinney contrasts this development with Mason Bros: “With Mason Bros we’ve refurbished what was once a historic warehouse and brought it into the modern era.

“With the newer buildings, environmental issues are at the forefront of design, and we’re targeting a 5-star Green Star and market leading NABERSNZ rating.”

During the construction of Mason Bros and 12 Madden Street, all waste was monitored and recycled where possible. The progression in this ethos has led the team to look for ways of reducing the levels of waste at the start of a build through 3D modelling and collaboration between the trades responsible for the design and construction of the buildings.

Auckland Council’s Panuku Development Auckland takes an active role in driving the move towards better buildings in the city, and requires a minimum 5-Green Star rating for the Wynyard Quarter buildings.

Panuku head of corporate responsibility Miranda James says Aucklanders have indicated through consultation that sustainability is critical to them.

“Wynyard Quarter is the first and only precinct in New Zealand to have set such high standards across such a wide area.

“We’ve worked closely with the New Zealand Green Building Council to customise Green Star for the area, recognising that there are innate innovations and sustainability benefits that apply across the whole quarter.”

Ms James adds that there are specific requirements around energy efficiency, water, waste, transport and materials.

“It has been pleasing to see Precinct embrace and, in many cases, exceed these requirements. This is good for Auckland as it helps create a resilient, future-proofed waterfront,” she says.

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