Auckland’s Newmarket property a trendsetter in low-carbon

This property conforms to a world-leading sustainability standard (Image Supplied)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, December 10, 2023

A low-carbon building designed to withstand extreme climate change with over 300 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill during its construction is coming up in Auckland.

The $54 million five-storey building is being built at 105 Carlton Gore Road in Newmarket, one of the most sophisticated areas of the Super City.

Stated to be one of the largest retrofit office projects to achieve a world-leading sustainability standard, the building is said to be the first in the post-pandemic working environment.

According to experts, multinational companies and environmentally conscious millennial workers are evincing interest in greener buildings, which is being reflected in the commercial real estate sector of New Zealand.

Argosy Property is involved with the Newmarket property development.

Incorporating climate resilience

The Company’s Head of Sustainability Head Saatyesh Bhana said that the development has diverted more than 300 tonnes of construction waste from landfill, the equivalent volume of waste generated from 60 new house builds.

“The property sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gases with buildings and their construction accounting for as much as 20% of New Zealand’s emissions. Internationally, businesses are motivated to lease buildings with a low carbon footprint, and which are designed to incorporate climate resilience. When they enter the New Zealand market there is an expectation that their local presence here will align with that of their other global offices,” he said.

Mr Bhana said that Argosy Property is looking to expand its stock of properties that are sustainable and energy-efficient, to meet the rising demand.

“In this latest project, about 92% (307 tonnes) of construction waste was either recycled or repurposed, including over 5,000 sq m of carpet tiles which were donated to the local community. Life cycle assessment modelling shows the building has a carbon footprint which is 31% lower and an operating carbon reduction of approximately 30% less than a reference building.

“By reusing the existing building structure, we have saved over 4.5 million kgs of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), roughly the equivalent of 15,500 flights from Auckland to Wellington or taking 3000 cars off the road,” he said.

An impressive street address in Central Auckland (Image Supplied)

Mitigating natural risks

According to Mr Bhana, the Newmarket building has been designed to withstand an extreme climate change scenario where New Zealand’s average annual temperatures rise by up to 3°C over the next six decades. Under this scenario, elevated risks of intense summertime heating and flood risk from deluge have been mitigated, he said.

“Local sourcing of the double-glazed extrusion system has resulted in a carbon footprint of the building’s facade that is 93% lower than a standard imported extrusion system and, a reduction in the greenhouse emissions of 560 tonnes of CO2e. Other features include a biophilic living wall made from organically grown Scandinavian moss that does not require watering but can filter airborne toxins and dust out of the air, solar power generation, a building management system that responds dynamically to the presence of people at the time of day and the prevailing climatic conditions and, new hot water heating technology that uses CO2 and eliminates the need for traditional gas boilers,” Mr Bhana said.

Sustaining a soft market

Argosy Property Head of Development Marilyn Storey said that the market has softened in recent months but enquiry for sustainable buildings is steady, particularly in the city fringe.

She said that multinational tenants increasingly favour green buildings as they help attract staff to the office and lift productivity.

New industry data shows that only 1.7% (1,184 sqm) of Grade A office space is vacant in Newmarket, compared to a vacancy level of 16.1% of Grade B, 9.6% of Grade C and 10.7% of Grade D commercial stock. In comparison, the average vacancy for Auckland is 7.7%,  up from 7.1% at the end of 2022.

“Against a backdrop of a flat commercial real estate sector, around 60% of the building was leased well before construction was completed. What we are seeing in the post-Covid market is an awareness from corporate employers that staff are often reluctant to return to the office. In many industries, productivity and office culture are casualties of this, and we are now developing properties to counter this reticence,” she said.

A significant contributor to greenhouse gases (Image Supplied)

Ms Storey said that the selection of office location and quality of the building is driven by millennial staff who want visibility over the sustainability credentials of their working environment.

“In response, these offices have been designed to be reactive to the individual. So, a staff member can adjust the lighting above them through their phone if they want to. The facade is also able to reduce the amount of glare and allows more natural daylight into the building. We have also built in a range of features which are designed to attract workers out of their homes and into the office – with a green ‘oasis’ around the building that connects office and landscaping and, 5% of our car parks dedicated to EV charging,” she said.

Modern facilities with technology

Ms Storey said that apart from proximity to public transport hubs, Auckland Domain and Newmarket shopping, features designed to appeal to this market include large efficient floor plates, availability of 200 car parks, high-quality end-of-trip facilities with 50 bike parks and solar.

“We have also designed 105 Carlton Gore with the latest energy efficiency technology including intelligent air conditioning and LED lighting and control systems, providing tenants with up to 30% energy savings annually,” she said.

Ms Storey said that the first three tenants of the new building, which was designed by Designgroup Stapleton Elliott, include multinational consulting firm Stantec, Colgate Palmolive and health care provider Harbour Cancer.

Mr Bhana said that following certification, 105 Carlton Gore Road will be the second, six Green Star Built rated building in the Argosy Property portfolio, behind 8 Willis Street in Wellington.

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