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Environmental and economic savings in new building

MEDIA RELEASE

Environmental and economic savings in new council building

For immediate release
Monday 11 April 2005

Environment Bay of Plenty’s new building in Tauranga has features that are not just good for the environment but will potentially save millions of dollars in costs over the long term.

The regional council has released preliminary designs for an $8.67 million low-rise office complex by the harbour at Sulphur Point. Its architects describe it as “a high performance green building that will create a new paradigm for office environment” in the Bay of Plenty.

The building’s design means annual operating costs are likely to be 30% to 40% less than those for a similar conventional building. Healthier interior working environments have also been proven to improve staff productivity and reduce absenteeism, which should result in huge, though often hidden savings, over the life of buildings.

Late last year, Environment Bay of Plenty gave the architectural team of Tauranga’s Ian Carter and Christchurch-based Warren and Mahoney the job of coming up with an eco-friendly design for a new building.

It will initially house 30 staff, contain public consultation and meeting facilities, and provide storage depot facilities for the council’s emergency response, maritime and field staff equipment. Mr McConway, the project’s manager, says the harbour side location allows quick and easy access to the harbour for navigation and safety and oil pollution response. It is also relatively central to the heart of Tauranga and the western Bay of Plenty. The building is designed to allow for future expansion, with some areas to be leased in the short to medium term.

Mr McConway says the concept design shows a building that is attractive, practical and “very workable” while incorporating features which minimise energy consumption, protect and conserve water, and enhance indoor environmental quality. It also utilises materials that are better for the environment.

Mr McConway says the true costs of a building are not so much in its construction “but in what it’s being used for” over its lifetime, both in basic operational terms and in the cost of employing staff. “So it makes sense to us to design a building that takes this into account,” he explains.

Mr McConway hopes the building will encourage the construction and building design industry to adopt good environmental practices. He will be setting up trade-oriented open days during the construction process “so local builders and architects can see for themselves how this works and get an idea of the environmental and economic value of it.”

Construction of the building will begin late this year and is expected to finish next October.

ENDS

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