26 Sep 2017

The push for net zero buildings

From Nine To Noon, 9:30 am on 26 September 2017

The Green Building Council is pushing for more energy efficient multi-unit buildings in New Zealand saying they are good for the environment, save businesses money and even deliver more productive workers.

It is endorsing net-zero certified buildings which generate their energy from renewable sources.

Commercial buildings use over 20 percent of New Zealand's total electricity, costing businesses around $800 million a year.

Green Building Council Chief Executive Andrew Eagles told Nine to Noon net-zero buildings save businesses money by conserving heat from insulation, using natural light, and utilising renewable energy from tools like solar panels.

Mr Eagles said it has been proven net-zero certified buildings were also healthier to work in.

"Really good research from Harvard University has shown that green certified buildings deliver more productive workers - so they are quicker to responding to difficult questions, they are more productive themselves, they feel better in themselves, they get sick less-often and the building gets sick less-often."

He said fundamentally people enjoy working in a better working environment.

"You look at the new people coming into work now, the younger generation, they want to work for a place which proves their environmental credentials."

There are currently over 70 net-zero certified buildings in Auckland, as well as some in Wellington and Christchurch.

"You want to get good deep daylight into the building so everyone's getting that sense of natural light, you want to enable places for people to have a break from their work space - so a little area, a place of retreat," Mr Eagles said.

"Plants are wonderful, they create better indoor air quality so some of those elements are just pleasant places to be and that makes people far more productive."