Operating buildings sustainably is a granular endeavour. Britomart gathers detailed monthly data on energy and water use, and monitors refrigerant losses and waste volumes in order to refine and reduce our resource use.
Britomart Group began working with Toitū Envirocare in 2019 to develop a base-case emissions profile for our group of businesses, which gives us an overall picture of our environmental impact. We also have a Toitū Carbonreduce plan to decrease our emissions over time.
At a broad level, we’ve committed to a 5 percent reduction in total emissions by 2026, a target to be achieved through a wide range of undertakings, from monitoring building air temperatures to increase energy efficiency, and investigating solar power for some buildings and converting some vehicles to electric or hybrid. Some of the initiatives we are currently working on to reduce our emissions include:
• Weekly technical meetings are held to collaborate on ideas for reducing overall utilities across Britomart.
• Monitoring of building temperatures via our Building Management System is ongoing.
• A solar panel project for several buildings in the precinct is currently being scoped, with the Maritime Building likely to be the test project.
• Conversion to LED lighting is complete within the carpark, Altrans Quay common staircase, the Australis Nathan Building and 80 percent complete for the Maritime Building.
Our emissions are reported in the following categories:
Direct emissions This includes emissions from diesel used in generators, natural gas use, fuel use and refrigerant leaks. This year, during our day-to-day tracking of our building systems, leaks of refrigerant gas — which is meant to circulate in air-conditioning systems without loss — were discovered in some buildings. During the repair process, the systems were emptied of refrigerant gas, repaired, tested and refilled. When we were reporting the refrigerant gas losses for our Toitū submission, the unusually high total triggered us to investigate further. We discovered our refrigerant contractor was recording the full amount of gas resupplied after each leak was repaired, instead of the amount of gas lost to the atmosphere. We believe this means the number recorded has substantially overstated the real level of loss, but cannot ascertain this retroactively. This uncertainty means we can't confidently state our direct emissions in this report.
Indirect emissions from imported energy Our emissions from electricity use are tracking downwards and are currently down 12 percent from the base year. We will monitor this closely, as this figure may rise as more people return to office work.
Indirect emissions from products This category relates to transmission losses — such as leaks or heat loss — as gas and electricity is transmitted to each building. Emissions in this category rose slightly in the last year.
Indirect emissions from transport Long haul air travel has not been included in our emissions for the last two years, but will return in next year’s figures, so we expect an increase related to that category.
Britomart’s buildings are rated under the NABERSNZ scheme, an independent tool that rates the energy efficiency of buildings. The maximum possible rating is six stars. Britomart has what is called ‘Base Buildings’ ratings, which cover energy use in core services and common areas – lifts, stairwell lighting, common toilets, air conditioning and ventilation, and so on. The ratings do not apply to energy use by building tenants.
In 2022, one Britomart Building was re-rated within our NABERSNZ line-up: Altrans Quay, which received a rating of 5.5 stars – which indicates Market-Leading performance. Next year, energy data for the refurbished Hayman Kronfeld Building will be recorded for a NABERSNZ submission in 2024.
MANAGING WASTE WELL
Britomart has its own management system for waste produced within the precinct instead of using Auckland Council's system. This gives us a higher degree of control over the waste streams we offer and where waste produced within the precinct is ultimately directed.
We currently operate seven waste streams for our leasing partners:
• Cardboard • Mixed plastic, glass and metal recycling • Soft plastic recycling • Polystyrene • Compostable/organic waste • E-waste • Landfill
We also run a Littatrap system in stormwater drains in our neighbourhood, capturing street waste such as food wrappers, cigarette butts and plastic bottles in a fine steel mesh net to prevent it from being washed into Waitematā Harbour. These traps are cleaned on a regular basis.
Waste management is a complicated topic, with many challenges around accurately measuring waste volumes, the emissions created by different recycling and disposal methods and tracing where recycled material ultimately ends up. While sustainable waste management has always been a priority for us, with measurability tools improving, we decided it was time for an in-depth review of our waste systems to ensure we’re doing things as well as we can.
Over the last six months, our sustainability and operations teams within Cooper and Company, Britomart and The Hotel Britomart have been meeting with our waste management partners – such as Waste Management’s Redvale Landfill and Abilities Group – at their recycling or waste disposal facilities to see their systems up close, and ask detailed questions so we can evaluate whether we are achieving the optimal outcome for each stream.
Once we have directly visited every waste management organisation we work with, we will review our entire system to see whether changes could be made to improve recycling levels or end results, like decreasing waste to landfill, reducing carbon emissions or improving social outcomes.
When that’s completed, we will run a communications campaign for our leasing partners to give them insights into how the waste system works, any changes we might make, and how they can help reduce waste in the neighbourhood. We’ll also do a full report of progress on our waste review in next year’s Sustainability Report.