With confirmation of a 5 Green Star Design rating from the New Zealand Green Building Council, The Hotel Britomart is set to be New Zealand’s most eco-friendly hotel.
Travelling sustainably is important, say 72 percent of people intending to travel in the next year, according to booking.com's annual Sustainable Travel Report. The trouble is, just as many people don’t feel confident in making green travel choices, due to a lack of clear information around sustainability, and credible certification.
For The Hotel Britomart, now rapidly rising at the corner of Galway and Gore Sts in the centre of the Britomart precinct, we wanted to give travellers assurance that they’re staying in a building that’s been designed with sustainability in mind from the start. We talked to Mark Sinclair, director of Sustainability and Facilities for Britomart, about how and why Cheshire Architects designed The Hotel Britomart to achieve a 5 Green Star Design rating.
The Hotel Britomart has just been awarded a 5 Green Star Design certification by the New Zealand Green Building Council. How does this come about?
Mark Sinclair: The Green Star rating system is managed by the New Zealand Green Building Council. To get a Green Star rating, you need to achieve a certain number of points from a set of criteria that relate to sustainable building and management techniques. The higher the points, the higher the star rating.
How difficult is it to get this certification?
It’s challenging to a get a 5 Star rating. The highest possible rating is a 6 Star rating, and that’s very rare. There’s no easy way to get to a 5 Star rating. You have to achieve a lot of points across a range of categories, from the way the building is commissioned to using eco-friendly materials in construction, having double-glazing, good insulation, water, energy and waste management systems, and offering facilities like bicycle parking and so on.
Does this certification mean The Hotel Britomart will be the first 5 Green Star certified hotel in New Zealand?
Yes, I believe it does.
What assurance does the rating give guests to the hotel?
There is a clear trend that green travel is in demand in the market. So when people stay at The Hotel Britomart, they can be assured that they’re staying in a hotel that has been designed to the highest standards of building and construction when it comes to sustainability.
Does a high Green Star rating make it more expensive to stay in the hotel?
Not at all. The good thing about investing in high Green Star standards is that the building is much more efficient over its lifespan. As an operator, you don’t have to recoup the higher costs of building sustainably by charging guests more to stay there – you achieve those savings through lower ongoing operating costs.
Will The Hotel Britomart be pursuing any further certifications or having ongoing monitoring to assess its sustainability performance?
Yes, we will. We intend to put the Hotel Britomart into the Green Star Performance Rating Tool that we already operate in several buildings across the Britomart precinct. That’s a points-based systems that measures aspects of sustainable performance like building management, energy and water use, waste output, indoor air quality, how people are coming and going from the building (through a survey), and innovation of our systems.
How pleased are you about this?
As a company, we are very pleased. The team has worked hard to be able to achieve this recognition. It feels great to know that we’re creating a new building that’s better for the environment and the people who stay and work there, as well as being ahead of the curve when it comes to green tourism.