From top: East Building, Atrium on Takutai, Charter House.

Going backwards in business isn’t usually a good thing – but we’re proud to say we’re starting to go backwards when it comes to carbon emissions. 

At Britomart, we’re committed to building better, through working with the New Zealand Green Building Council to build new buildings to high Green Star ratings – like The Hotel Britomart, due to open mid-2020, which achieved a 5 Green Star Design rating. 

But building well is only half the picture – in fact, it’s less than half the picture. Around 70 percent of the carbon emissions a building produces come from the energy needed to heat, power and cool it through its lifetime.

Next week is World Green Building Week (23-29 September) and this year the goal is to raise awareness of how building better is one of the most effective ways to reduce global carbon emissions. Through their construction and operational lifetimes, buildings account for around 39 percent of the world's energy-related carbon emissions. If New Zealand is going to achieve the government’s carbon neutrality (or Net Zero Carbon) by 2050, constructing greener buildings and running both existing and new buildings much more efficiently will be a critical factor.

That’s part of the reason Britomart was the first sizeable property management company in New Zealand to sign up to the New Zealand Green Building Council’s Green Star Performance Tool. The GSPT is a set of systems for monitoring and improving the ongoing energy and water use of buildings. We established GSPT monitoring systems across nine buildings at Britomart in 2018, and over the last few months have started receiving the first sets of year-on-year data, which have been very encouraging.

In the last year, in Charter Customs building (Westpac Cityside)  we’ve reduced energy usage by 15.9 percent and gas use by 7.9 percent. And in the East Company Building (home to Westpac, EY and the Atrium on Takutai), energy use is down by 14.5 percent and gas by 9.66 percent. Energy and gas usage correspond directly to carbon emissions, meaning that we’ve reduced our annual carbon emissions in those areas at the same rate.

Britomart director of sustainability Mark Sinclair says the savings were achieved through careful monitoring of our energy and gas usage using the Green Star Performance Tool and making fine-tune adjustments to plant and systems. “It’s amazing how much of a difference small changes can make when measured over a year.”