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ARCHIFYNOW > TIPS & IDEAS > University of Auckland project receives highest ever Green Star Design score

University of Auckland project receives highest ever Green Star Design score

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Set to open in 2024, the University’s Social Sciences Building (B201) has been awarded a 6 Green Star Design rating. It has been given 93 points, which is the highest score handed out to date by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC).

Designed by Jasmax with the support of Beca, the adaptive reuse of a decades-old structure is predicted to cut the amount of waste and pollution created by the project’s construction and operation, while also providing a healthy, comfortable, and functional space with easy access to public transport, bike parking, and end-of-trip facilities.

The project will see an existing building be refurbished, while a timber atrium is set to be built from scratch to house two faculties. To ensure the ongoing use of the current structure, its concrete cladding will be replaced with a new lightweight system that allows for the addition of an extra floor area. A lighter curtain wall will also replace the existing façade, which is projected to make the building earthquake-proof for another 50 years. Further additions include high-performance glazing to reduce solar glare, as well as a combination of low emission paints and coatings with improved heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems which are intended to provide clean air and greater ventilation rates.

Once in operation, the building’s rainwater harvesting system is predicted to use 75 per cent less water than a standard comparable building, with more than a tenth of the renewable energy used by B201 set to be generated on-site. As part of the design, systems to monitor the building’s use of power and water will also allow the University of Auckland to measure and report the environmental performance of at least 80 per cent of its floor space.

Simon Neale, director of property services at UoA, says that a 6 Green Star certification was a priority from the early stages of the project, as part of a wider commitment to sustainability. “We are currently consulting on our Estate Strategy Te Rautaki Tūāpapa which is underpinned by our ambition to develop innovative campuses as sustainable ecosystems that are distinctive, welcoming, accessible, equitable, resilient and capable. These will support and activate student learning and well-being within a world-class research-intensive university in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

NZGBC Chief executive Andrew Eagles says 6 Star ratings are reserved for world-leading projects, with the plans for B201 demonstrating the future of sustainable architecture. “This project highlights how we can avoid bowling our existing spaces and instead adaptively re-use them – massively slashing our carbon emissions while creating a space fit for the future. To meet our climate change goals and create a zero-carbon future, we need more of the leadership and partnership demonstrated here by the likes of the University of Auckland, Jasmax and Beca.”

Speaking on behalf of Jasmax, principal and senior architect Chris Scott says the “Green Star certification marks an exciting development in our efforts to partner with our clients to meet net-zero carbon across new buildings over the next decade. Jasmax is particularly pleased to work with the University which shares our commitment to sustainable design. We want to ensure our projects have longevity and are part of the solution to reducing the impacts of climate change.”

Richard Walsh, Beca’s Technical Director and Project Lead for B201 Project also welcomes the building’s high score. “An assessment of the building’s life cycle has found emissions for its construction and operation over its lifetime will be almost 60 per cent less than an equivalent new build,” Walsh says. “For Building 201 to receive this 6 Green Star Design rating is testament to the vision of the University and the passion and commitment of our design team members, supported by our sustainability specialists, to deliver to the University’s sustainability aspirations.”

The Green Star rankings are administered by the NZGBC. Once B201 is completed, the initial rating will be updated with a further certification based on the As-Built status of the finished building. The project is being supported through funding from the Infrastructure Reference Group, which was established by the New Zealand Government in response to COVID-19.

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ArchifyNow is an online design media that focuses on bringing quality updates of architecture and interior design in Indonesia and Asia Pacific. ArchifyNow curates worthwhile design stories that is expected to enrich the practice of design professionals while introducing applicable design tips and ideas to the public.
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