Green buildings increase productivity for New Zealand office space firm

New Zealand's largest owner of inner-city office space Precinct Properties say its green buildings are delivering more productive workers and big energy and water savings.

Tenants of its Wynyard Quarter buildings in Auckland - Mason Bros and 12 Madden St - report increased productivity and less absenteeism since moving into the properties.

Mason Bros' tenants report up to a 25 per cent drop in workers not showing up at work, a rise in their personal productivity of 8.5 per cent and a more than doubling in cycling by tenants.

This research was conducted by Precinct Properties with engineering firm Mott MacDonald and architects Warren + Mahoney, both tenants in Mason Bros that were involved in the design of the buildings.

Mott MacDonald managing director Shaun Barrett said key factors in choosing the building were its central location to attract staff and improving staff wellbeing by being in a quality environment.

Mason Bros building has a 5-Green Star rating and a 5-star NABERSNZ energy efficiency rating from the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC).

Tenants at 12 Madden St also reported reduced absenteeism and increased productivity.

The buildings were delivering significant energy and water usage savings for the tenants as well, Precinct Properties senior development manager Alain McKinney said.

Power usage at 12 Madden St was about half that of a typical building, while water usage was six times less than a standard office - eight litres per person a day at 12 Madden St compared to 50 litres a day in a standard office, McKinney said.

Precinct said it was taking the same approach for its other new developments including 10 Madden Street in the Wynyard Quarter which will open in 2020. It was aiming for a 5 Green Star rating and a market leading energy efficiency rating.

Green Star is an internationally-recognised rating for the design, construction and operation of buildingss in a sustainable way while NABERSNZ is a rating for the energy efficiency of a building.

Research by real estate firm Colliers International  shows higher occupancy rates for green buildings in Auckland and Wellington.

Colliers director of research Chris Dibble said more than 150 buildings and fit-out projects had been certified as Green Star in New Zealand since 2007 when the NZGBC introduced Green Star ratings.

Two-thirds of those were in the commercial office sector and about 40 per cent were in Auckland.

Colliers surveyed Auckland and Wellington CBD office vacancies and Auckland suburban office vacancies representing about 5 million square metres of office space.

It found the vacancy rates was significantly lower in Green Star buildings in all three major office markets.

In Auckland CBD, the overall office vacancy rate was 6.2 per cent but Green Star accredited premises had less at 3.4 per cent.

In the Auckland suburban market the vacancy rate was 6.1 per cent but only 0.5 per cent for Green Star buildings.

In the tight Wellington CBD market there were no vacancies in the buildings, outperforming the overall Wellington market with a 7.7 per cent vacancy rate, Colliers said.

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