Health board office gets green tick

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Northland District Health Board's new eco-friendly office building, Tohora House.
Northland District Health Board's new eco-friendly office building, Tohora House.

Right now the healthiest green building in Whangarei is Northland District Health Board's new administration centre which has received an award for its energy-efficient design.

Tohora House, the new two-level office building on Hospital Rd which opened last year, has been given a 4 Green Star Design rating for the architects Neil Wild and Associates' design with its built-in efficiency features.

They include the precast concrete building's high thermal stability with a cool interior in summer and warm in winter, extended overhangs for shade, heat-reflective glass coatings and energy efficient lighting systems.

Health board chief executive Nick Chamberlain said it was important to invest in a building that prioritised sustainability and efficiency.

"Tohora House exemplifies the benefits of well-planned new construction, bringing together formerly separate teams, providing the opportunity to operate as a 'whole of system' organisation, and saving costs," Dr Chamberlain said.

"Green Star helped us verify that our new building is energy efficient, providing a much better working environment for our staff while helping to save the planet."

Green Star is an independent rating system that assesses buildings' environmental aspects at both design and finished stages.

The organisation's chief executive, Alex Cutler, said the health board had taken a lead and the building is the first in Whangarei to receive the highest Green Star rating.

"Implementing sustainability at the design stage of a building project is the most cost-effective way to lock in long-term savings. We encourage other organisations in the area to follow the DHB's example, and discover the long-term benefits of lower energy use and increased staff comfort through using Green Star," Ms Cutler said.

The NZGBC is a not-for-profit industry organisation that sets best practice standards through green building rating tools, education, information sharing and training for all areas of the building industry.

- Northern Advocate

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