New Zealand's largest privately-owned commercial developer plans to offset new building carbon footprints at a new $650 million office block by 120 per cent.
Culum Manson, a director of Mansons TCLM, said the business planned to increase its commitment to environmental sustainability by more than offsetting new footprints.
"The first building will be the new one going up between Wyndham St and Swanson St," he said, referring to Fifty Albert.
The Green Building Council has hailed the move as a hallmark in the sector, going a step further than anyone else.
Manson said one native tree would be planted for every square metre of new office space.
Every new Mansons TCLM building has also been designed to achieve a 6-Star rating from the council.
Two further new buildings are planned to be in the new 120 per cent regime but no details have been released about them yet.
About 3000 people will work at the 15-level Fifty Albert, to have 2300sq m floor plates, 28,873sq m on completion and be finished by late 2023/early 2024.
The Parnell-headquartered Mansons had a three-step plan for its 120 per cent scheme:
• Buying carbon offset credits via an independent seller;
• Buying existing trees in forests or planting new trees to achieve a further 20 per cent offset;
• Each new building having trees in a forest specifically dedicated to offsetting that block's footprint so Fifty Albert's tenants would know where their associated forest was.
"We plan to add 20 per cent more carbon capture by attaching a forest to every building," Manson said, clarifying that would mean either preserving trees in an existing forest or planting a new forest.
"We want to lift the sustainable quality of our buildings and transform the commercial building sector so that Fifty Albert Street will be the first building where this plan is exercised," he said.
"We have always been committed to Green Star ratings," he said, citing sustainability features in existing Mansons' buildings like harvesting rainwater for grey water use throughout office blocks, energy-saving measures like sensor lights, limiting car parking numbers in basements and dedicating more space to cycle parks with associated showers.
"We're constantly evolving our developments and we are now committing to further lead the market in sustainability for all of our future office buildings," he said.
"We've been listening to our customers and employees and decided to act now and make the change and commitment."
The 28,873sq m area at Fifty Albert would result in 28,873 trees being planted.
Andrew Eagles, Green Building Council chief executive, said: "This is a fantastic step by Mansons. The team have long been at the forefront of sustainable building here in Aotearoa so it's really exciting to see them taking this step."
Interest in more sustainable building design and construction was evident but the actual measurement, reduction and offsetting of all building emissions was still in its infancy.
This year Argosy Property measured and offset its operational emissions at 82 Wyndham St, creating the first carbon zero operated building, Eagles said.
Goodman Property Trust is also ensuring all its new developments are carbon neutral through Green Star and offsetting any unavoidable carbon.
"Mansons looks to be taking things a step further which is really exciting," Eagles said.
"How we create and operate our buildings contributes as much as 20 per cent of New Zealand's carbon emissions, he said.
More developers, builders, engineers, and architects needed to start ensuring their projects were reducing pollution as much as possible, measuring what impact they're having, and doing their part to tackle that 20 per cent figure, Eagles said.
Signature Homes will mitigate its house construction carbon dioxide emissions by planting about 45,000 native trees annually.
The company's CO2 reduction programme starts next year. It is working with Trees That Count and says about 45 native trees will be planted for every new home.