The shiny new premises of NZME, the parent company of The New Zealand Herald and Element, will hold a five-star Green Star Rating, providing a more eco-friendly workplace for the media corporation’s almost 1000 Auckland-based employees

Natural lighting, fresh air, passive solar heating and ventilation cooling all feature in the plans for NZME's new headquarters, along with extensive cyclists' facilities, reduced waste initiatives and office layouts designed for exercise and social interaction.

The new building, currently under construction at 151 Victoria Street West by property developer Mansons TCLM Limited and due for completion in June, consists of six stories - three levels of basement parking and three office floors - encompassing over 20,000 square metres. Nearly half of the available space will go to NZME, with the relocation is planned for the end of the year.

The design for the new building has achieved a five-star Green Star design rating, ensuring the plans for its construction meet Green Star criteria. The project team is currently applying for a 'Built' rating that guarantees the building will meet requirements once constructed, says Miranda James, director of communications for the New Zealand Green Building Council.

"Green Star rates environmental aspects of the building across nine categories: energy, water, indoor environment quality, transport, materials, land use and ecology, emissions, management and innovation," James says. "Building rating systems such as Green Star are an internationally recognised way of ensuring low environmental impact and better performance."

Advertisement

Under Green Star rating criteria, the building design was awarded an extra point for innovation for its target goal of reducing landfill waste by a substantial 90 per cent, James said.

The structure's lobby boasts a 20-m high glass atrium which extends upwards through all the levels of the building, allowing for convective ventilation and impressive views. Each story, connected via interlinking staircases, contains an internal sky bridge spanning the atrium.

Cyclist facilities include a bike park in the basement of the building, as well as shower and changing areas for those cycling to work. Design plans also establish a designated area for recycling.

The building's plumbing system ensures reduced water usage, with low-flow fittings used for taps, toilets, and showers. Other eco-friendly materials have been selected for construction, such as timber from sustainably-managed forests and steel partially composed of recycled materials.

Exterior design of the building balances access to natural light and insulation with external shading panelling to keep the building cool. Blueprints also ensure tons
of fresh air for NZME employees working indoors, with an outdoor air ventilation rate 1.5 times that of building code requirements.

The move will encompass much of the media company's operations in Auckland, including NZME Radio, The New Zealand Herald newsroom, and digital operations such as New Zealand's leading deals business GrabOne.

Air conditioning has been contracted to McAlpine Hussmann, a member of the NZ Green Building Council that specialises in sustainable refrigeration and air conditioning. The system uses water chillers and air handling units selected to ensure optimum efficiency and uses refrigerant that will not be harmful to the ozone layer. A fully automated control system (BMS) offers zone-by-zone control and energy saving options for heating and cooling the building after hours.

NZME transformation manager Sarah Judkins, who is in charge of overseeing the move, says features of the new building are significantly more energy efficient than those of the old building, which was purchased by Manson TCLM last year.

She also points out that the design will encourage more interaction. "The floor plan designs that are being developed are open-plan to encourage the sharing of ideas, learnings and opportunities," says Judkins. "It is important, however, that there is adequate space for people to think and have quiet time. To this end we have created break out spaces and staff hubs accessible to all staff."