The reuse of rainwater, secure bike parking and community gardens are part of a concerted effort to make Wynyard Quarter the leader of sustainable urban development in New Zealand.
Stage one - the opening of North Wharf, Silo Park and a new walking bridge across the Viaduct Harbour to Wynyard Quarter - gave Aucklanders a taste of their waterfront and things to come.
Now Waterfront Auckland, the council development agency responsible for the city waterfront, is setting the sustainability bar higher for stage two, a 3.5ha commercial and residential precinct called Wynyard Central.
It's a far cry from decades of oil, chemical and bulk liquid industry occupancy that left the reclaimed Tank Farm dockland contaminated.
The former Auckland City and Auckland Regional Councils moved in the mid-2000s to take control of the 35ha Tank Farm for commercial, marine, residential and public use, including a 4.25ha headland park.
The large public park jutting out into the Waitemata Harbour is some way off, but Waterfront Auckland is seeking about $1 billion of private investment for the first housing and commercial development at Wynyard Central.
Waterfront Auckland chief executive John Dalzell says the urban regeneration requires intervention to produce better outcomes between the public and private sectors than have been achieved.
Three development partners have been chosen: China's Fu Wah, which has won the right to build a $200 million five-star hotel on the site now occupied by the Team New Zealand headquarters, Precinct Properties, which is redeveloping the Downtown Shopping Centre, and Wellington-based Willis Bond.
But it's not a business-as-usual approach for the developers, who have been given standards to meet and exceed in a sustainability development framework which lifts the bar on previous waterfront work.
Houses and apartments must achieve a minimum 7 Homestar rating with provision for solar power and solar hot water heating panels, double glazing as a minimum, LED or better-performing lighting and the highest energy and water star ratings.
Mains water use will be kept to a minimum. Rainwater will be collected for flushing toilets, laundry and irrigation. Showerheads, toilets and taps will have to meet low water use standards.
One of the most ambitious goals at Wynyard Quarter is to reverse transport patterns, from 70 per cent motor vehicle use to 70 per cent walking, cycling and public transport.
Cycling and pedestrian facilities, such as showers, lockers, secure bike parking and electric bike charging points, will be provided in all developments.
Residential developments must have internal storage space for one bike per studio or one- or two-bedroom apartments and two bikes per three- or more bedroom apartments.
Apartment blocks must have one visitor bike-park for every 15 dwellings.
Carparks cannot be linked to apartments and must be bought separately "at full market value" in an attempt to limit the number of residential carparks and encourage car sharing and car pooling.
A power-saving goal in commercial buildings is "feature stairs" to minimise the use of lifts.
Commercial buildings will be expected to use 50 per cent rainwater and apply green fingers for outdoor plantings by adding organic matter, effective mulching and a low water-use drop irrigation system.
Water use figures will be collected and after a year, real use will be compared with predicted use and differences identified.
Dr Viv Heslop, a planner in sustainability and urban living at Waterfront Auckland, says being able to make use of data of this sort is crucial for people who live and work at Wynyard Central.
For example, residents will have access to information about their power consumption, water use, air quality and temperatures - and will be able to make decisions to reduce their power bill or carbon footprint.
One initiative that will test the public-private partnership is a trial of the Living Building Challenge, a concept created in Seattle, Washington, that promotes the most advanced measurement of sustainability in design and construction standards, which are more rigorous than green certification schemes.
It comprises seven performance issues - site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty - and every project must meet 20 strict requirements to achieve certification.
Mr Dalzell said the private sector would look at building, say, four apartments, and tell Waterfront Auckland what costs it could absorb and what costs were uneconomic.
"Then we have got to make a judgment call because there will be aspirational stuff the market is not going to pay for. Is it worth us doing it to drive the change we want to see?" he said.
Wynyard Central would demonstrate sustainability in environmental, social, cultural and economic terms.
Cultural initiatives included Ngati Whatua's role in establishing a community garden.
Garden to the Table, a programme for primary-school children to get their hands dirty and learn about growing and harvesting food, was also under way.
Social infrastructure included plans for community centres, child care, three-bedroom and larger apartments to attract families, and ensuring facilities such as a chemist shop, dairies and a laundry are built.
"The ultimate goal," Mr Dalzell said, "is a new community, a more compact way of living which has all the benefits of inner-city living but the amenity and convenience of a suburban location, all on a significantly smaller footprint in terms of consumption."