Membership reinforces University’s green building role

13 July 2017
Property Services' Colleen Seth and Grant Johnstone Colleen Seth (Associate Director, Development), and Grant Johnstone (Senior Project Manager), are key members of the Property Services team, working with user groups as well as architectural and engineering service providers to integrate environmentally sustainable design principles into the University’s new buildings.

The University of Auckland is home to one of the country’s largest property portfolios and is a hub of property-related learning and research. This means it has a unique role to play in in supporting the sustainable design, construction and operation of buildings.

Through its membership of the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC), the University supports a vision that “New Zealanders live, work and play in healthy, efficient and productive buildings in a sustainable built environment”.

Sustainable design and building principles are incorporated into all University developments. The new Science Centre, being officially opened this month, is a prime example with a range of innovations taking sustainable operations to a new level.

These include a high-tech façade with double glazing and sophisticated, energy-efficient heating, cooling and air handling systems which minimise heating and cooling requirements. The design maximises natural light, and includes features such as energy-saving LED lighting, with sensors to switch off lights in unoccupied areas, and comprehensive metering to track and correct inefficient use of energy and water. All timbers were certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Environmentally sustainable design is consistent with a number of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, to which the University is committed through its membership of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

University researchers and teaching staff also make an important contribution to the industry in this field.

As well as providing sustainability ratings, the NZGBC offers a number of benefits to staff and students such as networking, professional development and learning opportunities including special member rates to attend NZGBC events.

NZGBC Membership Executive Susan Blayney says the University’s membership gives all staff access to NZGBC member resources and enables students to gain student membership at no charge.

Susan Blayney, New Zealand Green Building Council membership executive

“The council can support your curriculum content, related research, and professional development for academic and non-academic staff.

“NZGBC’s strength is in the exchange of knowledge and expertise by its members. Members are encouraged to collaborate to keep the council and its resources relevant to the market.”

NZGBC events offer a potential platform for researchers to share findings and network with the industry.

The University’s membership also offers an opportunity to foster a sense of community among those who are responsible for teaching, researching and putting into practice sustainable design, building and performance principles.

Among those at the University who stand to benefit and contribute the most are those in Architecture and Planning, Property, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Population Health and Engineering Sciences, as well as Property Services and Campus Life Accommodation.

NZGBC was established by the sector to improve the quality of buildings and homes. It administers Green Star, Homestar and NABERSNZ rating tools that recognise and reward buildings that outperform national standards.

For more information or if you have queries about membership