First BASE-certified building in Christchurch gets underway

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Construction is underway on the first new building in Christchurch to be built according to principles that the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) hopes to become a minimum standard throughout the rebuild.

Knox Plaza at 148 Victoria Street is the first to register to achieve BASE (Building A Sustainable Environment) certification.
It will complement the adjoining Knox Presbyterian Church, with a single storeyed “transparent” building at the front, so that there is a good view of the church.
The main building starts behind Knox Church — in order to give this iconic building its own space on the corner.

The building will boast features including high performance glass, comprehensive recycling facilities, heat recovery and extensive use of natural light — features that cost a slight premium to developers in the building process, but deliver significant financial and social benefits in just a few years.

Building owner John Ryder says planning and developing the building along BASE guidelines was a simple decision.
“We had an exciting chance to build something innovative and remarkable, and we grabbed it,” he says.
“We’re very pleased to have so easily come up with something that is sensitive to the needs of the city and our obligations to the environment, as well as provide something operationally efficient for the tenant.”

The NZGBC, which developed the BASE tool with the Christchurch City Council, says BASE is a green building certification scheme that will be achievable for project teams in the city and provide great benefits for the long-term.

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker launched the BASE tool in November as an opportunity to meet the demand for a “greener” city, which came through the Share an Idea campaign during the development of the Draft Central City Plan.
“By improving the environmental design and performance of our buildings, our community will benefit by living in a sustainable city. We are pleased to be working with the NZGBC to ensure our city goes green,” Mr Parker says.

Legacy, an industry campaign supported by the city council to showcase and promote sustainable building in Christchurch, was also launched recently. Mr Ryder is one of the Legacy campaign’s founding supporters.

Two further Christchurch projects have registered for development using BASE, which has already had significant support from local industry, and sits alongside the NZGBC’s best practice Green Star building assessment tool, which aims to set leadership standards for green building across New Zealand.