EECA to fund energy-efficient design advice for commercial buildings

Tuesday, 30 October, 2012

Expert advice to help developers design and construct commercial buildings that use up to 70% less energy than the average building is available through a new program launched on Monday.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) Commercial Building Design Advice program will offer building owners and developers funding for expert design advice at every stage of development.

New Zealand’s commercial buildings account for about 9% of annual energy use - worth around $1.7 billion every year.

“Highly efficient commercial buildings use between 60 and 70% less energy than the average building,” said EECA Commercial Programme Manager Karen Chaney.

“Some of the best opportunities to optimise energy efficiency in commercial buildings, like orientation to make the most of natural light, are only available during design.

“It is important that developers think about energy efficiency as early in the process as possible. A building is an investment - developers need to think about the kind of return they will get in 10 years’ time.”

Program funding varies depending on the nature of advice, which is available during initial concept design, fit-out design, building commissioning and post-construction energy auditing. A range of experts including architects, engineers and energy auditors will provide advice under the program.

“Getting the right advice during building design, construction and commissioning means tenants and building owners can enjoy the benefits of energy efficiency for decades to come,” Chaney said.

For building owners, energy efficiency means improved long-term capital values, higher occupancy rates and better rental returns. Tenants are willing to pay a premium for energy efficient buildings which offer lower energy costs and greater levels of staff comfort, productivity and reduced absenteeism.

“A recent survey by Colliers International shows 95% of tenants in New Zealand and Australia want to occupy an environmentally-sustainable building. Energy-efficient design and construction can help meet this demand,” said Chaney.

Buildings eligible for funding under the program include offices, retail outlets, schools, hospitals and hotels.

Funding for the initial concept design advice phase of the project is being managed in Christchurch by the Christchurch Agency for Energy (CAfE).

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