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Architects See Rapid Growth in Green Building Awareness

National architectural practice Warren and Mahoney says more than $100 million worth of development by the company’s clients is now being developed under a ‘green protocol’, and the demand for environmentally sustainable commercial and community buildings is rising steadily.

Warren and Mahoney introduced an Environmental Protocol 12 months ago to encourage their clients to adopt more environmentally responsible designs.

The Protocol, the first and only minimum environmental standards agreement between a New Zealand architectural practice and its clients, aims to minimise harm to the environment in the construction and ongoing use of buildings, by minimising their resource and energy needs.

Minimum standards in the Protocol include the efficient and effective use of energy, water, waste management and the re-use of building materials.

Warren and Mahoney director Graeme Finlay says that within two years the firm aims to have increased the commissioned work covered by the Protocol to 75 percent of all activity.

“The Environmental Protocol aims to lift the base line and encourage our competitors to follow suit across the industry.

“The main interest so far has been among clients whose briefs already emphasise environmental sustainability, but there’s growing adoption among new clients and those who previously saw ‘green’ as ‘alternative’.”

Mr Finlay says the primary reason for this interest is practical.

“It is becoming widely accepted that green design can significantly improve long term returns on property investments.”

Mr Finlay says numerous international studies confirm this, as does the recent Ministry for Environment Value Case for Sustainable Building in New Zealand, co-authored by Warren and Mahoney.

One of the first signatories to the Environmental Protocol was New Zealand Post, which will soon begin construction of the first of its environmentally responsible distribution centres.

The construction industry is also recognising the need for sustainability with the New Zealand Green Building Council set to be launched this year. The Council is currently in its establishment phase and aims to become affiliated to the World Green Building Council in July.

The Government is also recognising the long-term importance of environmental sustainability via its Govt3 initiative.

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