Is This New Zealand’s Greenest Building?

Meet what might be the greenest building in uber-green New Zealand, the Meridian Building in the waterfront Kumototo district of Wellington. It’s the country’s first building to earn a perfect five stars from Green Star, the Green Building Council of Australia‘s version of the U.S. Green Building Council‘s LEED program.

The Meridian makes use of partially recycled cement in the structure, a big feature in the structure’s overall carbon footprint, as the use of recycled concrete significantly reduces the CO² emissions associated with the building. Studio Pacific Architecture reports that its designers made use of extensive exposed thermal mass, chilled beam technology and high efficiency light fittings, all of which contributed to the Meridian consuming 60 percent less energy than a typical office building of similar size.

Meridian Building, New Zealand

image via Studio Pacific Architecture

A 70 percent reduction in water usage was also achieved via a combo of harvesting rainwater and low-flow fixtures.  All material selections were sustainably sourced  wherever possible and are designed to be recyclable as well.

The finished design — which Studio Pacific completed in association with Peddle Thorp architects — was intended to translate elements from the surrounding heritage waterfront buildings (known locally as Sheds) into a contemporary design vernacular. The Meridian building is articulated as two separate forms: a curved annex portion with textured, external louvres to relate to the surrounding built environment, and a smooth, white rectangular pavilion cantilevered out to seemingly float above the water.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.