Conservation House - Te Whare Kaupapa Atawhai

Conservation House, the Department of Conservation's head office, has been designed for long-term sustainability.

Conservation House's open plan layout

Location:  Manners Street, Wellington

Key features:

  • sustainable materials
  • chilled beam system
  • natural light and eco-lighting
  • green roof
  • rainwater collection

Conservation House was a former cinema complex - refurbishment aimed at reducing the impact on the environment, both during construction and on an ongoing basis.

Eco-friendly fittings include wooden internal doors, framework and panelling sourced from sustainable forests.

A system of active chilled-beams controls temperature. Warm air rises past water-carrying coils in the ceiling beams. As cool air descends into the room, it is replaced by rising warm air, creating an airflow cycle. In winter, heated water running through the coils warms surrounding air. Heat pumps capture waste heat for water-heating.

Two large atria encourage airflow and provide natural light. Eco bulbs and lighting sensors combine to help the building use 40% less energy than conventional office buildings.

On the outside, a rooftop café in a native garden gives staff the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors without leaving the building. A wind turbine powers 34 roof lights.

Collected rainwater for toilets, cleaning and gardens reduces mains water consumption by 77%. Motion sensors in taps and low-flow bathrooms fittings make further reductions.

Staff are encouraged to use the central stairwell rather than lifts, and recycling stations and organic waste bins are used instead of personal rubbish bins. There's a large bike rack and the building is close to a bus stop.