Wellington buildings get smarter and greener

16 September 2015

Wellington Smart Buildings Challenge launched today.

A partnership between Wellington City Council, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and Microsoft to significantly reduce energy consumption in Wellington’s commercial building sector by harnessing the collective commitment of Wellington’s building owners, launched today.

The Wellington Smart Buildings Challenge aims to lower energy consumption in Wellington’s commercial building sector, reduce costs and increase sustainability performance.

Mayor of Wellington, Celia Wade-Brown, says that the initiative aims to eliminate barriers and improve energy use and management for the Wellington commercial property sector.

“The Challenge is all about making life easier for owners through a mixture of financial and logistical incentives, an innovative data management tool provided by Microsoft’s technology partner Switch Automation, and collaborative information sharing between building owners.

”Reducing energy wastage is hugely important in tackling the biggest issue of the 21st Century – climate change,”

Wellington property owners and managers are invited to voluntarily take up the Challenge which involves four key steps:

  1. Committing to the Challenge
  2. Setting up their energy data on Switch Automation’s cloud-based platform for building management and sustainability reporting
  3. Undertaking a building energy systems assessment to identify energy savings potential as well as a NABERSNZTM self-assessment (NABERSNZTM is a rating tool that measures the energy performance of existing office buildings).
  4. Implementing the savings plan targeting 10 percent energy savings
  5. An optional step is for owners to further commit to getting a NABERSNZTM Certified Rating.

Greg Visser, EECA Business General Manager, says there has been wide interest in the Challenge before it has even launched.

“Out of our target of 25 buildings, we already have nine buildings geared up and committed to the Challenge which shows there is not only strong leadership within the property sector, but also a natural appetite to be more in control of their energy use.”

Microsoft New Zealand’s Public Sector Director, Jeff Healey, says that while building owners, managers and energy consultants have long been interested in improving efficiency, the Switch Automation platform will give them deeper insight into building energy use and the ability to make smart energy decisions.

“Typically it’s not just building owners who have a stake in the performance of a building, it’s also building managers, tenants, employees and visitors. We’re using technology to give everyone an accurate view of exactly what is happening, and when,” says Healey.

“When you combine that kind of high quality data with a collaborative approach like the Wellington Smart Buildings Challenge, which will help participants, learn from each other, the potential is very exciting.”

The Energy Management Association (EMANZ) will be managing the programme. EMANZ brings a wealth of energy management experience and networks that will help owners achieve the ultimate goal of reducing energy consumption.