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Wind turbine in building‘s $6.8m upgrade

CLEAN GREEN: Construction work on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Whakatane offices will make the building a leader in environmental design. - Photo: Charlotte Jones / LDR.

While the Bay of Plenty Regional Council building in Whakatāne may seem continually under construction, when completed it's expected to be a leader in environmental building design.

Refurbishment of the Whakatāne headquarters began in January 2018 and isn't expected to be completed until June 2020, but staff expect it will be worth the wait.

Property manager Annabel Chappell says because staff still occupied the building, the work was being completed in stages and the programme had been spread over a longer time period than if the building was vacant.

Annabel says the building refurbishment included the upgrade of all building systems, such as HVAC and lighting, as well as structural improvements and historical weather tightness issues.

"Council is demonstrating environmental leadership through incorporating environmentally sustainable design features into the building, including the installation of photovoltaic panels and a wind turbine," she says.

"When we are not using all of the power generated by them it will be fed back into the electricity grid. We'll have screens in our reception areas showing real-time data around energy used and energy produced."

Once completed, the Whakatāne office is expected to accommodate 155 staff. The regional council has achieved an increase in occupancy despite reducing the overall floor space by 20 percent from 3900 square metres to 3100m2.

The regional council has committed costs of $6.8 million to date and the project is expected to be completed within the approved budget.

At the end of the 2018/2019 financial year, the Regional Council had spent $3m on the project.

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Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the Newspaper Publishers' Association and NZ On Air.

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