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 D9112-01

WHILE the regional council building may seem continually under construction, when complete it is expected to be a leader in environmental building design.

Refurbishment on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Whakatane headquarters began in January 2018 and isn’t expected to be completed until June 2020, but staff expect it will be worth the wait.

Te Tuara manager Annabel Chappell said 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.

Ms Chappell said 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 said.

“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 Whakatane office is expected to accommodate 155 people.

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 $3 million on the project.