The coalition includes the chief executives of many SBN member organisations. They include Westpac, Fuji Xerox, Wellington City Council, Auckland Council, Opus International Consultants, Philips, Warren and Mahoney, Watercare, Jasmax and others.
The coalition was co-ordinated by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC). Participating organisations have committed to signing up to at least one of two energy efficiency measurement tools – NABERSNZ or Green Star Performance.
The group also intends to use this leadership position to pressure the government into doing more to support and promote building energy efficiency.
A joint statement says: “Our organisations together are worth billions of dollars. We employ tens of thousands of New Zealanders. We make a significant contribution to the national economy. We consume a significant amount of energy through the hundreds of buildings we own and occupy.
“Today, we are pleased to announce that we will be making a commitment to greatly improve the efficiency of our buildings, and slash the amount of energy we use. We are doing this for a number of reasons: to improve our environment; to cut running costs; to look after the health of our buildings and our employees; and, mostly, because it’s just simple common sense.
“It’s time for our economy to shift in the direction we are taking, to take a cleaner, smarter, healthier and more efficient direction. It’s time for all of New Zealand’s buildings to make the shift that we are making. We are calling on the Government to back our commitment. To benchmark their energy use. To encourage all New Zealand organisations to become more energy efficient.”
The participants own hundreds of buildings across New Zealand. All of them now look set to cut their energy use.
Andrew Eagles is chief executive of NZGBC. He says: “Energy efficient buildings are the future. And it’s great that dozens of New Zealand’s business leaders recognise this. New Zealand has been a laggard when it comes to energy efficient buildings. We’re decades behind most of the OECD. And that’s why this is a game-changing commitment.
“Making our buildings more energy efficient is a relatively cheap. It’s a brilliantly effective, fast way to tackle climate change. It has the huge bonus of slashing energy bills.
“It’s high time now for the Government to follow the lead of our top businesses. The first step would be to benchmark the energy efficiency of all the buildings they own or tenant. That would save more than $50 million of taxpayers’ money every year in energy bills. It would provide millions of dollars’ worth of productivity gains.”
Commercial buildings use just over 20 percent of New Zealand’s electricity. This costs businesses NZ$800 million every year.
Rachel Brown, CEO of SBN, says: “It’s awesome to see so many SBN members at the forefront of this. It’s a great move. It also dovetails with SBN's work on the Smart Office Guide and the Circular Economy Model Office. It's a further demonstration of how this shift in thinking is taking hold and the power of what we can achieve when we work together.”