A lot of careful thought has gone into Ceres Organics headquarters at 82 Carbine Road in Auckland, the increased investment in time and money ensuring a more sustainable approach. The level of commitment is fitting for a company that prides itself on sustainable business practice.
In 2013 the derelict building on the site was disassembled. A lot of the steel and concrete was reused in the build. Among other things the new building features a rainwater collection system, low water usage fittings and a solar hot water system. The building design delivers natural ventilation and daylight, with high windows that release rising heat. A fully automated building management system monitors lighting, carbon dioxide levels, water and energy usage. Carpet is made from recycled materials and is low in Volatile Organic Compounds, which have been shown to be potentially harmful to health.
Dominic Leverton is Ceres Organics facilities manager.
“For us it’s about walking the talk and being a market leader in our field. We haven’t formally reviewed productivity since being in the new building. But overall employee satisfaction has increased from the feedback that we have received.”
The site is base for 100 staff. They benefit from a layout that incorporates lots of plants and a variety of working spaces. There are plenty of standing and open areas, both indoor and outdoor. In the fully equipped staff kitchen you’ll find free organic fruit stands and a soft plastic recycling initiative.
Dominic explained how learning how to use the new building efficiently has been part of the process.
“When we first moved in the air conditioning was set to automatic. It would constantly go on and off throughout the day when really not needed, so power usage was really high. By switching the office air conditioning to manual it is only turned on in extreme heat or cold, allowing windows to open and close controls automatically. This made a large difference to our power usage.”
The team has also continued to tweak the original building design. For example, the upgrading of the walk-in chiller fan motors to more energy efficient electric ones cut power usage by 15%. This was a big saving, as the chillers are responsible for up to half the building’s total power use. The new equipment will pay for itself within three years.
Staff at the office have noticed a significant change too.
John Quach, Finance Manager, says: “We now have natural light and air flow from the managed building system. It's a cleverly planned open office space which reduces noise pollution, making a huge difference. The green wall, additional plants, casual meeting areas and ergonomic office furniture have made it a much better work environment.”
Supplementing the new surroundings is a dedicated room for yoga, stretching and staff massages.
Therapists come each week to provide free massages. The staff share the site with the inhabitants of five worm bins that recycle organic lunch waste into compost. There are also 12 bee hives that breed queen bees for relocation elsewhere, as well as providing a jar of honey for each staff member at Christmas.
Would you like to work in a smarter office? Check out our Smart Office Guide for practical steps that you can begin work on right now.