New website a ‘trailblazer’ for sustainable building

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Capturing data to measure the sustainability credentials of a neighbourhood is the focus of a new website launched yesterday as part of the continuing urban renewal of Wynyard Quarter.

Created by Ponsonby-based digital agency Method Studios, the online platform is believed to be the first of its kind in the country and is the first tangible output of an approach that will see the Auckland waterfront space become a smart precinct that communicates everything from energy use to air quality to the public.

The Wynyard Quarter Smart website is the first expression of the approach and captures and analyses data tied to ambitious sustainability targets for the area in building performance, climate change mitigation, resource efficiency, environmental quality, and transport.

Waterfront Auckland ceo John Dalzell says the approach is unprecedented in this country – in terms of scale and scope and the website’s ability to make the invisible visible – is a great first step.

“Influencing building owners, tenants and even visitors to the area to modify their behaviour in the interest of sustainability is no mean feat,” he said.

“But with a great design that brings Wynyard Quarter Smart to life, the website provides the right vehicle to make complex data sets easily digestible by everyone.”

Method’s Sam Ramlu says she’s proud to be involved in such an ambitious project by Waterfront Auckland.

“We are firm believers in the power of a web experience to inform and connect with the reader,” she said. “In the case of this project we were able to create a quasi-replication of the precinct using 3D imagery and drill down into the various inputs using clear visual cues as part of an overarching social change narrative for Wynyard Quarter.

“The dashboard experience is one that has huge potential not just on the Auckland waterfront but other similar urban regeneration projects.”

The first sets of data in the Wynyard Smart website come from live pedestrian data in public spaces and hardware and sensors in the recently refurbished character Lysaght building that will soon be tenanted and become a cornerstone for the Grid innovation precinct for Wynyard Quarter.

The information will be later supported by data as buildings and assets get constructed, and will eventually include data relating to spaces between the building such as air and water quality.

Government agency EECA Business has provided assistance to Waterfront Auckland for the website and on the wider Wynyard Quarter Smart project in the form of energy management strategy, monitoring and targeting, innovation and leadership, project implementation and design review.

The overview video was produced by SideProject and Method Studios:


(information supplied by Method, Waterfront Auckland, and EECA Business)

Wynyard Quarter Smart is an approach to the ongoing revitalisation of Wynyard Quarter which draws upon technology to measure and communicate performance against a number of precinct-wide sustainability targets in areas like energy use and building performance.

As part of an overarching objective to make the urban renewal of Wynyard Quarter an exemplar of sustainable city building, Waterfront Auckland created a revised Sustainability Development Framework in 2013.

The SDF 2013 builds on an earlier version from 2009 and draws on the output from discussions with sustainability industry experts and collaboration with organisations including The New Zealand Green Building Council and Auckland Council, to establish development expectations for future waterfront development projects.

The framework outlines five key strategies: high performance green buildings, renewable energy, sustainable transport, exemplar projects and adaptation to change.

7-star green rating

As an example one of the targets includes for commercial buildings to achieve a 5 star Green Building rating or higher while apartments must meet a minimum 7 star Home star rating.

Wynyard Quarter Smart is an approach on a much bigger scale than other similar initiatives for individual buildings or sites. It will also incorporates a much wider range of inputs in areas like public realm, air quality and transport that go far beyond what could be achieved by a private developer.

Its expected asset owners, such as developers and Auckland Council, will use the information to drive performance improvement and behaviour change and achieve greater efficiency and economies of scale.

International research suggests that energy consumption could be reduced through regular reporting and user engagement. In this way by making the information readily available to the wider public there is the possibility to influence behaviour change.

Other stakeholders such as tertiary institutions and research institutes are expected to use the information to learn more about city building and inform macro-economic decisions around infrastructure and development.


The data that underpins the Wynyard Quarter Smart approach comes from a number of different sources and in different ways. There will be static data such as surveys, and live data to come from building sensors and meters.

Waterfront Auckland’s recent refurbishment of the character Lysaght building provided an early opportunity to test the collection of data and has had installed with hardware and sensors as part of its upgrade.

It is fitting that the Lysaght building will be a cornerstone for the Grid Innovation precinct as the tenants, high-tech businesses at the early stage of growth, are more inclined to have an interest in Wynyard Quarter Smart and there may even be opportunities where by those businesses create new technologies or applications to communicate data in the future.

Wynyard Quarter Smart is an evolutionary initiative that requires buy-in from stakeholders and key players in the precinct both public and private. As part of its growth Waterfront Auckland will be implementing a comprehensive publicity campaign to invite people to be part of the movement – and provide data to enrich the wider picture.

We are actively working with other parties such as Auckland Transport to secure other data feeds, and working with other external advisors such as EECA to design monitoring programmes to allow us to fully report against all the SDF targets.

The Wynyard Quarter Smart website

The Wynyard Quarter Smart website is the first portal or channel to convey sustainability development data in an easily accessible and digestible way.

A key objective through the creation of the website is to create a tangible and visual representation of all the different facets of sustainable city building.

As such, it draws upon 3D animation to bring the precinct alive and highlights different categories or “worlds” of sustainability development.

The first sets of data in the website come from live pedestrian data in public spaces and hardware and sensors in the recently refurbished character Lysaght building. The information will be later supported by data as buildings and assets get constructed, and will eventually include data relating to spaces between the building such as air and water quality.

The built environment and public spaces in Wynyard Quarter will be used as an additional backdrop and channel to convey data using signage and advanced AV technology.

Other Smart Precinct initiatives include a strategic carbon initiative with EECA and a social change research partnership with Dr Rebecca Ford at Otago University.

How is Waterfront Auckland involved?

Waterfront Auckland embraces bold and innovative ideas and as a publically owned land development agency is in unique position to demonstrate sustainable design, development and operation in all projects delivered on public land.

Wynyard Quarter provides the perfect opportunity as brown field site to deliver on these aspirations and create a thriving mixed-use community that measures, analyses and interprets a wealth of information collected from sustainable buildings and infrastructure to create a resilient and sustainable urban environment.

Why and how is EECA Business involved?

Waterfront Auckland is partnering with EECA Business to deliver a series of work programmes focussed on energy efficiency aspirations for the area.

  • Energy Management Strategy – which includes an Energy Management Programme for our own assets as well as annual review of our progress across the whole WQ
  • Monitoring and Targeting – Supporting the use of sensors and meters in buildings to measure energy performance
  • Innovation and Leadership – which includes our Wynyard Quarter Smart initiative
  • Project Implementation – which includes NABERS ratings for Lysaght
  • Design Review – which includes support for reviewing our development partners designs
  • Communications

A three year agreement with EECA Business is set to provide financial support for Waterfront Auckland sustainability initiatives with a focus on energy efficiency.

EECA Business will work with Waterfront Auckland to deliver an energy saving of 5.8 Gigawatt hours by the end of year three agreement, with further energy savings of 3.8 GWh each year from 2019 onwards.

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