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Turanga, Christchurch’s central library, has achieved a 5 Green Star rating from the NZGBC – one of just a few public buildings in New Zealand to do so – Photos courtesy of Christchurch City Council

Eco-friendly design earns Turanga a 5-star rating

The awards and accolades keep coming for Christchurch’s central library, Turanga. The five-storey building, which sits on the edge of Cathedral Square, has become one of the few public buildings in New Zealand to be awarded a 5 Green Star (custom design certified rating) from the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC).

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The award is recognition of the building’s eco-friendly design and shows that it exceeds best-practice benchmarks in a range of areas, including energy and water use, indoor environment quality, use of sustainable materials, reduced ecological impact and reduced emissions.

Carolyn Robertson, Christchurch City Council head of libraries and information, says Turanga was designed with both people and the environment in mind. “We wanted it to be a place for people, but we also wanted it to have minimal impact on the environment. Our goal was to create a sustainable building with a low carbon footprint that was both architecturally striking and welcoming,” she says.

“The NZGBC rating we have just been given, along with the architectural awards we’ve received over the past two years, suggests that we achieved that. We are very proud to have such an exemplary building in the heart of the city as the centrepiece of our library network.”

A commitment to energy efficiency

Since Turanga opened in October 2018, it has won the Supreme Award at the Property Council New Zealand’s Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards, along with the Warren and Mahoney Civic and Arts Property Award; the Civic category award at the New Zealand Commercial Project Awards; the New Zealand Society of Earthquake Engineering’s Seismic Resilience Award for Design to Achieve Low Damage; the Structural Engineering Society of New Zealand’s Supreme Award; and the Institution of Structural Engineers’ Award for Structures in Extreme Conditions.

Last year it was also named as one of four finalists for the 2019 International Federation of Library Associations/Systematic Public Library of the Year Award.

Christchurch City Council has set itself the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. It has a resource efficiency and greenhouse gas emission policy, as well as a programme of work to help achieve that goal. Turanga is an example of the council’s commitment to being energy efficient and to reducing operational greenhouse gas emissions.


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