Warren and Mahoney Architects: a carboNZero case study
Warren and Mahoney achieves the highest environmental standards for its buildings and sets a similar standard for its own environmental performance.
- carboNZero certified
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Warren and Mahoney Architects Limited is one of New Zealand’s most successful and highly acclaimed architectural practices. Warren and Mahoney has been practicing for over 50 years and have a wealth of experience in all types of architectural work from one-off housing designs to multi-million dollar developments for commercial developers and government clients. It has a reputation for high-quality award-winning work and for a continuing track record of innovation in design. It is also known for its commitment to sustainability, demonstrated in part by its carboNZero certification.
Sustainable design, sustainable practice
Warren and Mahoney was an early leader in the Building Industry’s move towards more environmentally sustainable building design and construction. After all, decisions made during the design stage have a significant impact on the environment and operating costs over the life of a building. This presents huge challenges but also huge opportunities to reduce the effect of the built environment on the natural environment. The right choices in the design stage reduce the impact of the building over its lifespan.
Warren and Mahoney continues to look at innovative ways to incorporate environmentally sustainable design principles into their building designs. Initial projects included developing minimum standards within their own organisation and involvement in several environmental pilot schemes. Warren and Mahoney knows this is an exciting time for architecture in New Zealand. Advancements in sustainable design technology, building science and passive design strategies are informing more holistic building and landscape designs. The industry is moving towards a more science led, performance based design and Warren and Mahoney maintains their position at the forefront of this by incorporating real-time performance analysis into their concept design process.
While Warren and Mahoney leads the way in designing environmentally sustainable buildings for the future, they also wanted to inspire the sector and demonstrate low impacts with their own business operations. They realised that though they have minimal control over their leased office spaces, they could, however, change internal behaviours to reduce their environmental impacts. The first step was to measure those impacts so Warren and Mahoney could identify potential areas for reduction, and as Cheryl Kilpatrick explains, “the carboNZero programme allowed us to measure our impacts and set the right targets with confidence”.
carboNZero certification is a clear statement that Warren and Mahoney is considerate of its impact on the environment. It shows staff, clients, and other building professionals that their designs will have an extra dimension which will not only benefit them – but society as a whole.
Measure, Manage, and Maintain Momentum
Air travel is a key feature in Warren and Mahoney’s carbon footprint. As an architectural firm, sometimes being on site is crucial, but the company wanted to ensure staff are able to collaborate easily without having to travel. Technology can allow staff to work as “one office” nation-wide and talk face-to-face, but without having to travel. Though Warren and Mahoney has video conferenced for over ten years, these facilities were limited to specific rooms. Warren and Mahoney has kept pace with technology and upgraded their systems to now enable anyone to video conference from any room or desktop. This tool also enables video conferencing with external parties, so Warren and Mahoney can avoid unnecessary travel and emissions.
More than just a sustainability plan, environmental credentials are part of Warren and Mahoney’s overall business plan. They strive for excellence in everything they do and recognise the best way to measure performance is an independent audit using internationally recognised standards. carboNZero certification is a key component of Warren and Mahoney’s overall Integrated Management System (IMS) and is just one of the ways in which they can provide internationally recognised evidence that they walk the talk. For their IMS, Warren and Mahoney sought certification in compliance with ISO9001 (Quality), AS/NZS 4801 (Safety) and ISO 14001 (Environment). Warren and Mahoney’s sustainability work, including carboNZero certification to ISO 14064-1, meant they met the ISO requirements for the environmental portion of their IMS certification without further need of development.
Warren and Mahoney recognises that to be a truly sustainable organisation, it must be a companywide effort. From the board to the office junior, engagement is vital for success. Keeping momentum going can be challenging. Initially there will be easier wins as the first measurements highlight reduction targets. At the start of the project, a company has the most room to improve. Warren and Mahoney is committed to continue monitoring and making progress and has various ways of keeping staff apprised of projects and encouraging involvement in reduction projects. Monthly Green Group meetings include updates on work done by the practice, audits, architectural projects, and successes. Ongoing recognition, even of small wins, ensures the momentum is maintained.
Warren and Mahoney encourages those who haven’t yet started their sustainability journey to just start. Cheryl affirms that “The carboNZero programme team are so helpful; they want you to succeed so the process is actually much simpler than you would expect. And once you get underway it will get easier to collate the information because you know what to monitor and how to monitor it.”
For further information
Warren and Mahoney
P:+64 9 309 4894
carboNZero Certified organisations
This certification is awarded to companies that are measuring, reducing and offsetting their carbon footprint.
To achieve carboNZero certification, an organisation must measure their organisation’s full greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (also known as a carbon footprint) so they understand what their impact is on the global climate. They measure all operational emissions required under the international standard for carbon footprints, ISO 14064, including vehicles, business travel, fuel and electricity, paper, and waste. The emissions are measured annually and the inventory is independently verified to ensure it is accurate and complete. Once they have measured their footprint, the organisation must develop plans to manage and reduce their emissions continually. Each year, the organisation then offsets any remaining emissions through the purchase of verified carbon credits to achieve net zero emissions. As part of achieving carboNZero certification, the organisation needs to achieve emissions reductions on a five year cycle.