A local businessman’s vision to create an environmentally-friendly and energy efficient commercial building has secured high honours at the prestigious New Zealand Commercial Projects Awards.
Judges awarded a silver medal for the Matakana Botanicals buildings, which house the premium ‘bath and body’ products company.
Judges praised the buildings, which comprise an office, café, store, still and honey house, for their emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency.
The buildings are the vision of Matakana Botanicals owner Danvers Devereux and were constructed by Matakana builder Gus McKergow and the team at Customkit – a company that specialises in natural wood homes and other buildings.
When he moved to Matakana, Danvers was faced with clearing a junkyard full of wrecks and rubbish and installing buildings that would showcase Matakana Botanicals natural products, made from renewable resources.
To that end, he wrote down a list of requirements to make the buildings as green as possible. But he was also eager for buildings that would ultimately save money. His list of features complete, he sketched some drawings of how the finished buildings would look.
The green features include timber from regenerating forests, which retains heat in winter but is cool in summer; solar panels; LED lighting; and an environmentally-friendly septic tank system where worms break down waste, rather than having it cleared away with electric pumps.
Danvers even went to the trouble of testing various paints on pieces of plywood in the sun – choosing those which best reflected heat to prevent timber from warping.
The buildings were sited to take best advantage of the sun, and solar panels charge a bank of lithium batteries. Energy is stored when the business is closed but can be utilized when it is open – an arrangement that has slashed power bills.
“We generate 90 per cent of our own electricity,” Danvers says.
The New Zealand Commercial Project Awards are organised by commercial contractors to promote excellence in building practices.