John Mauro, Auckland Council’s chief sustainability officer, has recently spoken about the benefits of green buildings in an interview with the New Zealand Herald.

Studies from around the world found that tenants find green buildings to be more enticing, this, in turn, has allowed for higher rents and sale prices. Studies have shown that green buildings are effective in improving productivity and mental cognition. “Our buildings can really help you to be healthier and more productive in lots of ways,” Mr Mauro added.

By using sustainable design practices, green buildings achieve lower carbon footprint and better energy efficiency, reducing up to 42 per cent energy use than a standard building. Additional benefits include improved indoor air quality, efficient resource usage, improved aesthetics and synergy with the surrounding landscape. Green buildings also aim to provide more livable space for people. “Sustainability can be about our natural environment, but it’s also about people,” he said in an interview with Our Auckland.

Mr Mauro explained that the council’s sustainability goals for Auckland were to reduce carbon emissions of 40 per cent by 2040, achieve zero waste by 2040 and increase public transport trips from $70m to $140m by 2022.

The 2013 census shows that just 6.5% of Aucklanders travelled to work by bus and only 1.8 per cent used trains. Planners have suggested the successful investment in public transport would help alleviate the congested roads in the morning hours and reduce carbon emissions further. It is an extension of the case he put forward in Auckland Sustainability Quarterly report, where he claims that green infrastructure could save Auckland millions.

In Auckland, 170 buildings had received green building certification, half of the green star rated sites located around the CBD taking up 10 per cent of downtown buildings.