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The Wellington Company's refurbishment of a purpose-built cinema complex into the headquarters for the Department of Conservation stands as a testament to sustainable building practices

Green light

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RETENTION OF staff is perhaps the greatest challenge facing employers everywhere. One way to ensure employee retention is to provide an environment in which staff can take some pride, and work comfortably.

When property developer The Wellington Company bought the Mid City complex the intention was to develop a flagship of environmentally sustainable building practices, and in the process create a desirable working environment, says director Ian Cassels.

Gill Consultants was then appointed as development manager to source tenants, initiate the concept design, and negotiate and manage the development.

"When you walk into Conservation House the air quality is astounding, you know you've stepped into something different. Even on that sub-conscious level we've created a quality perception amongst staff that relates back to retention," says Rasbeer Gill, director of Gill Consultants.

"In what was an audaciously strategic move we bought the building that DOC was in previously, with the intention of steering them towards setting up office in the former Mid City complex," says Cassels.

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The move paid off – the building's environmentally sustainable design practices were in keeping with where DOC itself was heading.

"Contributing to Conservation House's equivalent 5-star green rating is its central city location and utilisation of existing infrastructure. Any such building in a walkable city is going to be far more efficient than a comparable one in a city that isn't walkable. A city has to work on all levels, including the transportation of the people who work there, in order to sustain carbon-neutrality – or better," says Cassels.

For more information, contact The Wellington Company, Level 12, BNZ Trust House, 50 Manners St, Wellington, phone (04) 802 4291, fax (04) 802 4298. Website:www.thewellingtoncompany.co.nz . Or contact Gill Consultants, Level 8, BNZ Trust House, 50 Manners St, Wellington, phone (04) 384 6017, fax (04) 384 6047. Email: rasbeer@gillconsultants.co.nz.

First published date: 30 March 2007

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