Pacific Environments (PENZL) are recognized as one of the leading architectural practices in New Zealand in the field of environmentally sustainable and environmentally regenerative design. Their philosophy is in the practical and appropriate application of ESD to suit a project brief and budget.


Sustainable design and development is maintaining a delicate balance between the human need to improve lifestyles and feeling of well-being, and preserving the natural resources and ecosystems on which we, and future generations, will depend. Sustainability in architecture is an expansive area and can range from 'big picture' site selection and building orientation, to solar panels and passive ventilation / heating through to high tech smart building technology and energy conservation

We are all increasingly  aware  of the impact  building  construction and building usage has on the environment. Environmentally Sustainable and Environmentally Regenerative Design is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles and  objectives of social, economic, and ecological sustainability or regeneration.


These principles in essence seek to not just eliminate negative environmental impact but provide positive environmental impact through skillful, sensitive design, while engendering a shift in behaviour and encouraging long-term relationships between user and object/service.


Wherever possible measures should be investigated early on in the design process, including the preliminary planning, as they will influence (among other things) site selection and utilization, materials and finishes selection, spatial orientation (towards sun and wind), hours of operation, and optimal sizes of space.


Our philosophy behind Environmentally Sustainable Design, which as a label is easily misrepresented, is simply good design. Good design however is not always simple to recognize or measure. Fundamentally buildings should behave passively and operate comfortably under different circumstances and climate with ideally no non-renewable energy input. Generally this requires excellent day light levels to all areas, similarly natural ventilated spaces with opening windows, effective insulation, an appropriately shaded building envelope and suitable orientation to north.


Materials should be robust, low maintenance and to the highest environmental standard available.

Today we can literally measure the advantages of sustainability and energy savings through our in-house accredited GreenStar and LEEDS specialists and systems. There are various tools and frameworks available to assist clients, designers and contractors raise the bar in sustainability of the built environment. These include:


This is a NZ Green Building Council Design and Built tool that sets out a range of key criteria, which if met establish; Good (4 star), Best (5 star) and International Best Practice (6 star) practice in terms of the environmental performance of new and major building refurbishments. Green Star has driven incremental change in the market and by doing less harm to the environment.


Certification to 4, 5 or 6 Green Stars can be gained on the Design and/or the Built project.


The Net Zero Energy Program and Certification is an aspirational but less onerous Certification to drive Net Zero Energy Performance. Based on the Living Building Challenge, the project must achieve some conditional imperatives from that challenge and annually produce as much energy as it consumes.


NABERS is a rating system developed in Australia that measures the environmental performance of buildings, tenancies and homes. Put simply, NABERS measures the energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and indoor environment quality of a building or tenancy and its impact on the environment.


It does this by using measured and verified performance information, such as utility bills and converting them into an easy to understand star rating scale from one to six stars. For example, a 6 star rating demonstrates market-leading performance, while a 1 star rating means the building or tenancy has considerable scope for improvement.


For over ten years, NABERS has helped property owners, managers and tenants in Australia to improve their sustainability performance, reaping financial benefits and building their reputation and has now been introduced in to New Zealand for use in office buildings.


This is an international program for restorative buildings and asks the question of the project team; what if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place?


LBC is a challenging standard designed to create a step change in our buildings. Organised in seven Petal areas with twenty imperatives, it requires all twenty to be met including; net zero energy and net zero water, no toxic materials allowed and full daylight and fresh air.

  • LBC drives design solutions that create a fully sustainable or restorative building, landscape or neighbourhood.

  • Achieving LBC certification easily meets and mostly exceeds the key guiding principles as well as encompassing a high degree of social sustainability, education and beauty.

  • Performance Based Certification is permitted only after the building has been occupied for a minimum of 12 months.

  • Petal certification is an option if full certification is not required or attainable. To achieve this as a minimum Net Zero Water or Net Zero Energy must be achieved.

  • Living Building Challenge Certification does require a 20-40% increase in construction cost but has a 12 to 20 year payback with zero water and power costs and low maintenance systems.

  • NET Zero Energy – costs and savings approximately 13 year payback at current rates

  • NET Zero Water – costs and savings approximately 15 years payback at current rates.


PENZL have been designing buildings for over 40 years that have won environmental awards and pioneered innovative aspects of Environmentally Sustainable Design.



Within PENZL several architects including associate Dr. Hugh Byrd (PhD Environmental Architecture) are New Zealand GreenStar and HomeStar accredited with Dr. Hugh Byrd also having extensive experience in BREEAM. Dr. Hugh Byrd is a registered architect we have worked with for a number of years and we have an exclusive arrangement with him to continue working together on projects, as appropriate.

Contact us at to get in touch with Dr. Hugh Byrd.



PENZL design and have completed buildings that make extensive use of renewable energy technology and passive design techniques to reduce energy consumption. Where necessary, PENZL work closely with experienced engineering consultants to enhance the project.



PENZL have experience in designing buildings that achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating which is equivalent to a NZ GreenStar 6 rating.  Their own studio which they designed achieved a 4.5 star “Nabers” energy rating which is considered “Excellent”


“Let every individual and institution now think and as a responsible trustee of the earth, seeking choices in ecology, economics and ethics that will provide a sustainable future, eliminate pollution, poverty and violence, awaken the wonder of life, and foster peaceful progress in the human adventure.” – John McConnell, Founder of International Earth Day.