This new fresh produce distribution centre, developed for Countdown, is located in Wiri, Auckland. The site includes a 2ha indoor floor area and will centralise Countdown's fresh product operations in Auckland. The temperature-controlled building is chilled in zones of 2 degrees for leafy vegetables, grapes and apples, 7 degrees for citrus and capsicums and 13 degrees for avocados, bananas, tomatoes and potatoes. There is also a large ripening area built specifically for avocados and bananas.
Originally a quarry which was a pit of 20m deep at some points, the land was filled over many years with the upper layers formed with material from the Waterview Tunnel. The building is linked to the adjacent Hilton Foods warehouse to the West via an air bridge. An automated conveyor within the air bridge delivers packaged meat products to the distribution centre, allowing trucks to be loaded with both veggies, fruit and meat at the same time - reducing carbon emissions and providing efficiencies of scale. The building needed to handle 350,000 crates of fresh produce at one time and will operate 24 hours a day seven days a week.
At its highest point the warehouse is 17m high with an internal ceiling height of up to 12m. At 200m long and 100m wide the main building is equivalent to 4 rugby fields. Keeping this two hectare fridge cool was a key component of the project with the building and energy systems designed for both performance and energy efficiency.
Greenstone Group were engaged at completion of the concept design which was then revisited with our input. The scope of the role carried out by Greenstone on this project includes design management, consultant procurement & management, main contractor procurement, local authority consenting, risk management, and construction administration.
The project targeted a 4 Star Green Star Built Certification using the new Green Star Design and As Built New Zealand v1.0 rating tool. It was the first time the tool had been used for a building of this type, and evaluated the environmental design and construction of the facility based on a number of criteria including energy and water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and resource conservation.
Careful selection and consideration was required for materials and plant selection, manufacture, construction, commissioning, handover and maintenance activities to ensure Countdown’s sustainability targets are reached.
Construction of a large solar array on the roof provides power to the site, as well as hybrid low-water usage refrigeration condensers, are just two examples of how Countdown reduced the facilities overall energy and water usage.
Practical completion was achieved in May 2022 with deferred works completed October 2022. Despite the affects of Covid lockdowns and delays the project go live date was only delayed by 6 weeks from the original date set in 2019. The client was exceptionally pleased with the project and delivery, stating that it exceeded expectations and that of the workmanship on some of their previously completed sites. This is a testament to the design and main construction teams.
The project completed Green Star 4 for Design. The building collects rainwater for non-drinking water use, has solar panels on the roof, operates a fleet of electric forklifts, and low energy and water-use condensers for cooling. The centre will offset about 183 tonnes of C02 a year.