Taranaki Base Hospital’s new net-zero renal unit officially opens

Designed to holistically enhance patient care and wellbeing, Taranaki Base Hospital’s new renal unit Te Huhi Raupō also packs a big climate-conscious punch. A world leader for energy-efficient low carbon design, the building is an extraordinary step towards future sustainable healthcare and a decarbonised built environment in Aotearoa.

The unit was officially opened by Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Ayesha Verral on Tuesday afternoon. Te Whatu Ora and Taumaruroa (made up of mana whenua Ngāti Te Whiti and the 8 Iwi of Taranaki) welcomed patients, members of parliament and key project stakeholders with a pōwhiri, followed by a tour of the unit. 

Our Building Services and Sustainable Buildings teams were excited to celebrate this significant milestone, as well as the exceptional social, environmental and economic outcomes the project has achieved. 

A ‘home away from home’ for dialysis patients receiving regular and lengthy dialysis treatments, the 806m2 building feels more like a clinic or retreat than a hospital. Featuring ocean views, cultural design elements, and careful consideration of privacy, air quality, natural lighting, acoustic and thermal performance – the unit creates an optimal environment for patient wellbeing and recovery. 

Te Huhi Raupō is one of the first healthcare buildings internationally to target Zero Energy and Zero Carbon Certifications - a leading, internationally recognised environmental certification provided via the International Living Future Institute. This means that over a year, net total energy will be neutral. Upfront carbon emitted to the end of construction is also matched by carbon sequestered in the predominantly timber structure. 

Ben Masters – Beca Sustainable Buildings Manager says the building has shifted the expectations of what is possible in healthcare. 

“Healthcare buildings are typically the most carbon intensive in New Zealand and combust fossil fuel for heat generation. Te Huhi Raupō is an exemplary response to traditional design - it significantly reduces lifecycle carbon, enhances resilience, reduces hospital operating costs, and delivers a vastly improved user experience.” 

"This project demonstrates that net zero is viable for healthcare buildings and in fact, the entire building sector.” 

The net zero energy results were driven by a holistic three-part strategy developed by our Sustainable Buildings team that incorporated best practice energy-efficient design, renewable energy generation, and avoidance of fossil fuel combustion. The use of locally sourced, mass timber also resulted in extraordinary carbon outcomes.  

“Sustainability, adapting to climate change and resilience to natural disaster have been key components in the approach this project has taken to the redevelopment of the hospital” says Jesse Jardine, Programme Director. 

“It’s been fantastic working with Beca’s Sustainable Buildings team. When you consider the difference this new unit will make to the patient experience, and the ability of our doctors and nurses to provide the best healthcare they can, this achievement is particularly special.”   

Beca is proud to be part of a project that is helping to mitigate climate effects and create a more equitable, resilient, and healthy future for our communities.


See also March 2023