Could Living Infrastructure Help Buildings Gain Environmental Ratings?

Environment conservation concept

Architectural designs in New Zealand have evolved beyond the aspect of a building’s aesthetic appeal, as modern designs have combined green infrastructure with traditional methods such as textured cladding systems.

Otherwise known as living infrastructure, this key feature of buildings serves as a good way to earn sustainability ratings, such as Living Building Challenge (LBC) ratings.

Environment-Friendly Projects

Some examples of sustainable designs include the Te Kura Whare project, which earned the LBC Living Certified rating. Part of the structure’s environmental appeal includes an efficient management of storm water, which flows into a 3,000-cubic metre on-site storage facility that then recycles it for other purposes.

Another project involves the Camp Glenorchy near Queenstown. The guest accommodation property recently became the first site of its kind to be compliant with the LBC standards, due in part to its net-zero energy use. Camp Glenorchy founder Paul Brainerd said that the camp ground’s solar garden, as well as the energy-efficient lighting and building designs, allowed it to achieve the LBC-certified status.

Sustainability Benefits

Multi-functionality serves as a distinct benefit of living infrastructure in buildings, compared to “grey” infrastructure. The latter normally focuses on just one key aspect, such as indoor air quality, storm water run-off management or energy conservation.

Green infrastructure, however, delivers all these benefits at the same time, making it a more sensible choice for building designers. Retail shops, offices and schools should consider this type of design to save on energy and maintenance costs.

When planning the design for a building project, it makes more sense to consider the structure’s environmental impact. This will not only improve your chances of gaining coveted sustainability ratings, it will likewise save you money in the long-term.