Sustainable Coastlines Flagship Education Centre

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Posted 14 Feb 2017 13:28

In the heart of Auckland’s forward-thinking Wynyard Quarter precinct, charitable trust Sustainable Coastlines is about to open its Flagship Education Centre, which is aiming to become a certified Living Building with net zero water, waste and embodied energy.

As part of the project, Sustainable Coastlines co-founder and CEO Sam Judd says one of the aims was to develop a “beacon, a lighthouse”, somewhere people could go for inspiration about better ways of building a sustainable future, and somewhere to see the possibilities of green design.

Created as a purpose-built facility for Sustainable Coastlines to deliver its training programmes, Judd says it had to be a living building to fit in with the organisation’s values, which revolve around keeping our waterways clean and healthy.

“We are a bit behind the game in New Zealand. If you look overseas, in France, for example, by law every new commercial building has to either have a green roof or solar panels. We’re not at that stage in New Zealand yet but I think that will become the norm here too. From my perspective, we need to be making sensible investments now to pave the way to a sustainable future. We need people to lead that change.”

And that’s exactly what Judd, along with his team at Sustainable Coastlines, is doing with the Flagship Education Centre. Judd is keen to demonstrate to others what’s possible with regenerative design and he’s passionate about this project, which to comply with the Living Building Challenge (LBC) – the world’s most stringent regenerative building framework – was not a simple task.

But, he says, the rewards will be worth the hard work. “It’s about making sensible choices now to reap longer term gains for the environment and human health.”

To comply with the LBC, the project had to achieve net zero water, waste and energy. That meant materials had to be sourced within a certain radius of the site and re-used or salvaged where possible, many common construction products couldn’t be used due to their toxic components, and the building had to be designed to essentially ‘breathe’, minimising the use of any heating or cooling.

For Sustainable Coastlines, this meant many things but of the most interesting are the innovative roof systems chosen. The 450m2 building saw 85 per cent of materials by weight salvaged, with strategic choices made about where to use new materials. One of those choices was the innovative Nuraply 3PM Pure White Air Cleaning Membrane, which was donated for the project by flat roofing specialists Nuralite and used in conjunction with Nuralite’s Nuratherm Warm Roof System.

Nuraply 3PM Pure White roofing membrane used in conjunction with the Nuratherm Warm Roof system incorporates a layer of insulation reducing the roof’s surface temperature while at the same time decomposing airborne pollutants into non-toxic by-products when combined with sunlight. The mineral finish of Nuraply 3PM is coated with a special type of titanium dioxide, which, when exposed to UV rays, acts as a catalyst and converts nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides into harmless and neutral substances that are washed away by rainwater. The Flagship Education Centre has a 450m2 footprint. Every 1,000m2 of Nuraply 3PM offsets the equivalent amount of nitrogen oxide pollution produced by 100 cars in a year. The Nuraply 3PM product its self is made from the by-product of the petrochemical process that would otherwise be destined for landfill.

“This is regenerative design in action,” Judd says. “The bituminous material removes nitrous oxide, sulphur oxide and carbon dioxide converting it into an inert material safe to wash down the drain.”

“It’s well known that Auckland has a significant issue with air pollution due to Aucklanders’ dramatic levels of car use. It is shortening people’s lives and is a human health issue. In my opinion, this is a critically urgent issue that needs to be dealt with. We need to be using more solutions like the Nuraply 3PM Warm Roof and green roof systems and working towards a sustainable future for building.”

Nuralite has been importing the European-designed Nuraply 3PM roofing membrane into New Zealand for three years, although the technology was first developed about ten years ago and is starting to be used more widely in Europe. As a New Zealand owned and operated company, Nuralite are proud of the reputation they’ve developed working on innovative projects such as this one, and offer a range of sustainable waterproofing systems.

The Flagship Education Centre is composed of two areas; the first part of the building is a repurposed showhome donated by one of Sustainable Coastlines’ partners. The house was designed and built as a temporary structure and not with building consent in mind, being used to showcase smart home products. It was donated to Sustainable Coastlines for the project and was repurposed to achieve building consent by waterproofing the structure with a Nuralite Warm Roof with a continuous R-Value of 4.05.

The other part of the project is made up of former shipping containers and a toilet block, in which composting toilets have been installed. Judd says composting toilets need regulated air to help with the composting process so the decision to use the Nuralite Warm Roof system to provide extra insulation was the obvious choice.

But on this part of the building, Sustainable Coastlines have done something a little bit different. They’ve combined the innovative technology of the Nuralite Warm Roof and pollution-removing membrane with a LiveRoof®  – an innovative living, green roof designed by Stormwater360, and achieved a remarkable outcome.

“Combined, the roof systems on this part of the building are removing pollutants and toxins from the air and providing an extended level of insulation. It’s a match made in heaven really and it looks amazing too,” Judd says. “People need to be surrounded by nature, by plants and trees, to feel good. Especially in the city where there is so much concrete.”

For Judd, this a significant step on the path towards a sustainable future and he hopes the waterfront building will in fact shine as a beacon, guiding people in a more positive direction.

The Flagship Education Centre is due to open in February 2017 and is located in the Wynyard Quarter on the corner of Beaumont and Madden streets. Visit Nuralite on ArchiPro here to learn more about their innovative range of waterproofing systems.

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