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New Zealand’s first Living Building Challenge

24 March 2014

New Zealand’s first Living Building Challenge

Te Uru Taumatua, was officially opened last Saturday 8 March.

Commissioned by the Tūhoe Iwi and designed by Jasmax, Te Uru Taumatua will act as the controversial tribe’s central headquarters. As one of New Zealand’s most advanced sustainable buildings, the Tūhoe building sets a precedent in terms of sustainability.

Te Uru Taumatua has been built to meet the International Living Building Institute’s ‘Living Building’ stringent criteria. Designed to restore its surroundings, the headquarters will not only reduce its impact on its local surroundings, it will actually give back. Requiring a building that is triple net zero (water, waste and energy), and whose built elements adhere to strict toxicity parameters, the Living Building Challenge is formidable. The building must evidence its compliance with the Challenge’s requirements before it can apply for Certification; the next step towards the project’s completion.

In keeping with the Living Building low toxicity requirements – the building’s exterior skin features Abodo Wood’s low toxicity, high durability “Elements Cladding”. This is the first commercial application of the locally made, patented cladding system.

The decking area surrounding the building is decked with Elements Sand+ Decking, pre-finished in Elements Protector – a plant based exterior oil.

Importantly for the Tūhoe, the wood fibre used for the production of these products was sourced from their own forest: Kaingaroa. In approximately 12 months’ time, the Tūhoe will learn whether their new building will be the first Living Building in New Zealand.


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