Camp Glenorchy shares healthy construction materials list online
The project team responsible for New Zealand’s first ‘net zero energy’ visitor accommodation is openly sharing the list of healthy building materials it used in the construction of Camp Glenorchy – due to open in March 2018 – to promote and encourage the use of sustainable building materials and products.
Camp Glenorchy, a new model for sustainable tourism constructed at the top of Lake Wakatipu in Central Otago, is striving to meet stringent Living Building
Challenge (LBC) construction criteria. The LBC is one of the most rigorous and aspirational sustainability standards in the world.
To comply with LBC’s guidelines, for the past three years the design and construction team have made a dedicated effort to source and use materials and
products that contain only healthy non-toxic ingredients.
“It’s been a huge task,” says Auckland-based sustainability consultant Tricia Love. “Our commitment to the LBC criteria and avoiding toxic materials means
we have spent thousands of hours researching the content and manufacture of building materials and products to eliminate the ‘red list’ of chemicals
and products – those ‘worst in class’ – from the building materials used at Camp Glenorchy.”
Transparency and education
Tricia says the screening process was made easier by referencing the International Living Future Institute’s Declare programme for certified products.
“We looked at hundreds of products currently on the market, and about 460 materials have been fully researched to date; 330 products found to be ‘LBC
compliant’ are now listed on Camp Glenorchy’s Materials Register which is available online. These materials have all been researched, trialled and
used during the construction of Camp Glenorchy.”
Camp Glenorchy’s commitment to LBC philosophies of transparency means that any products used on the project that are not compliant with the LBC red list
are also included on the register.
In some cases, due to the availability or lack of alternate options, non-compliant materials needed to be used. In the spirit of transparency and education,
where a chosen material is considered not compliant (i.e. contains red list chemicals or there is incomplete documentation) the reason is given along
with an explanation about why it was used on the project.
Tricia believes this is the first time an LBC building has posted its materials list online in New Zealand, and hopes the initiative will encourage other
project teams to follow suit.
“Sourcing this information is extremely time-consuming, which means projects like these are often put in the too-hard basket. We hope that by having made
this investment and openly sharing this information, we will make it easier for others to use healthy, non-toxic materials in their own construction
projects,” she says.
“Armed with this kind of information, we hope to inspire and empower others to avoid toxic materials and build the next generation of healthy buildings.”
Creating the Camp Glenorchy Materials Register has already spurred positive action with some suppliers, who have changed their products to make them healthier
“A couple of suppliers we approached not only welcomed the enquiry, but surprised at what we found, took steps to remove toxic ingredients from their products
and reformulated them for good health,” says Tricia. “They’ve discovered new markets for their healthy-formulated products and we’re proud to have
used them in our buildings.”
The Camp Glenorchy Materials Register is easy to use and will be updated regularly. It is free to access online.