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Antarctica’s newest building goes green

The colour of the new Scott Base may not be decided, but one thing is clear – the building will be green.

Antarctica New Zealand, together with the New Zealand Green Building Council, has developed a custom Green Star tool to measure the sustainability of the new Scott Base.

“Antarctica New Zealand is committed to minimising its environmental impact in Antarctica and upholding the principles of the Antarctic Treaty System,” says Antarctica New Zealand Chief Executive Sarah Williamson.

“We have chosen to have an independent review of the Scott Base redevelopment so that we can maximise the opportunities to design, construct and operate the new base in an efficient and sustainable way.”

Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, and driest continent on the planet. The new sustainable accreditation scheme for the rebuild factors in the harsh realities of building and operating in the Antarctic environment. 

Antarctica New Zealand is aiming for a five-star, New Zealand excellence, rating. 

“An independent accreditation of sustainable design and construction is a key requirement of the redevelopment project. This validates the commitment Antarctica New Zealand has to protecting the environment”, says Simon Shelton, Scott Base Redevelopment Senior Project Manager.

“The new Green Star custom tool encourages the use of more sustainable materials, reduced waste, and more efficient systems designed to lower energy use. It promotes practices that would lower the new base’s contribution to climate change and enhances the health and wellbeing of the people living and working at Scott Base, some for up to 13 months before returning to New Zealand.”

New Zealand Green Building Council Chief Executive Andrew Eagles says the way humans construct and operate buildings is impacting the planet and contributing significantly to climate change. 

“It has been great to work with Antarctica New Zealand to help ensure their new home at Scott Base responds to this issue and has as little impact as possible.

“We’ve now got a framework to help Antarctica New Zealand limit their contribution to the emissions that threaten its precious environment and wildlife, and create a comfortable, practical and efficient space for people to work and live in”, he says.

Antarctica New Zealand will present the custom tool at the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) Virtual Conference this week during the ‘Antarctic Station Modernization Symposium’. The redevelopment design is expected to be rated against the Green Star tool in 2021.

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