Community Planting Event Leads Way in Building for Sustainability

Blonde Environment Canterbury worker plants sapling in a garden area on construction site focused on building for sustainability

Explore building for sustainability through community planting days that promote a circular economy and restore biodiversity post-construction.

Greening the Future with Sustainable Planting Event on New Construction Site

Cantabrians rightfully expect their regional environmental protection authority to lead by example in sustainable building practices. That is why it is positive to see Environment Canterbury (ECan) committed to green building initiatives by coordinating a community planting event at Corcon's construction site in Kainga.

The day brought ideal weather conditions, as low-lying clouds over North Canterbury created a practical backdrop for the community planting day. The primary objective was to re-propagate the landscape disturbed during the construction of ECan's new purpose built office building and depot.

ECan staff convene for a comprehensive safety briefing prior to embarking on landscape revitalisation near an active construction zone.

Enhancing Biodiversity and Community Spirit

Over fifty kaimahi (staff) donned boots and garden gloves to participate in the green initiative. Under the guidance of Russell Keetley, Senior Project Manager for ECan, the workers enthusiastically planted hundreds of grasses, shrubs and trees. And what better way to wrap up the day's work than with a steaming sausage sizzle shared amongst colleagues?

With Christmas right around the corner, the festive spirit was palpable. Participants sported 'Ho Ho Ho' printed shirts and glittering reindeer headbands, adding a touch of seasonal cheer to the occasion. Laughter filled the air, reflecting the camaraderie among the participants.

Eager workers indulge in a hearty sausage sizzle following a day of planting native flora around the new ECAN office building.

Promoting a Circular Economy Through Green Initiatives

Stephen Fitzgerald, director of Corcon, expressed his genuine enjoyment of the planting event, noting its significance in marking a positive beginning for Environment Canterbury in their new purpose built office building.

Fitzgerald emphasised Corcon's commitment to sustainability in construction with the following statement.

"Our mission is to become more sustainable builders. Reviving nature post-construction promotes a circular economy and reduces environmental degradation caused by commercial construction projects. Building for sustainability wherever possible is an essential aspect of responsible commercial development."
An ECan worker, donning garden gloves, carefully plants a vibrant cypress in freshly turned earth.

Environment Canterbury New Office Showcases Building for Sustainability

Having overseen the construction of Environment Canterbury's new purpose built office building, Fitzgerald highlighted the project's features, including its double-storey design spanning 835 square meters and a spacious six-door garage. The bespoke design prioritised functionality and eco-friendliness, echoing Environment Canterbury values.

When asked how businesses can prioritise building for sustainability, Fitzgerald stressed the importance of integrating green design principles during the planning phase. He also emphasised the need for specialist construction advice that balances building for sustainability with affordability. Businesses will achieve greater long-term value by engaging a commercial construction expert who can bolster a project's green rating.

Recognising the environmental impact of construction, Fitzgerald underscored the significance of reintroducing native flora to restore biodiversity and enhance the mauri (essence) of the taiao (environment).

ECan workers add a touch of New Zealand's native beauty to the landscape of a Coresteel Buildings project during the final stages of construction.

Fostering Environmental Responsibility and Community Bonds

Honouring the land's heritage and significance to Ngāi Tahu was vital to ECan's new office project, and several events were organised to mark important milestones. Before construction commenced, Environment Canterbury officials and local mana whenua gathered to conduct a ceremonial land blessing, grounding the project in a rich cultural context.

After construction, a second ceremonial blessing was undertaken before a grand opening and ribbon cutting was held to officially welcome kaimahi and thank all those involved in the project's success. Fitzgerald commended Corcon's building team for their dedication to the project's completion by Christmas. He noted, "It is remarkable what can be achieved in a short timeframe when you have a hardworking building crew with a can-do attitude and a strong willingness to find solutions."

Green initiatives, such as community planting events, help promote a circular economy, restore biodiversity, and strengthen social bonds. The ECan project serves as a model for sustainable construction, demonstrating that with thoughtful planning and community involvement, it is possible to build a greener future.

Corcon director Stephen Fitzgerald shares a laugh with ECan's Senior Project Manager Russell Keetley and Harry Brand from Civil and Land Construction

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