Sustainable Design

“Sustainability can’t be like some sort of moral sacrifice or political dilemma or a philanthropic cause. It has to be a design challenge.”
— Bjorke Ingels, Architect

We see sustainable design not as an add-on, or box ticking exercise, but as fundamental and intrinsic to good design.

Humans are currently consuming, on average, four times as many resources as the earth can supply. 
The built environment and construction industry make up a significant proportion of this excessive consumption.

Through sustainable design, the environmental impact of a building can be reduced in terms of energy and water use, the construction materials used, and the way in which it fits with the aims of a greater sustainable city.

1. Master Planning & Sustainable Development Frameworks

Sustainable Development extends from the buildings through to the neighbourhood and precincts, with the application of ESD principles to the greater urban environment. We can produce long-term sustainable masterplans, including strategies for neighbourhoods or campuses, based on site infrastructure and cost benefit analyses.

2. Integrated Whole Building Design Facilitation

The concept of ‘integrated, whole building design’ brings the design team, the contractor and the future building users together, throughout the design process, to ensure a co-ordinated, fit-for-purpose design. We’ve acted as facilitator for integrated design workshops where all parties combine to progress the design, and as co-ordinator for each interested party’s ideas.

Sustainable Design requires a much more holistic and interactive design approach, which involves all the design team members and client stakeholders. It needs a systems approach - that is, an approach that considers how multiple complex issues and different values, including people and environment, are closely & dynamically intertwined. By being inclusive & understanding, we identify and then join all the dots to capture the opportunities offered by a project, to provide real sustainable outcomes.

Adopting an Integrated Sustainable Design Process (ISD) has significant advantages for integrating a high level of sustainability into a project. In effect, sustainability is woven into the DNA of the project with input and buy–in from all stakeholders. 

Design opportunities will be explored and developed jointly, during the various design stages. The design process recognises the interconnectedness of the various design disciplines, which will help to integrate the architecture and ancillary disciplines as the design develops. Integrated Sustainable Design (ISD) - that ensures excellent collaboration to identify and solve the sustainability question.

The key tenants are the 3 E’s: ‘Everything,  Everyone, and Early’ - on and around the table.

ISD is an inclusive process - a series of expertly facilitated design workshops for the design team, the client and key stakeholders.
This first critical session brings all players together to a shared understanding of sustainability, and ensures they are briefed on key project inputs and requirements.

CFD Modelling - ASB Waterfront Theatre - by Sarah Daniell / eCubed Building Workshop

“Sustainability is no longer about doing less harm. It’s about doing more good.”
— Jocken Zeitz, Strategist

‘Environmental Principles’ Drawing by David Fullbrook / eCubed Building Workshop


‘Marine Events Centre - Environmental Principles - Drawings by David Fullbrook / eCubed Building Workshop


3. Passive Design

A ‘fabric first’ approach in the early design stages ensures a building is optimised towards passive performance. This is essential in making sure the building works as well as possible passively before adding active systems. This saves energy and money over the life of the building.

4. Facade Analysis

The facade is where the internal and external environments meet. It is therefore critical to balance the heat gains from the sun with the heat losses through the glass. Using 3D and CFD computer modelling we can assess the performance of a variety of facade types and use this information to inform the building’s design.

5. Natural Ventilation

Using the outdoor air to condition a building can result in large energy savings, but requires careful consideration at the design stage. Computer simulation, including CFD, can analyse airflows to ensure the right amount of ventilation while accounting for potential pitfalls like noise and overheating.

6. Environmentally Friendly Materials Selection

Environmentally friendly materials are those that have a less harmful impact on the environment during their manufacture, use and end of life. The right selection of materials used in the interior of a building can help with achieving good indoor environmental quality, which can improve productivity of staff and minimise the risk of sick building syndrome.