WWOOFing it Up in Kiwiland: organic farming in New Zealand 2012

3 years later and life brings me back to New Zealand. This time for a longer period, for a different purpose, with a different outlook on life than last time. I hope what transpires from a few years of travelling as far and as wide as possible across this beautiful country is a basic but decent knowledge and experience in organic farming, self sustainable living, and food production. Come and join me, there's loads of room in the car.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Waitakere City Council's 4 green star building: there's always a story and if you can't find it, you're not looking hard enough...

This morning, a lovely man called Mark, took me on a one-person tour at the Waitakere City Council building; there's always a story, and if you can't find it, you're not looking hard enough...or walking with your eyes shut...The building was designed on eco-sustainable principles and as a piece of art work.The Council Chamber has an interesting piece of artwork displaying the decimation of the Kauri forests in colonial times, among other bits of history. Apparently this wood floors many buildings in San Francisco, or San Diego...it's been a long day.....anyways, the building is at the fringe of the city centre in Henderson, right beside the train station and central mall (shopping centre) however it supports local business by having not enough seats in the cafeteria as there are staff and not enough car parking spaces with the aim of 'encouraging' public transport use, cycling and walking... I already mentioned the contradiction in Waitakere's Eco-city status but there more to the story it seems. The air-conditioning system cools from floor level rather than the ceiling and doesn't need cooled because its built with concrete that naturally cools it down. The building's roof has a mini wind turbine but it doesn't really catch the wind, Mark said, because of the Waitakere Ranges (hills). They have a massive worm farm, 3 times the size of the one at Vision Waitakere Retirement Village, with massive worm tea/soup/poo bottles to to match! We went to the garden on the rooftop and I forget the technical term but what it does is the different layers absorb and filter the rainwater to reduce the contaminants from traffic etc. as it enters the stormwater channels, much like Project Twin Streams regeneration of the riparians (streamsides) with native species. Saving water, costs and resources required to manage flood water. All rather clever! Mark gave me a better understanding of the Japanese garden role in this process. The garden absorbs more contaminants and like the roof garden, slows the water speed down more, before it finally ends up flushing down the toilets and supplying the sinks.

I'll mention this for thoroughness but it's not the juicier information: the carpets are made from recycle plastic (they don't look like it but so many things can be made out of recycled plastic these days) and are in tiles so parts of it can be replaced rather than recarpeting the whole floor. And there's wood panelling and concrete, all unpainted to reduce maintenance costs, resources and the environmental impact etc.

NB. I have not photos of any of this week because I left the camera at my sisters (DOH!)

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