Remote pacific islands go green

The government of a chain of western Pacific islands has announced an architectural competition for environmentally friendly building designs able to withstand typhoons.

Architects and designers are being invited to join the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Green Building Design Challenge and come up with “high performance” buildings suited to its environment and economy.

Pacific leaders at the 7th Western Micronesian Chief Executives Summit earlier this year endorsed the competition as a way of setting standards across the region.

In a resolution endorsing the challenge, the chief executives of CNMI, Guam, Palau and Yap said: “The Micronesian chief executives embrace the Green Building Design as a vital component of sustainable development for the small island communities they represent.”

First announced in March this year, the competition is due to be launched next year and is thought to be the first of its kind in Micronesia.

It is open to designers across the world and will feature two categories, conceptual, for new building designs, and retrofit, for redesigns of existing buildings.

Reina Camacho, an officer with the Division of Environmental Quality, said the requirement is for beautifully designed buildings, which are energy and water efficient, employing renewable energy.

They must also be typhoon and termite resistant, cool and comfortable, use native materials and include wastewater management systems.

CNMI, which is in political union with the United States, is made up of 15 islands of a total area of around 180sqm about a quarter of the way from the Philippines to Hawaii.

They have a population of some 80,000 and include the islands of Guam and Saipan, both popular tourist destinations.

David Gibbs

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