Green wall at Birmingham New Street station

Green infrastructure design challenge

Submission deadline: 8 May 2017

We’re delighted to once again be working in partnership with the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) to coordinate the 2017 design challenge on the use of green infrastructure as a building service.

We’re looking for designs for office buildings (existing or in planning) that demonstrate how both indoor and outdoor green infrastructure can contribute to the health, wellbeing and productivity of staff, while simultaneously improving the building’s energy efficiency and climatic resilience.

The interaction of indoor plants with heating, cooling, acoustic management, air quality, staff productivity and wellbeing is an exciting and growing area of research: the benefits of green infrastructure don’t need to remain outside the building entrance.

Who can enter?

This challenge is open to individuals or teams, students, practitioners, and researchers. Multi-disciplinary and collaborative research-practice teams are encouraged to submit.

A representative must be available to present the submission on 19 May between 10:00 and 12:00 in London, if the design is shortlisted.

Please note: we are unable to reimburse entrants for travel to the 19 May event.

Recording of launch webinar

Technical specification

Building type

  • The office building your design focuses on must already exist or be in the process of being designed and built.
  • The building does not have to be in the UK.
  • Alternatively, you can base your design ideas on the Clarence Centre at London South Bank University. Please contact Dr Anastasia Mylona, who will be able to provide you with plans and energy profiles. You can also register for a tour of the offices during operational hours. Please note that there isn’t a model of the building for use in computer simulations.

Judging criteria

The proposals will be judged on evidence provided against the following categories:

  • Health, wellbeing and productivity of staff – improving staff working environment including the indoor / outdoor air quality
  • Improving energy efficiency – looking for solutions that complement and enhance existing building systems
  • Climate resilience – improving thermal comfort, water management and flood prevention measures

Design submissions must make clear any associated requirements for the building’s maintenance and management regime.

The design should demonstrate consideration of:

  • the building curtilage – the surroundings: street scene, plazas, courtyards, other public spaces surrounding the building
  • the external building surfaces
  • the building’s interior

Submission details

Two A0 posters electronically in PDF format per submission:

  • First poster: presentation of the overall design strategy for the building and its surrounding urban environment
  • Second poster: presentation of a design solution for a specific area in the building, preferably that can be scaled up. For example, an office space or floor that is repeated throughout the building.

The submissions are encouraged to include:

  • Calculations, drawings, and other material that provide evidence against the judging criteria
  • Rationale behind the choice of various green infrastructure elements or structures.

The shortlisted submissions will be printed by the organisers for display at the exhibition.

Supporting resources

  • Presentations from the challenge webinar
  • Various CIBSE guidance technical reports – many that free to access or accessible via CIBSE members. Consider inviting a CIBSE member to be part of your team!
    • KS11 Green Roofs
    • Guidelines for the Design and Application of Green Roof Systems
    • KS01 Reclaimed Water
    • TM52 The Limits of Thermal Comfort: Avoiding Overheating in European Buildings
    • Probabilistic Climate Profiles (ProCliPs)
    • TM52 Design for Future Climate – Case studies
    • TM46 Energy Benchmarks
    • TM55 Evaluating Operational Energy Performance of Buildings at the Design Stage
    • Resilient Cities Special Interest Group Blogs
  • Previous presentationsby experts for the 2016 Design Challenge
  • Design principles guideby Professor John Dover (pdf)
  • Future materials – facades inspired by nature, particularly work of the BioTa lab
  • Biophilic environments now and in a changing climate – part of the ARCC network’s 2016 Feeling Good in Public Spaces series
  • Sensory gardens event presentations