Build a sustainable building

a treehouse built in LEGO bricks

The issue – Urban Ecosystems

Buildings are pretty important, don’t you think? Most of us use buildings every day; we live, work, learn and sleep in them for shelter. Since we spend so much time in them, it’s important that buildings are environmentally friendly, healthy and nice places to be!

Cities cover only 3% of the Earth’s land surface but more than half of the world’s population live in cities. Now that sounds like a squeeze! They may not be ‘natural’ but cities and towns are ecosystems in themselves… and the way they are designed and created affects the quality of our lives. When urban areas are created, plants, animals and birds are all affected because trees and other vegetation are removed to make way for buildings. Most buildings, including schools, also use a huge amount of energy and they can produce a lot of waste which has an impact on the planet too. What can be done about this?

Eco-friendly buildings

It’s great that there are lots of ways we can make urban environments and the buildings in them more environmentally friendly. Eco-architects love designing buildings like schools and homes so that they use less energy and encourage recycling. Some eco-friendly buildings use lots of natural lighting instead of lightbulbs or they have rooftop and wall gardens where plants and food can grow. Other cool buildings use solar panels and wind turbines to create electricity or even use recycled glass or cans to make parts of the building! So many brilliant, green ideas!

So, our challenge for you is…

Get creative and redesign part of your school or home so it is a more environmentally friendly place to learn and play!
Use any materials you have to create your new building design or feature and if you need a few ideas, check out the fact boxes or do a bit of research to spark your amazing imagination!



    Rainwater from the roof can be collected or ‘harvested’ and stored. It can then be used for flushing toilets or be treated so it can be used as drinking water! What a cool way to use the rain!

    The sun is full of energy which can be used to create electricity. Solar panels on rooftops can turn light from the sun into electricity that can be used to heat water and power anything in the building that needs electricity. Now that’s a hot idea!

    Plants help to make the air we breathe cleaner and healthier, so using plants inside and outside buildings makes them healthier places to be! Trees and plants can be grown on rooftops, balconies and up walls too! Cool green spaces on and around buildings encourage amazing wildlife back into urban areas. They can even provide vegetables for those inside. Broccoli anyone?

Build a sustainable building