6 December 2013, Suva Fiji - By Wati Talebula, journalism student at FNU:- A new building for the American Samoa - Environmental Protection Agency (AS-EPA) that was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in 2009 would be the first in the Pacific to receive an international eco-rating.
The new building will be energy efficient and built on the same footprint as the old building.
The agency hopes to have the building certified Leed Platinum Green, which would be the first in the Pacific.Ms. Christianera Tuitele, water programme manager at AS-EPA said: "The goal is to be net zero so that the whole year we don't have to pay any money to our power authority as everything comes naturally like all the solar energy," she said.
Ms. Christianera Tuitele, water programme manager at AS-EPA
Like all other projects the American Samoans faced challenges but were able to overcome them.
"Administration challenges are getting multiple funding sources, the federal process, local process and most importantly the weather and if there is no boat for five weeks then we have to wait for five weeks to get our materials from Australian and New Zealand and most importantly we didn't have the local knowledge to build the green building as this was the first time in American Samoan."
From March this year they have been "net zero" so far and hope to sustain this throughout the rest of the year.
Wati Talebula is a member of the Media Team providing coverage of the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas from 2 to 6 December in Suva, Fiji. This is a partnership between the Fiji National University (FNU), University of the South Pacific (USP), SPREP and Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) whereby a team of 10 journalism students are mentored by senior reporters as they cover the conference. This activity is funded by the Pacific Assistance Media Scheme (PACMAS).