The ahha Impact Framework is a self-developed holistic approach across six domains of Carbon, Ecology, Circularity, Health & Wellbeing, Equity & Access, and Community & Culture.

Derived from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), our Framework is a baseline commitment we bring to every project. Designing through the lens of our framework, we integrate positive impact measures at the outset, avoiding the greenwashing ‘add-on’ approach, and drive outcomes that go far beyond the current sustainability status quo to ensure we are not only designing for resilience against climate change, but actively mitigating it. We know the numbers also have to make sense to our clients, so our framework ensures that it all stacks up – sustainably, ethically, and financially.

How we measure —
We measure the impact of our framework’s six domains through internal metrics and statistics recognised by leading governing and industry bodies. This means that any built environment we create can be assessed and accredited both nationally and internationally via the relevant certification programmes.


The construction industry is responsible for 40% of global carbon emissions through manufacturing products, carbon-heavy construction techniques, material wastage, and operational carbon due to ill-considered built form and service requirements. 

At ahha we aim for carbon neutrality, through thoughtful use of materials, innovative construction techniques, a context-driven envelope and well-designed services. By integrating carbon and energy modelling into our design processes, we’re able to assess and inform the project as it develops.

The result is a built environment with an overall positive impact on the world: sequestering carbon, and creating healthy and low-energy environments.


Considering the impact of ecology in any build is vital, to ensure biodiversity is protected and regenerated into the future.

At ahha we work to create a positive ecological impact, through design that considers biophilia, water use and management, as well as minimising loads put on current infrastructure, and working to enhance local ecosystems through indigenous landscaping. We carefully select building materials free from toxic treatments which can leach into surrounding areas – negatively affecting ecological habitats. 

Our process assesses a site's context, water and soil conditions, urban form, space availability, bulk and location strategy, as well as the habits of the people who occupy it, to deliver an ecological strategy, which we then implement through design, delivery, and maintenance procedures.


Circularity and the circular economy consider cradle-to-cradle thinking – by being regenerative and waste-free by design.

In a circular economy, materials are indefinitely cycled at high quality. All energy is derived from renewable or otherwise sustainable sources, and natural and human capital are structurally supported – rather than degraded through economic activities. The process begins with understanding every material’s biological and/or technical cycle. We then utilise it in a way that ensures items at the end of their usable life can be safely repurposed within the circular economy – meaning nothing is entering landfill. 

At ahha we take this circular approach to inform construction and deconstruction methodologies, material supply chains, durability and maintenance requirements. The result is a project that’s aware of its impact and social responsibility, and a building that’s truly enduring for inhabitants and owners.

Health & Wellbeing

We create healthy spaces that allow all species to thrive. Substandard conditions in New Zealand built environments are all too common: from workplaces without daylight access, to damp and mouldy homes. Our process works to ensure all habitable spaces contribute to peoples’ health and well-being.

Our indoor spaces have healthy air, natural daylight, views and usable outdoor spaces. We use RED list free materials where possible to ensure low to no toxicity environments. Socio-spatial relationships are enhanced to encourage community and human connectivity, while Layouts encourage active movement, and incorporate connections to natural environments.

But ensuring a healthy environment isn’t confined to the moment the building opens. Within our framework we also consider the monitoring and diligence required, to ensure any alterations over time continue to enhance people’s health.

Equity & Access

Our framework aims to ensure every project fosters a just and inclusive community, that enables all people to participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. We have a shared belief that a society should embrace and engage all sectors of humanity, creating fit for purpose neighbourhoods through participation.

Our process considers the design carefully to make the built environment universally accessible, safe and welcoming to all people. We design for resilience to enable longevity and adaptability, responding to the unpredictability of climate change. We design to make architecture financially accessible both in its creation and through its lifetime by reducing operational costs.

Throughout the process of a project, we look for opportunities to foster diversity and inclusion – whether through the consultants we work alongside, or through the procurement process.

Community & Culture

Through our design process, we aim for transformational change – in the buildings we produce and the community and cultures we work with. We analyse a built environments’ relationship with the broader community and context, and then seek out opportunities that could improve and strengthen those relationships.

We highly respect the unique worldview of iwi Māori, so we engage early with tangata whenua, and strive to embed te ao Māori perspectives and concepts into our design practice. When we produce work that comes from authentic collaboration, we acknowledge our responsibilities to Ti Tiriti o Waitangi, and are able to better reflect the diverse cultures of the places we design and build in. 

Our process allows the community and inhabitants to buy into projects well before they are built, giving a sense of pride and community well before construction starts.