Environmental stewardship deserves commendation as advocates push eco-accreditation

Environmental stewardship deserves commendation as advocates push eco-accreditation
Environmental stewardship deserves commendation as advocates push eco-accreditation

The year 2019 has had a central focus – climate change. The UN held a climate change summit, students from each Australian state hosted public climate demonstrations, and Australian architects declared an official climate emergency. Australia’s property development industry also celebrated a world-leading ranking in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) 2019 for the ninth year running. The GRESB benchmark takes into account the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of real assets and infrastructure investments from across the globe – with Oceania reaching a new world record GRESB Score of 81, up from 72 the previous year.

The dialogue around environmental issues is becoming more prominent in the property industry. Rather than fall under the radar, many developers, architects and builders are proud to voluntarily associate their brand with environmental credentials, which has seen the creation of some incredible world-class buildings, with commendable sustainability ratings.

NatHERs, NABERS, Green Star, GECA, EnviroDevelopment and BSI Group, are a few of the many environmental accreditations and eco-labelling organisations in Australia, all of which serve a vital role in the attainment of achieving near net-zero carbon by the UN’s set target of 2050.

Sustainability and Green Building for the National Association of Home Builders' Jaclyn Toole explains that opting into these accreditation schemes have a wide range of benefits, from performance to financial return.

“Voluntary, above-code green programs provide builders and consumers with the flexibility that they need to construct homes that are sustainable, high performing, affordable, cost-effective and appropriate to the home’s geographic location.”

For developers, environmental accreditation poses a financial benefit, as well as the humbling feeling that comes from doing right by your community.

“Sustainability and high-performance building are important to the home building industry because it promotes lower total ownership costs through utility savings and increased durability as well as an improved indoor living environment. It also encourages environmental awareness and stewardship and more efficient use of increasingly scarce resources and helps to conserve them for future generations.”

Jaclyn Toole, Assistant Vice President, Sustainability and Green Building for the National Association of Home Builders

Stand out sustainable projects for 2019

BURWOOD BRICKWORKS

Architect: NH Architecture
Accreditation: 6 Star Green Star Community Rating

Environmental stewardship deserves commendation as advocates push eco-accreditation
Burwood Brickworks. Image supplied.

Fraser Property Australia is set to achieve a new global standard of sustainability as Burwood Brickworks nears completion of what could be the world's most sustainable retail centre. Approval for the centre was granted by the Whitehorse City Council mid-2018.

Sustainable practices include:

  • Mulching excess organic material for compost
  • Closed-loop technology for recycling wastewater
  • Eliminating produce transportation by growing on site
  • Rooftop solar panels and off-site renewable energy sources
  • Avoiding the use of worst-in-class chemicals to reduce air pollution
  • 6 Star Green Star Community rating

LITTLE MILLER

Architect: Clarke Hopkins Clarke x Breathe Architecture

Accreditation: 7.5 NatHERS Rating

Environmental stewardship deserves commendation as advocates push eco-accreditation
Little Miller. Image credit: Clarke Hopkins Clarke/Nightingale

Clarke Hopkins Clarke, in collaboration with Breathe Architecture, has created Melbourne’s latest trailblazing development Little Miller, which is setting new environmental standards, by achieving a 100% fossil fuel-free environment. The development also features plants on each level, as well as a 20,000-litre rainwater tank, and natural materials will be used where possible, including 100% natural cactus fibre carpets and recycled timber.

WOODLEA

Architect: Mirvac Design

Accreditation: UDIA EnviroDevelopment certification (Categories include: Ecosystems, Waste, Energy, Materials, Water, Community)

Environmental stewardship deserves commendation as advocates push eco-accreditation
Woodlea town centre. Image supplied.

New housing developments play an important role in helping Australia reach carbon emission targets, with their ability to integrate green energy initiatives and environmentally conscious technology on mass within every project. Mirvac has announced that many of their Woodlea precinct's townhouses will include smart solar packages, enabling residents to save up to 80% on electricity bills – with scope to eliminate all electricity costs in the future. 

SHELLEY ST

Architect: DKO, SLAB

Accreditation: 6 Star Average Energy Rating, 101% STORM rating

Environmental stewardship deserves commendation as advocates push eco-accreditation
Shelley St. Image supplied.

Shelley St townhomes feature a range of sustainable initiatives including a solar PV system, use of non-toxic materials, excellent STORM rating for storm management, LED light fittings, water-efficient plumbing fittings and extra insulation for better thermal performance.

TWO ELEVEN SYDNEY ROAD

Architect: Six Degrees Architects

Accreditation: 7.5 Star NatHERS rating

Environmental stewardship deserves commendation as advocates push eco-accreditation
Little Miller. Image credit: Clarke Hopkins Clarke/Nightingale

Situated right on Brunswick’s Sydney Road, Six Degrees Architects have retained the iconic heritage façade of 211 Sydney Road, which has been retrofit with a modern structure accommodation 21 spacious, light-filled apartments. The development will include solar energy generation, water harvesting, and more.

“The homes in Two Eleven Sydney Road provide future residents assurance in knowing that every day they are contributing to sustainable practice, and doing the right thing by the environment, by our children, and future generations.”

Kelvin & Rachel Taing, Excelon Projects

MIDTOWN CENTRE

Architect: Fender Katsalidis

Accreditation: 5 Star Green Star rating, as well as Queensland’s first, rated Silver WELL core and shell

Environmental stewardship deserves commendation as advocates push eco-accreditation
Midtown Centre. Image credit: Fender Katsalidis.

Brisbane’s highly anticipated twin tower conversion, Midtown Centre, is currently under construction with a slated completion of 2021. The redevelopment project will see two exiting outdated office buildings combined to form a highly sustainable modern office tower, under the design of Fender Katsalidis. FKA will bring to live the philosophy of ‘buildings that breathe’ with green atriums, air-filled voids and plenty of access to natural light, to improve the comfort of workers within the building. Connecting and refurbishing two existing structures is over 230% more environmentally friendly than demolishing and building anew according to Green Star.

COLLINS ARCH

Architect: SHoP Architects x Woods Bagot

Accreditation: 5 Star Green Star Rating

Environmental stewardship deserves commendation as advocates push eco-accreditation
Collins Arch. Image supplied.

In addition to Collins Arch 5 Star Green Star Rating, The Clean Energy Finance Corp (CEFC) have offered Cbus Property $100 million to boost Collins Arch’s sustainability initiatives. The funding is likely to cover energy-efficient building materials (including efficient air conditioning) and electric car charging facilities. These initiatives should reduce the building’s carbon footprint by at least 20%. Collins Arch is anticipated for completion by 2020.

QUAY QUARTER TOWER

Architect: 3XN

Accreditation: 6 Star Rating

Environmental stewardship deserves commendation as advocates push eco-accreditation
Quay Quarter Tower: Credit: AMP Capital

The 3XN designed Quay Quarter tower is a vertical mixed-use village which will tower 200 metres above the Sydney harbour. The development will retain the existing building’s core, and recycle the façade and floor space, which will save up to 10,000 Sydney to Melbourne flights worth of carbon emission.

EAST BRUNSWICK VILLAGE

Architect: JAM Architects

Accreditation: 7.5 NatHERS Rating

Environmental stewardship deserves commendation as advocates push eco-accreditation
East Brunswick Village. Image credit: JAM Architects.

Set to achieve an impressive 7.5 NatHERS Rating, East Brunswick Village will use 15,000 trucks worth of recycled materials, as well as smart metering, LED lighting, occupancy detectors, daylight sensors and programmable timers. The development also contains rainwater tanks and recycling/waste management systems.

443 QUEEN ST

Architect: Architectus x WOHA

Accreditation: 5 Star Energy Rating, Generosity Index of 80, Green Plot Ratio of 197%

Environmental stewardship deserves commendation as advocates push eco-accreditation
443 Queen Street. Image credit: CBRE/Cbus Property.

The exciting new tower to be delivered to Brisbane’s riverfront is 443 Queen St, which has been designed as a collaboration between Architectus and WOHA. The development embraces sub-tropical living with carefully selected native plants, and well-curated gardens for each apartment to enjoy. With a slated completion of 2020, 443 Queen St is on track to win a Generosity Index of 80 and a Green Plot Ratio of 197%.

Sustainable initiatives to watch in 2020

NIGHTINGALE HOUSING PROJECTS

Nightingale Housing has already impressed us with their low-cost, highly sustainable developments, so it’ll be exciting to see what’s in store for 2020. Their waitlist ballots for each project draw in thousands of buyers, so we anticipate rapid development expansion to accommodate demand.

INVERTIGRO (HIGH YIELD PRODUCE GARDENS)

In October, Urban covered the launch of Invertigro, a company which creates modular units for urban farming. Invertigro can grow 100-400 organic lettuces per lineal metre (a space of approximately 1.5m x 1.5m x 2.2m) in your apartment’s underused basement with almost no maintenance. Could this horticulture technology revolutionise urban farming and reduce food miles?

Environmental stewardship deserves commendation as advocates push eco-accreditation
The 'inverticube'. Image supplied.

MORELAND COUNCIL’S NO-CARPARK MINIMUM

Moreland Council has been discussing a new no minimum car parking initiative to combat the issue surrounding disused parking spaces. Moreland stated that the reason for supporting this initiative was due to the excellent accessibility of public transport within the Moreland municipality.

“Council’s recent decision to continue support of the planning scheme amendment is a positive step as we work to address the challenges of population growth impacts for our community, including traffic congestion and maintaining the liveability of Moreland. The amendment is an important part of the implementation of the Moreland Integrated Transport Strategy actions. The expert independent panel, appointed by the Minister for Planning, will now consider this groundbreaking initiative, which has the potential to discourage oversupply of onsite parking in Moreland’s Activity Centres.”

Kirsten Coster, Director City Futures

BPI RATINGS

Edge Environment consultancy launched its own subsidiary business, Building Product Information Rating – similar to GECA (Good Environmental Choice Australia). Their goal is to provide more transparency in the market around safe, sustainable and compliant building materials, with a database of accredited products, giving industry professionals vital information to make informed decisions. Currently, the website features 500 products from over 200 companies, with categories ranging from appliances to wall finishes to landscaping materials.

Any star ratings listed in this article are estimations and could be subject to change once the development completes construction, so please use it as a guide only.

Olivia Round

Olivia Round

Olivia Round is the Features Editor of urban.com.au. Olivia specialises in news reporting, in-depth editorial content and video + podcast interviews with industry experts.

Tags: 
Sustainability Architecture Design

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