Highlights of Equinox Evolution Melbourne 2019

Highlights of Equinox Evolution Melbourne 2019
Highlights of Equinox Evolution Melbourne 2019

On Thursday evening Urban.com.au was invited to attend the annual Equinox Evolution building material expo at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne. The event was hosted by AIS (Architectural Information Services) and featured over 73 exhibitors, many of whom also toured with the event to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Cairns, Townsville, Hobart; as well as Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand.

AIS works to provide transparency in the market for architecture, engineering and design practices to identify new, innovative building materials, while also giving suppliers a platform to showcase their new products to the decision-makers within the construction and property development industries.

Here are our key takeaways from the evening:

1. Many construction industry material suppliers have an environmental conscience

One of the most important things we discovered at Equinox 2019, was the sustainability goals held by many of the purveyors. After learning about the various eco-initiatives, we decided to ask 5 stallholders the challenging yet crucial question,

“How can Australia’s built environment achieve near net-zero carbon by 2050?”

Here are their answers:
 

 

2. Timber has many environmental and health benefits

Highlights of Equinox Evolution Melbourne 2019
Interim architrave and skirting block

We had a chat to the team at Interim Mouldings who explained that timber has been scientifically proven to have multiple health benefits when used as an interior material. When sourced sustainably, timber is also a highly renewable resource.

"We at Intrim are obsessed with timber. We love the way it helps create a warm, homely interior, and how it takes you back to nature and away from our busy, technology filled lives. 

The choice of timber in the built environment provides many benefits to its occupants. Not only is timber an aesthetically beautiful choice, but has many health benefits such as improving air quality, improving a person’s mental state, reducing blood pressure and stress, and is a long-term store of carbon, which helps fight climate change*.

We are very conscious of our environmental impact and ensure our pine timber products are responsibly grown, sustainable sourced and from globally renewable timber. Being an FSC certified supplier means more to us than a stamp of responsibility, it means we’re actively part of the change for future generations, the earth and moving towards near net-zero carbon by 2050."

Harvey Quinsey, Interim Mouldings General Manager

* Source: ‘WOOD: Housing, Health, Humanity’ Report, Planet Ark, March 2015.

2. Composite timber products can be manufactured using recycled plastics

Highlights of Equinox Evolution Melbourne 2019
The Italian Lab's Urban Relax Shelter

The goal of recycling is to turn waste into a product of newfound use with the lowest possible environmental impact. The Italian Lab is using recycled plastics to produce modern outdoor furniture, including sheltered seating alcoves complete with solar-powered USB charging stations. While repurposing waste can utilise a significant amount of power and water to refine and reproduce new materials, the production plant is powered by 9000 square metres of solar panelling, with 600-kilowatt productiveness. This reduces CO2 emissions by 95 % within the plant.

3. Recycled tyres can be used to add volume to adhesives

Highlights of Equinox Evolution Melbourne 2019

It’s great to see the extent of recycled materials that are being incorporated within many of the new products on display at the event. We spoke to the team at Bostik who explained the production method of their latest flooring adhesive Ultraset 3 in 1, has been created with the focus of reducing product wastage (swapping three separate materials for a single adhesive layer) which will reduce time due to the product’s efficient application.

4. Soundproofed units are becoming a popular choice for apartment buildings

Highlights of Equinox Evolution Melbourne 2019
Bowen Interiors' Seat Box Acoustic Pod

While buildings today should be constructed with an excellent sound attenuation due to the accessibility of new technology, the team at Bowen Interiors explained to us that their soundproofed pods are becoming a popular option for residential developments. Each individual pod has been imported from France, and is available in a range of sizes, including seated and standing, as well as pods large enough to accommodate a group meeting. Each unit contains an in-built ventilation system, power outlets, and is available in a range of finishes, including an elegant wooden exterior.

5. Vertical greening is on the rise

Highlights of Equinox Evolution Melbourne 2019

“Unlock your fifth façade” is the slogan of vertical garden specialists, Next Level Urban. Their sales pitch is highly enticing to developers, as not only will a rooftop garden mean an additional level is allowed to be constructed (resulting in more residential floorplates and extra height), but the team are dedicated to innovatively transforming disused space into verdant gardens which add value to the property.

Does this mean Australia is on the right path towards a more sustainable future?

Highlights of Equinox Evolution Melbourne 2019
Wattyl's low VOC and allergy-friendly paint art installation

As far as trade shows go, Equinox Evolution delivers a platform for suppliers to showcase their latest product innovations to many of the decision-makers of Australia’s development industry. Each exhibit was informative, engaging and company representatives were happy to answer our questions and take on board feedback.

While not every Australian building material supplier is putting building material durability, resident health and environmental sustainability ahead of cost; it is very reassuring to hear that these issues are definitely becoming more pertinent in industry discussion. Next year, it would be great to see the standardised eco-conscious initiatives implemented across all products, with more of an emphasis on cutting edge sustainable technology.

What are your thoughts on the future of building material sustainability in Australia? Share your opinion in the comments below.  

Lead image credit: Nicholas Failla

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.

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