Greening the ‘Fifth Facade’

As interest grows in reducing carbon footprints and finding new and sustainable ways to live, green roofs continue to grow in popularity.

Sourceable contributor Kristen Avis writes that there is an increased use of a building’s ‘fifth façade’ – the rooftop- and commercial developers are looking for ways to implement green infrastructure into their developments.

These rooftop gardens are also a great way to grow vegetables in the middle of cities, and have already been embraced by schools and restaurants.

South Australia has stipulated that all new and refurbished commercial buildings that have flat roofs must have a cool roof integrated into their designs before the development can be approved. Have a living roof reduces a building’s occupants’ reliance on artificial heating and cooling, thus reducing their demand on fossil fuels and energy.

As well as protecting those inside their buildings, green roofs reduce pollution and stormwater runoff outside as well.

Therefore, landscape architects have been found to be critical when it comes to reducing the effects of and slowing climate change through how green areas are used and what is planted.

They can also work to influence other architects to integrate green features into the built environment, such as green roofs, green walls and increase the energy efficiencies of buildings and developments.


Growing Green Buildings Globally

Sustainable building is proving it’s not just a green fad as its popularity accelerates across the world.

A new study from McGraw Hill Construction showed that both the public and private sectors are more willing to embrace green building and to make energy efficiency a priority.

However, studies have also found upfront costs and regulations could impede this progress.

The McGraw Hill study surveyed 800 organisations from 65 countries and more than half planned for more than 60 per cent of their work to be green by 2015, which is up from 28 per cent in 2012 and 13 per cent in 2009, according to Jessica Cheam of Eco-Business.

The reasons for going green are also changing, with market growth being driven by building owners being more focused on sustainability as well as client and market demand for green buildings. Therefore, sustainable buildings and environmental awareness is good for business.

“The acceleration of the green building marketplace around the world is creating markets for green building products and technologies, which in turn will lead to faster growth of green building,” McGraw-Hill Construction industry insights and alliances vice president Harvey Bernstein said. “And the fact that green is growing in all parts of the world indicates that there are market opportunities in both established markets as well as developing countries.”

Celebrating Sustainable Building

Melbourne and Sydney are celebrating sustainable building practices with Green Building Day 2013.

The day builds on the success of the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star Day 2012.

The day will look at the future of the green building industry in Australia, the trends, predictions and the latest market insights and industry opportunities.

Highlights of the days will include findings from the Green Building Council of Australia’s first quantitative research into the impact of Green Star on the built environment over the past decade including a talk from Green Star Director of Operations Orjan Lundberg about how many thousands of cars Green Star certified buildings have taken off the roads, millions of litres of drinking water they’ve saved and thousands of truckloads of waste they’ve diverted from landfill.

Bruce Precious of the GPT Group will present on the CSIRO’s predictions on the six megatrends that will impact the sustainable building industry over the next 20 years.

Representatives from some of Australia’s most successful green building project teams will take questions on the road to 6 Star Green Star success and share their tips on everything from engaging, to troubleshooting, to managing expectations.

There will also be a networking session, allowing participants to mingle with the Green Star team and share ideas on the future of Australia’s sustainability rating system.

Green Building Day will be in Sydney on Wednesday, May 29  and Melbourne on Friday, June 7.


Register Your Sustainable Project

Australians now have a way of tracking sustainable homes with the Australian Living Sustainable Homes Registry.

The registry will track, list and report the number of new homes being designed and built in Australia that are rated 7+ stars for thermal efficiency, were constructed with sustainable building materials and use energy and water savings.

At the launch earlier this year, Australian Living marketing manager Anthony Lieberman called on architects, building designers, project home builders and developers to complete the form on the website every time they completed a sustainable home project, otherwise the registry would not be successful.

With the aim of tracking and recording the number of new homes being designed and built in Australia that go beyond the current Building Codes of Australia (BCA) energy efficiency requirements of six stars and BASIX requirements in New South Wales. The registry will also track the number of new homes being constructed with sustainable building materials.

Master Builders Association of NSW ‘Green Living’ program manager Grant Daly said he supported the registry in that consumers would be able to identify builders and associated businesses who were involved in sustainable home projects, as they would be tracked on this registry.

He said the registry was also a way of measuring growth in the sustainability industry, which was expected to be rapid as electricity and water prices continued to increase.

To submit a sustainable project, visit .

Australia Shares Green Know-How

Australian companies are taking their sustainable building talents to the Middle East as part of the Australian Green Building Seminars.

The Australian Trade Commission and the Australian Consulate General have organised the series which starts on April 16 in Dubai, followed by seminars in Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Doha and Rabat later this month.

Through these seminars Australian companies will be able to showcase their expertise in green building, energy efficiency and other aspects of environmental design, education and construction and meet potential customers in the Gulf region.

This is important both for Australian business relationships and sharing expertise and the Golf countries as Gulf Cooperation Council countries have high energy prices, water scarcity and are preparing to embrace corporate and social responsibility obligations. These countries are starting the process in building capacity to achieve better environmental standards which creates opportunities to share Australian knowledge and expertise.

Businesses who will travel to the seminars include those dealing in design, urban planning, engineering, architecture and consultancy services to the green building industry as well as those that supply green building and energy efficient products and technologies and general building and construction companies who work in the green building sector.


Green Buildings Becoming Mandatory

Dubai is taking many steps forward into the green building future, with new laws passed to make sustainable building practices in all buildings mandatory.

The new laws start in 2014 and will effect all new buildings, whether they be private or commercial, with green building requirements currently optional in private buildings.

This will mean all buildings in Dubai will need to install items such as solar water heaters, water saving measures and other green components.

Along with this, the Building Department of Dubai Municipality launched an education and training program with the slogan Be Educated on Green Buildings.

The state will hold seminars and exhibitions, having already hosted My Green Environment in January to promote sustainable building practices and demonstrate the environment benefits these have for private dwellings.

The world’s largest LEED Platinum status government building, the Dubai Energy and Water Authority’s (DEWA) Sustainable Building, also opened in Dubai in February.

These laws are beginning to be seen in many countries across the world, as governments realise the savings to themselves, their citizens and their environment of encouraging green building and sustainable living practices.

To highlight this, a survey by McGraw Hill Constructions found more businesses across more countries were expecting their work to be more ‘green’ in coming years.

It found that companies expected green buildings to generate business value and opportunities such as the development of new environmentally friendly products.

The survey found that from 2012 to 2015, companies expecting that more than 60 percent of their work would be green triples in South Africa; doubles in Germany, Norway and Brazil; and grows between 33 and 60 percent in the United States, Singapore, Britain, the United Arab Emirates and Australia.


Students To Showcase Australian Retrofitting in China

Retrofitting is likely to be the trend for those wanting to create sustainable living spaces in 2013, according to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe joint report, published by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC).

Europe isn’t the only place this is becoming a popular way to greener living, Australian architects, builders and even students are embracing retrofitting.

Students at the University of Wollongong and TAFE Illawarra have taken retrofitting to a classic Aussie fibro home and will make it into an eco-house.

The 30 students are part of the Solar Decathlon, a global research and building competition driven by the Chinese and United States governments, and have made it into the finals with 23 other teams from around the world.

They are also the first Australian group to compete in this event.

The home is called The Illawarra Flame Australia and students want to inspire the building industry and demonstrate it is possible to transform most Australian homes into stylish, affordable and sustainable homes of the future.

The home, once completed in Australia, will be taken to China for judging in August.

Students will compete in and be judged on 10 events covering all aspects of housing design, including architecture, market appeal, engineering, communications, solar application, thermal comfort, hot water, appliances, home entertainment and energy balance.

The judging and events will be between August 6-15 in Datong, 300km west of Beijing in China.



Mass Creation Goes Sustainable

The most creative sustainable and environmentally-friendly works by builders and architects will be presented at the Green Cities Sundown event next month.

Members of the Green Building Council of Australia and Property Council of Australia were  eligible to enter the Weapons of Mass Creation competition, with the competition celebrating creativity and innovation in sustainable ideas, techniques, technologies and design.

The inaugural showcase and competition is part of the Green Cities Conference and Exhibition in Sydney, with the theme this year being Accept the Challenge.

Entries could include sustainable materials, technologies, design techniques or products with selected entries on exhibition at the Green Cities Sundown networking event at the Museum of Contemporary Art on March 6.

The winning submission will be named Most Innovative 2013.

Green Cities is in its seventh year and is the annual conference and exhibition co-hosted by the Green Building Council of Australia and Property Council of Australia.

It focusses on sustainability within the built environment and the program features international keynote speakers, networking events, Australia’s top product suppliers on show in a world-class expo, green building site tours and education master classes.

The conference and exhibition runs March 6-7 at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The Green Architecture of Land

Architects are not just valuable for designing the built environment, the worth of landscape architects is being recognised as people see the value of green space in urban environs.

In cities and urban areas around the world, people are becoming more health-conscious and, therefore, wanting more walking and running tracks, which landscape architects can design.

The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects sees the architect’s role as increasing connectivity, multi-functionality, and landscape performance in the built environment.

Humans are dependent on the health of the natural environment and as cities and towns focus on reducing the use of resources, the management of green resources can influence how effective human responses are to these challenges.

The AILA believes that new design and management solutions for our built environments are needed and green infrastructure strategies can provide a framework for holistic planning, design and monitoring of the interactions between the built form and the environment within which it is situated.

Landscape architects work to address these challenges by utilising vegetation to overcome issues within the human environment such as filtration and slowing down of storm water-reducing erosion, improving air and water quality, energy use and biodiversity and generally improving sustainability in the built environment.

World Green Building Week

Australia is celebrating excellence and progress in sustainable building with World Green Building Week running from September 17. More than 90 countries are coming together for the third year of the event. The Green Building Council of Australia said the week highlights the role that green buildings and communities play in reducing the global carbon footprint and saving money, whilst creating jobs, boosting productivity, health and learning and improving lives.

“Many Australian companies now have international reputations as sustainability specialists and we are leading the way in terms of green products and innovations,” Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) chief executive Romilly Madew said.

“In ten years, we have transformed some segments of the property and construction market – such as commercial offices – and we are making inroads into other markets, with sustainable schools, hospitals, shopping centres, industrial facilities and apartments a reality across Australia.”

Ms Madew said World Green Building Week reminded us that sustainable building was not a fad or a fashion, but was the future. Australia is a world leader in sustainable building and living and the week ahead will show this off to the world. During the week there will be walking tours, online chats, events, competitions, seminars and product launches.