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.


Carbon To Become Sustainable Green Building Product in University Trial

Carbon could soon be locked up forever to make new green building materials in a joint venture between the University of Newcastle, Orica and the GreenMag Group.

The research pilot plant will be built at the University of Newcastle to trial technology that turns carbon emissions into carbonate rocks, which could then be used as green building materials.

Malavika Santhebennur from Australian Mining wrote that while Orica was already capturing some of its carbon dioxide emissions at its Kooragang Island manufacturing facility in Newcastle, it was looking for an appropriate disposal technology solution for itself and the industry.

The research team will include University of Newcastle Priority Resarch Centre for Energy professors Bodgan Dlugogorski and Eric Kennedy and Orica senior research associate Dr Geoff Brent.

Professor Dlugogorski said the difference with their mineral carbonation model was that they transformed the carbon dioxide into a useful product, rather than just storing it underground.

Professor Kennedy said they wanted to process the carbon dioxide emissions quicker than the earth’s national carbonation system so that they don’t accumulate in the air, and be cost-effective at the same time.

The trial plant is expected to be operating by 2017.




Sustainability Awards Push for Environmentally-Friendly Innovations

Nominations are open for the 7th Annual BPN Sustainability Awards, which are designed to encourage and reward Australia’s best practice in sustainable building and architecture design.

The awards want designers, architects and buildings to push the boundaries of innovation by rewarding this initiative.

The 10 entry categories are Small Commercial, Large Commercial, Office Fitout, Single Dwelling (New), Best of the Best, Landscape Design, Innovation of the Year, Multi Density Residential, Public Building and Urban Design, and Single Dwelling (Alterations and Additions).

The awards’ judges are looking for services or products that help sustainable built environments, sustainable design, and preservation and rehabilitation of land among other criteria.

Past winners have been rewarded for initiatives including collaborative designs, environmental and social sustainability, integrating nature into design, energy efficiency, passive design and solar shading.

Building Products News (BPN) Magazine, a respected industry journal since 1967, started the awards, with interest continuing to grow each year, alongside the recognition that good building design is vital to environmental sustainability, energy efficiency and in reducing our carbon footprint.

The ceremony will be held in Sydney on Thursday, November 7 with nominations closing on August 30.

Smart Blocks Mean Green Buildings

An innovative program to help apartment owners and managers improve energy efficiency and environmental friendliness has launched in Melbourne and Sydney and there’s a workshop coming to Adelaide.

Smart Blocks can allow apartment buildings to reduce power bills by up to 30 per cent by providing a step-by-step project management and collaboration tool for owners corporations to reduce the money they spend running common facilitates, which can include lights, water systems, ventilation systems, heating and cooling plant, and swimming pools.

On average, residents of high-rise buildings use 25 per cent more energy per person than those living in detached dwellings with up to half of this energy use comes from common property.

The program was developed in conjunction with Strata Community Australia, City of Sydney, City of Melbourne, Owners Corporation Network of Australia, and Green Strata and has worked with about 15 cities and towns delivering free workshops for apartment owners and their managers.

City of Melbourne environment portfolio chair councillor Arron Wood said the city’s population was growing quickly and they needed to make buildings more efficient for their ultimate goal of being a carbon neutral city.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said her city also needed to show its residents how being more efficient could save them dollars and be kinder to the environment and Smart Blocks had shown them how replacing old items with more energy-efficient products and using equipment in different ways could curb energy consumption.

A workshop will be held in Adelaide for apartment owners and strata and building managers on August 20 at 6pm at the Belgian Beer Cafe ‘Oostende’.


Farming Carbon helps indigenous communities and the environment

Indigenous Australians are encouraged to start carbon farming projects, with funding available.

Under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Carbon Farming Fund Capacity Building and Business Support stream the government will assist indigenous Australians to access carbon farming specialists, business development expertise and legal advice for their carbon farming projects.

These projects are a win-win, providing further employment opportunities in indigenous communities and helping the environment.

The fund will provide $22.3m over five years to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to participate in the Carbon Farming Initiative.

The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) allows farmers, indigenous landholders and land managers to earn carbon credits by storing carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the land. These credits can then be sold to people and businesses wishing to offset their emissions.

It is a carbon offsets scheme that is part of Australia’s carbon market and helps the environment by encouraging sustainable farming and providing a source of funding for landscape restoration projects.

Farmers, indigenous landholders and land managers can choose whether they wish  to participate in the CFI and types of indigenous carbon farming projects include early season savannah burning and environmental plantings.



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.

Brisbane ideas competition encourages innovation

We’re following with interest news of the first ever Brisbane Ideas Competition, which asks individuals to develop ideas and propose initiatives that address what’s missing  from our city and what it needs for the future. It’s certainly an ambitious concept and has the potential to give birth to some exciting and innovative ideas.

Organisers Heise Design say they hope the broad entry requirements will solicit entries across a wide range of disciplines, from architecture and urban design through to art, science and engineering. Entries will be placed on exhibition throughout the city.

Follow details of it at

Pixel building raises the bar for sustainable design

If you picked up a copy of The Australian’s Wish magazine this week, you’ll have read all about Grocon Construction’s visionary Pixel building.  Proving that office buildings can be sustainable, commercially viable and architecturally inspirational, the Pixel in Melbourne is one of the most innovative development projects this country has seen to date.

The façade – comprised of multi-coloured sun-shading panels – makes the building instantly iconic and identifiable. But it’s what’s going on behind the scenes that makes this project truly remarkable and has earned it the accolade of the “greenest building in Australia”. Inspiring stuff. ?