Small Changes To Sustainability

A new book on sustainability encourages small steps to transform the way we live to become more sustainable.

Motivating Change: Sustainable Design and Behaviour in the Built Environment encourages designers, architects and planners to get people motivated to change their behaviour through their design of urban areas.

Edited by University of South Australia’s Professor Steffen Lehmann and Dr Robert Crocker, the publication is the second edited by Prof Lehmann in the Earthscan Series on sustainable design.

The book is a collection of essays by academics from around the world who they hope will inspire those involved in urban design to play their part in the issues of climate change.

Prof Lehmann said people only needed to make basic changes to change the way people live.

“We live in a disposable culture where we build and buy for the short-term,” Prof Lehmann said.

“We see it in all aspects of life: we are building houses that are only made to last 30 years at the same time as we are tearing down 100-year-old buildings without reusing the materials with which they were constructed, and our mobile telephones are redundant after just a couple of years’ use.

Prof Lehmann said the most important issues needed behaviour changes at many levels – the city to the individual – and it needed to be long-lasting.






Green Answers in the Past

US architect, professor and researcher on urban waterfronts and water supply Kevin Bone claims architecture and the future of the planet are inextricably linked and we may find our answers in what has gone before us.

Speaking to ArtInfo’s Kelly Chan, he said the past had more to offer the future than we may think.

His current exhibition of modern architecture in the US, looks at modern architecture and said he wanted to break the stereotype that it was an environmentally disruptive style of building.

Professor Bone said, through his exhibition, he wanted to show that great architects were very attuned to the cycles of nature and green architecture was something that had to be at the very beginning of an architectural idea.

He also warned architectural students and architects that they needed to be in tune with nature, with a building’s site and its relationship to the sun most important to the success of the building as a sustainable product that reduced the need for energy and fuel use.

He uses the Frank Lloyd Wright Solar Hemicycle in Wisconsin as an example of a passive solar heating building.

Professor Bone said that builders using locally-sourced materials and local craftsmen were also thinking of the environment during the construction of their projects, using the example of Antonin Raymond who worked on the Imperial Hotel in Japan with Frank Lloyd Wright, and Professor Bone said these structures showed “a sense of the local”.

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.

Trash to Electric Treasure

When people think of green energy solar power or even wind power might come to mind, but what about landfills producing energy for cities?

With the carbon tax drawing near, councils are thinking green and coming up with initiatives to save money and the environment.

Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Mark Dreyfus and the Australian Government are encouraging councils to capture methane from their landfills to reduce their carbon footprint and to generate electricity.

Councils can also use captured methane to generate electricity for the local community and generate another source of income under the Renewable Energy Target.

Newcastle City Council in New South Wales currently uses its landfill gas to create enough power to supply 3000 homes.

In the US, landfills are also being used to produce electricity. In New Springfield, Ohio, a gas to electric facility to be completed at the end of this year will power about 3500 homes and produce 4.8 megawatts of eletricity.

Methane gas, which is produced in the landfill from the decomposition of waste, will be channelled into engines that are used to create electricity. This will be fed into the electricity grid and feed local homes taking pressure off traditional fossil fuels.

Australia could soon be following suit across the country, truly proving ones man’s trash is another’s treasure, or power in this case.