26/11/2009 - 00:00

Sustainable building push

26/11/2009 - 00:00


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THE shift towards sustainable building design in Perth gained further traction this month when a local office building received national recognition.

Sustainable building push

THE shift towards sustainable building design in Perth gained further traction this month when a local office building received national recognition.

Woodhead Architects received a high commendation from Building Products News for its Durack Building, at 2 Victoria Avenue in the CBD.

The Durack Building was the first in Western Australia to achieve a six-star green-star energy rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.

The building incorporates design elements such as an automated louver ventilation system, efficient chilled beam heating and cooling, and wind turbines, which provide 25 per cent of the building’s electricity needs.

Woodhead Architects regional principal John-Paul Davies said green building and sustainable building practices were becoming industry standard and were being recognised as best design practices.

Another national architecture firm, HASSELL, is also involved in sustainable building in WA, with 300,000 square metres of five- and six-star green-rated projects either currently under construction or recently completed.

Mr Davies told WA Business News Woodhead was pushing sustainable building techniques at every opportunity, whether requested by the client or not.

“We actually also have a sustainability framework that we’re trying to employ at the moment,” Mr Davies said.

“In that we believe, because the market is shifting, we can achieve pretty reasonable levels of energy reduction, water saving and the like with minimal impact on the project budget.

“We’re trying to establish ourselves a benchmark that we would do regardless of whether the client is interested or not in pursuing a sustainable rating.”

He said many of Woodhead’s clients had been supportive of green building principles.

“Clients who we have been liaising with in the last 18 months or so have been fairly well informed about the rating tools that are out there and have been fairly prescriptive in saying that they want the minimum benchmarks they want to achieve,” Mr Davies said.

But it is not just commercial office architects and developers pushing sustainable building techniques.

Hardware giant Bunnings has been incorporating sustainable building techniques into its new and existing stores, and Bunnings managing director John Gillam said the company had achieved carbon-negative growth during the past 24 to 30 months.

“We’re very focused on having a strong sustainability approach, we’re focused on the way we behave, so we’ve been doing a lot on our waste stream to reduce the amount of landfill,” he said.

“We’ve made huge inroads on what goes to landfill and what we recycle, we’re focused on our water use, we’re doing a lot of rainwater harvesting and innovative watering techniques for our nursery and we’re also doing a lot on energy use.”

“We also buy 5 per cent of our energy from renewable sources across our Australian network. We’re controlling a cost, and we’re lowering our carbon footprint.”

Mr Gillam said Bunnings had a unique opportunity to promote sustainability and green building to consumers through its network of stores and wide range of building products.

“We’re working very hard on the merchandising side of our business to make sustainability more affordable for families,” Mr Gillam said.

“It’s a big focus; we’ve found families really want to do something and we’ve been doing a lot to help them through a lot of clinics, there’s a lot of information on our website on how to use less energy and how to achieve high levels of sustainability.

“There are a lot of practical, simple things you can do to make your house cooler with less energy, and the house warmer in winter with less energy, and to do things more efficiently with other energy appliances around the house.”



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