Our approach to environmental sustainability is conceived in a holistic manner - an essential part of the design process. Decisions that relate to architectural design, materials selection and construction techniques are made on a rational and informed basis allowing alternatives to be assessed against the social impact and cost to the environment. These choices of materials and systems help reduce maintenance costs and allow for longer life cycles.
Sustainable design is integral to all our work and we see sustainability is an opportunity rather than an onerous obligation. Our team understands and embraces sustainability as a whole - close collaboration and interaction are the real drivers towards value and sustainability.
Key projects that incorporate and demonstrate our environmental approach include:
Canberra Glassworks - heat reclaim from glass furnaces for heating water of the in-slab heating system; reuse of the condenser pits below the building for water storage and daily wash down of workshops and reuse of timber on site for new seating. Overall theses strategies are designed to reduce the potable water consumption by up to 70% and will save approximately 200 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. The passive systems have been developed to provide up to three times the amount of fresh air into the space than conventional systems.
212-218 Cumberland Street, The Rocks - This adaptive reuse was registered with the GBCA for a 5 Star Green Star rating. Initiatives developed included designs for solar powered glass ventilation shafts through the commercial office floors to assist natural ventilation in a building exposed to traffic noise from the Bradfield Highway; roof terrace for tenant recreational use, energy efficient lighting and appliances, water efficient appliances, bicycle racks and change rooms / toilets on the ground floor near the carpark.
Joan Freeman Science and Technology Centre - This new project now under construction at SCEGGS Darlinghurst has used the Green Building Council of Australia Green Star Education Pilot programme during the design phase to guide sustainable direction for the new building.
The Practice also has initiatives in place to minimise the impact of our own enterprise. An environmental audit was undertaken in 2007 that identified significant environmental impacts of our operations and measured our carbon footprint, with the critical environmental impact being outdated office lighting. To address this and other workplace shortcomings, our studios underwent a complete renewal which included new lighting systems with energy efficient lamps; new carpet tiles with a high recycled content and low VOC paints. The fitout has been designed to be dismantled and reused. The office also provides bicycle storage and a shower for cyclists.
Recently, management has undertaken to significantly reduce the number of printers and photocopiers over the 3 levels of the building and to review its practices on printing which will reduce energy consumption and reduce paper use. Recycled Australian made paper is used in all printing.