Urban Ecology Australia(UEA) is a non-profit, community-based organization, promoting urban settlements which are appealing and ecology friendly. Created in 1991, this organization’s goal is to make all housing ecologically sustainable and economically viable communities which are also great places in which to live. UEA is based in Adelaide, South Australia, and is also United Nations accredited. One project initiated by the UEA is Christie Walk.
Christie Walk is a unique 2000 square meter area near central Adelaide consisting of a number of townhouses, apartments and cottages housing about 40 residents. The buildings are designed to use many ecologically friendly features making this area much more sustainable than average households. It was built as an example of ecology friendly building design to show how this can be accomplished and to promote ecology friendly urban housing.
These are some of the features:
*Storm water is stored and used to water the gardens and in the toilets.
*Heating, cooling, and humidity are controlled with breezes, sunlight and vegetation.
*Hot water and electric power are obtained from solar panels.
*There is an on-site rooftop community food garden.
*Recycled, non-toxic and insulating materials were used in construction.
*Cars are much less important due to its position near public transportation and the city and shops.
*Healthier interior spaces are achieved by avoiding products containing damaging toxins and the absence of artificial air conditioning.
This is the first housing development in South Australia to win the Award for Good Practice (Silver prize) sponsored by the Asian-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED). It is also the first South Australian finalist in the international Habitat Awards which are sponsored by the Building and Social Housing Foundation.
Council House 2:
One of Australia’s most ecology friendly and healthiest office buildings is Council House 2 (CH2), a 10 story building in central Melbourne, opened in 2006. Sustainable technology is used throughout CH2. These are some of its features:
Fresh cool air is ducted to floor-ducts on each floor from the cooler south side of the building. Excess heat is absorbed by a thermal mass in the concrete above each water-cooled ceiling. Warm air is extracted by wind powered turbines on the roof from ceiling ducts in the warmer north side of the building. The west side of the building is shaded by solar powered shades that follow the sun’s position.
About 100 kilolitres of water a day is extracted from the local sewer by the water-mining plant in the basement. This water is used in toilets, pot plants, fountains, and in cooling this and other buildings.
Council House 2 is a United Nations award-winning building and represents a new standard in ecology and people friendly building design. In April 2005, CH2 was awarded six Green Stars (the maximum obtainable) by the Green Building Council of Australia which represents world leadership in office building design. The CH2 project is the first office building in Australia to achieve the six Green Star certified rating.
Water Resources Building:
SA Water’s new 10-story headquarters, which is currently under construction in Adelaide, is the first building in South Australia and the third in Australia to gain a 6 Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). Designed by HASSELL, this is the first commercial building in Australia to receive 6 stars.
South Australian Premier Mike Rann said ‘we are delighted to see this important milestone achieved, as we work towards our legislated target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the State by at least 60 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050”.
Some sustainable design features noted in awarding the 6 Star Green Star – Office Design v1 Certified Rating are as follows:
The greenhouse gas emissions during the base building development and the office construction were about 60% less than the average. The building materials and products used contained the minimum of toxic chemicals. The building has on site rainwater tanks, a vertical glass veil which shades the west side of the building, sun-shades on the north side, automatic blinds on the external windows, good access to natural light via external double glazed windows, sensors which automatically turn off lights when there is enough natural light, water efficient taps, toilets and waterless urinals, and special areas to recycle any waste.
Urban Ecology Australia is actively helping make ecologically friendly and sustainable buildings a standard in Australia. It has successfully finished a number of projects constructing well designed workplaces and residences with sustainability in mind. This will help to set the standard and offer models for other building projects which want to reach the goal of sustainability.
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“Christie Walk”. Urban Ecology Australia. Accessed 25 Feb 2008. <http://www.urbanecology.org.au/christiewalk/>
“Council House 2 – Introduction.” CH2 Setting a new standard in green building design. City of Melbourne. Accessed 25 Feb 2008. <http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/info.cfm?top=171&pg=1933>
“How it works.” CH2 Setting a new standard in green building design. City of Melbourne. Accessed 25 Feb 2008. <http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/info.cfm?top=171&pg=1943>
“Six Star Green Star Rating Coup for VS1 Building - First for South Australia” HASSELL. Accessed 25 Feb 2008. <http://www.hassell.com.au/detail/news/news_1.html>
Urban Ecology Australia. Accessed 25 Feb 2008. <http://www.urbanecology.org.au/>
ReaA. IMGP1679 sustainable house water tanks. Flickr.com. 23 July 2006. Accessed 25 Feb 2008. <http://flickr.com/photos/raeallen/196557684/>
ReaA. “Urban Water Tanks”. Flickr.com. 5 May 2007. <http://flickr.com/photos/raeallen/485632264/>
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