Green Infrastructure

Creating truly livable cities requires thoughtful integration of nature and the built environment. The “concrete jungle” may be a convenient way to refer to the big city, but in the healthiest and most vibrant urban areas, it’s a bit of a misnomer. The cities to which Australians tend to flock boast a mix of natural and built features, a landscape where green space and concrete, water and glass, are interwoven, not at odds with one another. And when the “natural” environment has actually been built, designed and planned with the same attention to detail given to a retail precinct or a residential skyscraper – well, that’s what we call green infrastructure. And that’s where it gets really interesting.

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Solar Power

Recently, Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP, Minister for Resources and Energy, was on hand in Melbourne to officially launch a new project in the solar power industry. The project aims to develop a new and innovative method for manufacturing solar cells, using organic materials and a conventional printing apparatus.

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Concrete Solutions for Green Building

It has been said that concrete is the essence of all building projects. Used to make everything from dams, to pipes, to pavements, to architectural structures, to foundations, to motorways, to bridges, to parking structures, to walls, to fences, to poles and even boats, concrete in a variety of forms has been in use since ancient times. At the height of the Roman Empire, concrete using quicklime, pozzolana and pumice aggregate was developed for use in architectural construction, and the results were nothing short of revolutionary.

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The Green Building Council of Australia

The firms and professionals we feature in these pages often speak of the “Green Star” rating system. Indeed, a great many of the companies profiled here, and the buildings they create, boast impressive five- and six-star ratings. But what exactly does it mean to attain such a rating?

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Building Better Cities

On 18 May 2011, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese released Our Cities, Our Future – A National Urban Policy for a productive, sustainable and liveable future. The policy lays out the Australian Government’s long-term goals and objectives for our nation’s cities, acting as a blueprint for the coming decades. Developed by the Major Cities Unit, the policy acknowledges the diverse roles which must be played by all levels of government as well as the private sector in developing and maintaining sustainable cities, and makes clear the tremendous impact our urban centres have on securing the social, economic and environmental well-being of Australia.

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A Clear View

When speaking of a building’s environmental sustainability, it has become common practice to describe its green “envelope”. The outer shell of a building, separating the interior from what lies beyond, the envelope includes such elements as the roof, walls, foundation, and floors. All of these features can be “greened” in various ways – and in previous issues we’ve explored both green roofs and living walls – yet the installation of windows is akin to punching giant holes in that envelope.

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Australia’s Green Transport

As one of the main contributors to global warming, Australia’s transport is responsible for about 20 per cent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. A litre of petrol produces about 2.5 kg of greenhouse gases, while motor vehicle usage generates much of Australia’s local air pollution and smog, and about 90 per cent of the country’s carbon monoxide emissions.

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Pedestrian Infrastructure

In a nation facing unprecedented population growth, increasing urbanisation (and with it, suburbanisation), and the ever-present spectre of climate change, clever solutions are needed to address these disparate issues in a comprehensive and holistic way. While advances in technology, developments in housing and transit infrastructure, and investment in the construction industry certainly play their part in ensuring a sustainable future for Australia, perhaps some solutions need not be so novel. Some solutions – in place, in one way or another, since humans first came together to form communities – truly start at the ground level.

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Beating the Big Bad Wolf

For centuries, people around the world have been building homes out of straw. Historically, reeds, grasses and straw have been used in thatch roofing, as wall insulation, and woven into flooring materials; following the invention of baling machines in the late 1800s, the compact, easily managed bales enabled walls to be constructed out of this renewable and versatile material.

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Treading Lightly

Australia has long been a popular destination for travellers from around the world, thanks to its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and thriving culture. But with new environmental awareness comes a whole new breed of travel: ecotourism.

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Home Automation

Call it ‘domotics,’ and you are likely to receive a blank stare, but refer to it as ‘smart home’ or ‘home automation,’ and you will get a nod of acknowledgement. For the past few years, consumers have heard the word ‘smart’ attached to countless products and services, from food and drink to snacks like popcorn and mobile phones, which no one seems to refer to as a ‘cellphone’ anymore. Yet what, exactly, constitutes ‘smart’?

January 17, 2019, 5:26 AM AEDT