Nicholas Bandounas, director of Scott Carver, says the Australian market is risk averse when it comes to using sustainable building materials.
He says the industry is looking to Europe for inspiration and to ensure that new sustainable materials like recycled concrete are in fact a feasible material to use in construction.
It should be noted that the construction industry is a heavy consumer of raw materials and contributes around 39% of global carbon emissions, according to the World Green Building Council.
Encouraging designers and builders to use more sustainable materials – and to reuse recycled materials – is therefore a good thing. They just don’t want to take the risk unless they know it will pay off.
“You have to give customers the assurance that these new materials are tested,” says Bandounas.
“The Australian market is more conservative in our approach in general.”
This conservatism has also extended to residential buildings, with a Climate Council report in October calling Australian homes “glorified tents”.
A “significant shift in the selection and use of building materials from a sustainability perspective” has yet to occur in Australia, according to a research paper from last year.
Fortunately, 47% of industry leaders say sustainability is a top priority or concern, according to a global survey.
And there are a myriad of sustainability assessment tools (in fact, around 600 of them) designed to counter this and encourage designers and builders to improve the sustainability of their buildings.
Most are measured by sustainability categories, including water and energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, emissions, resource consumption, and waste generation.
Mr. Bandounas said The fifth state that Scott Carver has aspirations for the 6 Green Star rating with its major development at Parramatta (still in the design phase, awaiting council approval).
The 197 Church Street project is “backed by Indigenous history” with design informed by consultation with Indigenous peoples and recently won the Excellence in Design competition.
“The link through the site called ‘Ngara Nura Way’ – which means listening to the country, learning from the country and sharing the knowledge – speaks to the stories of local indigenous history,” says Bandounas.
The site includes a 32-story Intercontinental Hotel, 25 floors of commercial office space with approximately 30,000 square meters of space and significant public gathering spaces.
A 6-star green rating is the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) rating for design and construction, interior design, enclosure planning and development, and performance in a range of categories, including l energy, transport, water, materials and land use.
“We have a whole sustainability department… looking at techniques to get accreditation, what we need to do to become carbon neutral in our approach,” Bandounas says. The company is also certified as a NET Zero company according to its website.
Conservative Australian industry looks to Europe for innovation
Mr. Bandounas said The fifth state that recycled concrete is one of the circular economy materials that have been around for some time in different forms, but that customers are not yet convinced to use new materials that are not yet proven.
“Recycled concrete, etc. [and other sustainable materials] still comes out on the market – but you need to give customers the confidence that these [new and sustainable] materials are tested. We look to Europe to see what they are doing.
He says the Australian market is more conservative, “unless you have a forward-thinking client that entrepreneurs are forced to follow. [in that case] the responsibility is shared and the builder then feels more at ease.
If the customer drives innovation, builder confidence will follow
In Australia, the industry follows a model where the builder takes on more responsibility than the architect, so they tend to be risk averse in using new and innovative sustainable materials, Bandounas says.
However, he says that in government-funded public buildings, or where the client is a company pushing innovation and technology, innovation is encouraged. The industry is gaining confidence and becoming more open to risk taking.
Once these materials have been tested “in real life”, the innovation is then “filtered towards commercial projects and private projects”.
Mr Bandounas cites the 39-storey mixed-use billion dollar plus Atlassian Tower approved next to Sydney Central Station as an example of a project pushing innovation and technology towards sustainability in construction and design. operation.
At 40 stories, the world’s tallest hybrid timber design sees Atlassian working with New York-based architects SHoP and Australian firm BVN as the design team.
“At the heart of the project are three ambitious goals to reduce emissions compared to a standard office tower: run the building on 100% renewable energy, reduce operational carbon by 50% and reduce embodied carbon by 50% Zorgdrager said these targets drive a lot of design decisions, and that’s pretty unusual.
The building will also be fossil fuel free and… modeling shows it will meet the highest standards such as Green Star and LEED.
Mr Bandounas says the “biggest challenge” for designers right now is the shift to working from home caused by the pandemic, but “it’s a new world and we’re not going back to the old world, we have to so finding out how to collaborate… It’s a new way of working.
He says that in the future, this web-based collaboration could make it easy for designers to collaborate internationally.
The site of 197 Church Street in Parramatta, winner of the Scott Carver Design Excellence Competition, is in a culturally and historically significant location in Parramatta at the junction of Marsden, Church and Macquarie Street, on the site of the department store Murray Brothers built in 1926.
Scott Carver’s other projects include the Australian War Memorial, the Sydney Opera House and major commissions in the hospitality, commercial and residential sectors.
Scott Carver has also submitted a development application for an $81 million wood, concrete and steel hybrid commercial building at 32 Ricketty Street Mascot, which Bandounas says is “the first of its kind.” The 20,000 sq m building features brickwork on the exterior taking on “design elements from the precinct’s industrial heritage”.