As a species we have now reached the point where over 50% of us live in cities. Once a location of choice, cities are now locations of necessity. Sustainable cities need strong local government - local government that can facilitate sustainable outcomes. Melbourne has, since 1985, navigated a path towards a sustainable future. A future that is creative, culturally vital, physically pleasing and hopefully environmentally neutral by 2020.
From the basic use of ‘built to last’ solutions for our footpaths and street furniture, through to major projects like Postcode 3000, QV, Birrarung Marr and many others, the City of Melbourne through good design and project management has set a mandate for city improvements.
Its latest project, Council House 2 (CH2), which was in April 2005 the first multi-storey commercial office building to receive the six star design rating from the Green Building Council of Australia under the Green Star rating system, is an example of the political and administrative approach to setting in place an active program of long term agendas and change management.
Visionary approach to ESD
CH2 is a visionary new building with the potential to change forever the way Australia, indeed the world, approaches ecologically sustainable design. When faced with the requirement to address its own office accommodation needs, the City of Melbourne embarked on a project to embrace the next generation of office building design and to breathe life into an under-used pocket of the city adjacent to the Melbourne Town Hall. It has constructed a building that is innovative, creative, technologically advanced, environmentally sustainable and financially responsible.
Emissions will be 64% less than a five-star building, and when compared with the City of Melbourne’s existing Council House is expected to reduce electricity consumption by 85%, gas consumption by 87%, reduce mains water requirements by 72% and produce only 13% of the emissions. By reducing water and energy consumption, CH2’s reliance on public infrastructure is small. A comprehensive eco-audit of the materials used in CH2 assessed all aspects of the manufacture and transportation of materials in relation to their effect on the environment and the occupants of the building.
CH2 has been designed to be a holistic and all-inclusive system with its occupants as participants. The design follows a model that promotes a more interactive role between the city and nature, acting more like an ecosystem in which all parts depend on each other.
The City of Melbourne began construction of the new building in 2004 and Council staff will occupy the building from mid-October 2006. For more information see www.melbourne.vic.gov.au and click on "Environment and Waste" button at top of page. All research work that is being undertaken in connection with the CH2 project will be made publicly available via this site.
Also in UDFQ 75: September 2006:
- The Suburban Backyard - its meaning and use in the contemporary suburb
- Interculturalism and the built environment
- Is money all that matters in Sin City?
- ‘Meeting Again’ - Melbourne’s new Sandridge Bridge precinct
- What value is urban design?
- ‘Petrol hits $5 a litre’
- Urban Design Fast Track WA
- Prestigious design competition for Antarctic Gateway
- New King George Square goes sub-tropical