What makes The Commons an award-winning, sustainable building?
We will keep the list short. It uses ultra-efficient lighting. It has solar panels on the roof. Its location enables cycling, walking, and using public transport. It features recycled bricks and unfinished timber floorboards to minimise waste and enable reuse…
The Commons is not merely a building that makes a loud statement on sustainability. It’s a benchmark that sheds light on the future of Australia’s construction industry.
But before we look into the future, we need to recognize today’s challenges.
Sustainable buildings: what makes them a necessity?
Climate change is here
But what is the role of the construction industry in this? How exactly does it contribute to climate change?
Dry figures first.
It turns out “the buildings and buildings construction sectors combined are responsible for 36% of global final energy consumption and nearly 40% of total direct and indirect CO2 emissions”, states the International Energy Agency.
Of course, the number of required dwellings will vary based on the population growth rate and household income capabilities. However, research by Australia’s Housing Industry Association (HIA) indicates that on average Australia will need to build 184,807 new dwellings per year “to successfully house our growing and ageing population.”
The third challenge makes the matters even worse…
Electricity bills are hitting hard
We know this first-hand. Month after month we part with our hard-earned money to pay our bills.
The Government also takes on the responsibility for reducing gas emissions – all new buildings must operate at net zero carbon by 2030 and all buildings must achieve a net zero emissions target by 2050.
Australia has to meet these net zero targets. Being a signatory to the Paris Agreement, it has taken on the responsibility of fighting climate change through implementing more sustainable and greener practices.
This means less electricity bills and less impact on the environment.
Two major rating tools are outlined in the NCC to assess sustainability features of buildings: Green Star and NatHERS which set minimum requirements for energy efficiency for all new buildings and major renovations.
The steps to a greener and more sustainable living environment also resonate with what changes people want to see in their cities.
Strategic plans: Sydney and Melbourne are going sustainable
The two biggest cities of Australia – Sydney and Melbourne – have already developed their strategic plans. These documents also reflect survey results on what kind of city residents would like to live in.
Improve air quality and make Melbourne a greener city.
Adopt greater energy efficiency standards.
Make a big shift to public transport.
Increase recycling of non-domestic wastes.
Of course, the whole infrastructure should be considered to achieve such outcomes. But the major takeaway is: all of these strategic goals are already affecting the way architects design and build residential buildings.
And there is no going back.
Looking ahead: the demand for environmentally aware professionals.
You are left with one option: to adapt your skills and knowledge to meet the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s building practices.
Not to stumble in confusion, a look forward is key to ensure you are walking the right path.
Where we locate our buildings, what building materials we use, what solutions we put into practice – from now on these questions must be viewed through the lenses of sustainability.
We will need professionals who will take the green techniques to execution and will transform the way we live and work.
We will need architects, builders, and engineers who know how to deal with sustainable building materials.
We will need professionals who can accurately quantify and improve the environmental performance of our buildings.
We will need specialists who will be experts in building codes and regulations and can assess buildings for sustainability.
Whether you are considering a new career path or want to revamp your skills and knowledge to meet the market’s demand, Back to Basics provides online courses designed specifically to suit the Australian Construction Industry.
Earning your Certificate or Diploma is quick, simple and easy with the help of expert tutors and learning materials developed by builders for builders.