by Romilly Madew…

GreenHouse: “reduce, reuse, recycle”

Just in the last few weeks, the Green Building Council of Australia’s fitout of its Sydney office – the GreenHouse – was short-listed for a National Interior Design Award.

We’re particularly excited about this award nomination, which demonstrates that even small, low cost and fast fitouts can achieve high environmental standards.

One of only three short-listed fitouts in the Sustainable Design category, the GreenHouse will be competing against The Gauge and SA Water.

The 800 square metre space has been developed as a sustainability showcase and to support GBCA’s rapidly expanding team and dynamic culture.

The fitout took less than five months to complete, and was delivered within a tight budget. Bligh Voller Neild (BVN) designed the fitout, Lincolne Scott provided engineering services and Schiavello delivered building works.

A range of sustainable initiatives was included in the fitout. Most notably, a grey water treatment system was installed for toilet flushing, while light shelves manage radiant heat loads and a raised floor provides a displacement air system.

We embraced the concepts of “reduce, reuse, recycle”, ensuring we kept our costs down and delivered a truly green interior. We reduced the amount of plasterboard and ceiling tiles required by choosing exposed ceilings, reused items from our previous tenancy, and recycled second hand furniture such as café chairs and lounges in our common area, where staff can share a bite to eat and their green ideas.

Other inexpensive green ideas include worm farms – we have two, both of which are fed by food scraps generated by the GBCA staff. And a living green wall is featured behind the reception area, serving both a functional and decorative purpose. The plants act as biofilters, converting CO2 into oxygen, bringing the outside environment inside the office, and providing visual privacy.

The GreenHouse embodies the principles of sustainable building, and is used as a teaching tool for visiting project teams. At the same time it has supported the development of a dynamic and evolving culture at the GBCA.

Winners of the National Interior Design Awards will be announced on 1 May in Melbourne, and if successful, BVN Architecture will be presented with an award for its work on the GreenHouse.

The GreenHouse is currently registered to achieve a Green Star rating. Member organisations, overseas delegations, universities and schools are all regular visitors to the GreenHouse to see first hand the ways in which they too can design, construct and work in sustainable spaces. If you’d like to take a tour, contact Melissa Houghton, Marketing Manager at the Green Building Council of Australia.

Romilly Madew is chief executive, Green Building Council of Australia