Tag Archives: sustainable

Ain't Spring grand?! dscn6547dscn6552

With the almost perfect balance of sunny days, a little humidity and regular rain recently, you would not be blamed for thinking it's a perfect Spring for gardeners. Our edible gardens certainly think so, with an abundance of wonderful produce from the garden so far this season, amazing growth on new plants and seedlings, and some lovely diversity in garden creatures.

Our intensive greens beds are flourishing. Our green manure crops have exploded. We've been harvesting at least a heaped double handful of native raspberries daily for weeks now.

Lots of things are flowering beautifully in the gardens, both edible (the end of most brassicas - feeding the bees) and ornamentals companion planted for colour and bee food (sunflowers, marigolds, rockery and cottage garden mixes and more). We're swimming in salad greens and herbs like lettuce, silverbeet, spinach, chicory, rocket, basil, parsley, coriander, ssuk (in the chrysanthemum family, loved by Asians), mountains of mizuna and cascades of snow peas. We've been making amazing kimchi with our home grown daikon and other radishes. We're still eating our way through our last harvest of potatoes - around 5 varieties that yielded around 6 to 1. And finally we're enjoying some broad beans.

While we're saying goodbye to many of the favoured winter brassicas, we're welcoming in Spring lovelies like corn, more herbs, more lettuce varieties, rainbow chard, re-veined sorrel, amaranth, warrigal greens, more spinach, okra, pumpkins, various cucumbers, eggplants, chillies, more flowers and lots of legumes. I'm excited to be growing a variety of Korean black bean I brought back from our recent trip to Korea, as well as an old friend like Borlotti.

The chickens seem to be enjoying the change in seasons also, with more sunny spots to enjoy throughout the day, a daily flourish of spent brassica greens and regular lawn cuttings from neighbours over the fence, now that grass is growing again. In my opinion and experience, Autumn and Spring are the best growing seasons and time to enjoy the garden in Brisbane. Once the humidity and heat of Summer comes to stay, it isn't as pleasant, but it's still great to be outside in the Summer early mornings and late afternoons when the temps are cooler. Viva la Spring!

It’s easy to go green in and around homes and businesses, because ultimately we can change and control our environments a lot more than we think. Once we change our habits and behaviours and a few physical things, being green is easier than Kermit the frog. But what about the actual design and development of high-rise buildings, with multiple stories and floors, miltiple tonnes of materials and the compexity of power, water and waste onsite for high-rises? Well, with some smart planning and the willingness to go green upwards, some high-rises have outdone themselves while saving the environment.

One such example is Brisbane’s Santos Place (previously named Northbridge) in Turbot Street, completed in March 2009. Some very savvy designers and developers were involved in this amazing eco-friendly high-rise building, resulting in a 6-star Green Star ESD (environmentally sustainable design) and 5-star target NABERS (national Australian built environment rating system) building.

For the environmentally and construction savvy, the following features of the building are impressive. For lay people, you’ll recognise some amazing features – the rest, well, rest assured, they are eco-friendly advanced:


  • Energy efficiency achieves 5-star NABERS Energy rating
  • Tenancy sub-metering enables effective energy monitoring
  • Tri-Generation solution provides 1.2mW of electrical, heating and cooling energy
  • C-Bus/DALI lighting control system allows daylight harvesting of natural light and occupancy-based control
  • Energy efficient T5/LED lighting
  • Variable speed drives on most fans and pumps for greater demand control and increased energy efficiency
  • Regeneration load lifts, creating energy for reuse within the building from an integral braking control system
  • entire building uses one-third of the energy used in similar sized office buildings


  • 90,000L water storage capacity for fire system test drain-down and irrigation
  • showers, taps and urinals are 5A plus rating
  • 120,000L water storage reused for bathroom facilities with greywater recycling


  • Low ozone depletion potential (ODP) refrigerants
  • Refrigerant leak detection
  • On-site storm water filtration

Building materials

  • PVC minimisation
  • Use of sustainable timber (FSC)
  • Use of recycled content of concrete and recycled steel

Land use and ecology

  • Reuse of land that had previously been developed
  • Development has minimal ecological impact


  • Secure bicycle storage facilities, lockers, showers and change rooms for over 240 people


  • More than 25% peak load energy reduction
  • Flexible fire sprinkler head connections
  • Return Air CO2/VOC sensors on floor
  • Water consumption minimisation through cooling tower purification
  • Wide range of passive energy efficient technologies
  • 60% floorplan receives natural light
  • Roof mounted sun sensors automatically operate blinds to shield direct sunlight glare
  • Reinforced, double-glazed windows
  • Performance Façade limits heat absorption

Indoor environment quality

  • High levels of air change effectiveness and thermal comfort
  • Carbon dioxide monitoring and control
  • Thermal modelling to optimise comfort levels
  • Low-VOC paint, carpets, sealants and adhesives throughout the building
  • Chilled filtered water fountains


  • Green Star Accredited Professional engaged from commencement of design phase
  • 12-month commissioning building tuning period including quarterly reviews and final recommissioning after 12 months of operation
  • Appointment of an Independent Commissioning Agent to ensure optimal building performance
  • Comprehensive building users’ guide
  • Environmental management plan
  • Comprehensive waste management plan to divert 80% of contruction waste from landfill

Here's a list of all the professionals involved in the design, construction and ongoing management of this building.

Address: Santos Place, 32 Turbot Street, Brisbane

Developer: Nielson Properties

ESD/Green Star Consultant: Viridis E3 and Hutchison Builders

Architect: Donovan Hill

Building Contractor: Hutchison Builders

Electrical: Q Electrical

Fire: Spectrum Fire

Hydraulics: GTS Plumbing

Structural: Alliance Design Group

Façade: Yuanda Australia

Mechanical & ESD Modelling: Hastie Air Conditioning & EMF Griffiths

Project Management & Construction: RCP & Hutchison Builders

Acoustics: Ron Rumble