A view on sustainable design

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A kaleidoscope of butterflies welcomed us to Anton’s house.  I was amazed not only at the number of them, but also by how relaxed and at home they seemed, even with a few less-than-delicate humans ambling around.  After seeing the amazing variety of plants Anton has growing throughout his yard, walls, roofs and hot house, it is not surprising they were so comfortable.
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As you get taken in by the beauty of the property, it is easy to forget that so many aspects of the house serve a well thought out purpose.
  • The green roof insulates and protects the roof beneath it, while providing an extension of the landscape
  • The rooftop solar panels provide essential power, yet blend in elegantly with the surrounding green roof
  • The front garden is visually striking but designed specifically to prevent runoff common on steep slopes.

3- stormwater managment system main sediment pond

Anton’s house offered so much more than I expected. I recommend that anyone who gets the opportunity to come and see it for yourself.

A haven of sustainable design

A visit to Anton’s ‘Machu Picchu’ inspired home is an experience you are unlikely to forget. Perched amongst the gums and above the city, the house combines sustainable design principles with artistic vision to create a rocky outcrop home which is both beautiful and efficient.

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Sustainability and care for the environment are reflected in everything from the home’s position, to the choice of certified timbers and low VOC paint. Walking up the driveway, plants and gardens sprout out from every direction, from the storm water garden on your left, to the very walls and roofs of the house.

10a Front Balcony       3- stormwater managment system main sediment pond

And the experience does not stop when you walk in the door. Biophilic elements can be found in almost every room of the house. From the plants tucked into the walls and corners which help to filter the air, to the combination of natural light, timber and warm stone. The overall feeling is one of natural refuge and comfort.

4- Front Entry Water Wall

Atop the final roof of the house, a pattern of plants and solar panels work in harmony to increase the energy efficiency of the home. Over hot summer days, the plants help to cool the panels down so that they can continue producing energy, while the panels create small microclimates which protect the plants from wind and exposure.

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As a former architecture student, I have seen my share of innovative buildings, but for many, the key goal is to reduce the environmental impact of a building, rather than contributing something positive to the site. The truly unique building is one which succeeds not just in reducing its impacts, but which brings beauty and positive design into play.

This is what makes Anton’s home truly unique.

Want to learn more? Join us on an exclusive tour of the site: http://www.slf.org.au/event/exclusive-green-roof-solar-tour/

Boosting productivity

‘I was almost distracted by how amazing it is,’ Do it on the Roof’s consultant Pip Hildebrand reported of One Central Park in Sydney.

The view from the Penthouse at One Central Park

The view from the Penthouse at One Central Park

It is moments of distraction like Pip’s that are all-important in improving the functioning of our brains and increasing productivity. Visual, and better still, physical access to nature restores the mind’s ability to focus. And people who are focused perform better at school and work.

Access to nature also alleviates mental stress and cuts the number of days when staff are absent. These effects are good for productivity too. Check out this article, which finds that offices which provide nature boost productivity by 15%.

http://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/news/biophilic-architecture-building-better-buildings-f

It’s no surprise that cutting edge offices are turning to nature to improve employee health and performance.

We know how important productivity is to our corporate clients, and we look forward to helping them achieve their objectives through natural beauty and creative gardens.

One Central Park from street level.

One Central Park from street level.

 

Sydney hosts World Green Infrastructure Congress

One Central Park

One Central Park

 

One Central Park

One Central Park

Spring 2014 saw Australia play host to the G20. True but less publicised: Australia also hosted the world’s premier green infrastructure congress.

In October, the Do It On the Roof team joined industry experts and green infrastructure enthusiasts to discuss the latest research and innovations.

Innovators explained new technology and planning techniques. Conversations roamed from international projects to the role of green infrastructure in tempering climate change.

The range of participants in these discussions is growing. It’s an exciting time to be a member of the industry.

 

Above all, the new projects developing right here in Australia inspired Do it on the Roof. We were delighted to visit some of the city’s most sophisticated gardens on roofs and walls.

Seeing green infrastructure in action in Sydney’s springtime gave us a lot of food for thought. Watch this space next edition to see how we are turning these ideas into action.

 

World Green Infrastructure Congress (WGIC) Image Gallery

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One Central Park

One Central Park

Measuring Melbourne’s natural capital

Fitzroy Gardens

Fitzroy Gardens BioBlitz

The weekend of November 16th marked the end of the City of Melbourne’s BioBitz, a two week survey of local biodiversity in Melbourne’s parks, green roofs and spaces.

Do It On the Roof, along with members of the local community and experts from the Museum of Victoria, University of Melbourne, RMIT and Zoos Victoria, joined in the effort in the Fitzroy Gardens.

This was the first city-wide biological survey of its kind conducted in Melbourne.

We were impressed by the turn out: twenty people for the first of several low key, hour-long sessions in just one of the places in the survey, on a Friday morning. Clearly Melbournians care about nature, big and small, and care for interacting with it within their city.

The results of the survey are to be announced at the next Canopy green roof forum, and the council will draw on them in developing its rigorous Strategy for Urban Ecology.

Do it on the Roof looks forward to exploring both findings and Strategy. Stay tuned to learn more.

For Canopy, Melbourne’s green roof forum, see http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/Sustainability/CouncilActions/Pages/CanopyMelbourneGreenRoofForum.aspx

Melbourne's Fitzroy Gardens

Melbourne’s Fitzroy Gardens

Going back to our roots

When November, with its sweet showers, comes around, it is time for Do it on the Roof to go back to its roots, and we go to graduation night at Melbourne’s Centre for Sustainable Leadership.

We wasted no time getting onto the big ideas. Pouring champagne, Geoff Gourlay, director of NuGreen Solutions and alumni of CSL 2008, confessed to involvement in hiring a cruise liner to take Australia’s top 117 entrepreneurs to Antarctica for a “think tank on steroids”. They’re called the Unstoppables. http://unstoppables.com.au/

Two graduating fellows gave speeches. To our delight, one was Veronica Munro, who spoke frankly of what it means to be brave.

CSL Graduate, Veronica Munro

CSL Graduate, Veronica Munro

Do it on the Roof first met Veronica when she was working for a sustainable construction company. From conversations about green roofs, big things grow, and we are proud to say that we drew Veronica’s attention to this great leadership program. Nor are we averse to taking a little cheeky bathe in her glory.

Congratulations Veronica!

The other fellow who spoke was Damon O’Sullivan.

CSL Graduate, Damon

CSL Graduate, Damon

Damon described the factors which, fifty years ago, led scientists to fell the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine tree Prometheus to investigate how old it was. They discovered Prometheus, at just under 5000 years old, had been the oldest tree in the world. The species is not expected ever to germinate again.

The outrage which followed inspired the modern sustainability movement.

People are not evil. That’s not the problem, Damon said: problems arise for the environment simply when we fail to recognise that we are interfering with something greater than ourselves.

We agree. And with Damon’s ability to distil the essence of the problem with direct lucidity, we anticipating hearing much more of him.

Congratulations to all the fellows and good luck with your projects. You’re inspiring to watch.

Apply by 22 February 2015 to be considered for CSL’s next program.  csl.org.au/apply