I have been discussing several developments in Darwin, and due to my financial interests in Queensland as well, and I have some great news. The last 10 years the Australian building industry due to environmental interest, has been profiting of the great new innovations in green building, but the new key word you will hear over the next decade is “Living Buildings”.
Forget ordinary green buildings. “Living Buildings” goes way beyond that. Rather than creating buildings with an economic lifespan of 25-40 years, new eco-construction developers are looking at facilities made to last 100 to 200 years.
The new designer doesn’t just construct a building, and figure out how much energy it requires, the designers are figuring out how much energy can be created onsite. The average home for instance with only a medium sized solar panel system can create approximately 10,000kw in a year, and with advancements in solar panel technology, it is expected the same sized panels will generate double that by the turn of the decade.
In addition to using solar power, rainwater that’s collected on the roof and guttering systems can now be stored, and purified for use through-out the building. New eco-pit systems can now allow the ability for a house on an averaged sized 800sqm block to process its own sewerage.
But there’s more, new “living buildings” also include systems similar to the “signature system” used at the “Hastings over Mindil” Apartment complex, and the “Evolution building”. They function as a cerebral cortex and a nervous system, reacting to changing conditions.
External shutters reflecting light onto ceilings, automatically adjusting as the earth rotates to maximise natural light inside. Automatic louvres and windows open and close, powered by motor controlled, computer systems that monitors temperature.
New multi-storey complex’s will include energy generating elevators that generate electricity when it goes down. External stair cases surrounded by tempered glass provide not only great views of the surrounds, but also can redirect light through buildings.
Newer buildings will harbour fewer potentially toxic materials and chemicals devoid of PVC, plastic, lead, mercury, cadmium and the range of hormone mimicking chemicals. New innovations like “WET-Flash” a reformulated sealant used to provide air and water tight installations of windows, and doors, now no longer contains phthalates (hormone-mimicking chemical).
There is a new era of intelligent, sustainable urban design that operates with the knowledge of yesterday and integrates the world of tomorrow. The economic savings far outweigh the short term economic costs, and new designs have been incorporated to create suburbs that generate more power than they consume, to provide additional energy for industrial needs in other locations.