While many businesses continue to deny the reality of climate change, NSW building designers are standing out for their foresight and innovation in driving the creation of sustainable buildings for an imminent carbon-constrained future.
According to Luke Solly (pictured above), general manager of Colin Biggers & Paisley lawyers (CBP) and a judge of the prestigious 2009 Building Designers Association of NSW (BDANSW) Awards, this year’s crop of entries reveals an impressive commitment to the principles of eco-sensitive design across all building categories – residential, commercial and industrial.
“Entrants have really stepped up this year, often going above and beyond the baseline requirements of the Federal and State governments. They’ve shown an outstanding ability to pull together the many elements that make up a ‘green’ home – from the positioning of the building, installing energy and water-efficient systems, to using sustainable building materials and the like.
“Importantly, it’s clear that building designers are really taking the initiative to educate their clients rather than simply being dictated to, and I think they’ve found consumers to be very willing to embrace environmental features and their long-term value.”
Solly cautions, however, that the industry’s commendable efforts in promoting a green building revolution could be put at risk by inconsistent State and Federal requirements, which, in some cases, weaken the prospect of good environmental outcomes.
“For instance, the Building Code of Australia allows a building’s eco credentials to be rated in isolation, unlike some State-based requirements. Yet, by failing to take account of the structure’s surroundings such as the presence of trees and prevailing sun and breezes you could end up with a rating that may not accurately reflect its true energy efficiency. The key is for Federal regulators and State building advisory bodies to work together more closely to iron out these sorts of inconsistencies.
“Building designers, urban planners and government bodies also have a collective responsibility to ensure that future construction is based on visionary decision-making. We need to be confident that the buildings we put up today are structures that we can still be proud of in 20 or even 100 years time.”
The BDANSW Awards have been running for 15 years with over 12 awards in categories including best residence, commercial building, special purpose/public building, eco-sensitive design and renovation. The judges take several design criteria into consideration, including the utilisation of the site, exterior and interior aesthetics, environmental factors, innovation, functionality and satisfaction of the client brief.
Winners of the 2009 Awards will be announced on 19 September 2009 at the BDANSW Annual Conference.
Luke Solly was formerly chief executive of the Building Designers Association of Australia. Prior to entering senior management, he lectured at the University of Newcastle in the field of Computer Aided Design and for seven years before that ran his own building design business.