In a sophisticated industry, there are a lot of ways to ‘go green’.
Energy efficiency, sustainability and environmental responsibility are all strong terms denoting green practices and, while they sometimes cross over and are often seen as being interchangeable, this is not always the case.
Another term that can be added to the green lexicon is “long-lasting.”
Durability of materials and forms are often used as a basis for sustainable design, but something can not necessarily be deemed sustainable just because it is durable; look at the common plastic bag, which take ages to break down but are about as environmentally friendly as weed killer.
Longevity can, however, be used as an underlying principle for efficient development. Grimshaw architects are using this as a guiding basis for an infrastructural addition piece with the recently-redeveloped Nunawading Station project.
While the overall hardiness of the development was especially significant to designers given the high level of foot traffic the station receives, it is on the ground level that this focus is even more important.
Two rooftop canopies hang over the platforms, centrally anchored to column tress, with built-in skylights allowing natural sunlight to filter into the dark public spaces below. Instead of glass, EFTE pillows have been used throughout the public spaces due to its durability, low environmental impact and cost efficiency. This material protects the interior/exterior fusion spaces from the harsh elements while promoting natural light infiltration.
Prefabricated interior architecture has also been implemented due to its efficiency, with further durability achieved through the use of resistant enamel panels.
Durability alone does not automatically mean that a building is green. It can, however, play a large part in allowing a building to stand the test of time, in turn lower the monetary and environmental costs of maintenance.
While Nunawading Station is complemented by a number of other long term sustainable features, building for durability emphasises the notion that building once, in a manner that is efficient and considered removes the element of waste, thus proving itself to be, by nature, green.