In recent times Australian industry and design have seen some of the most innovative designs in our history. Time and time again, these innovative and state of the art buildings are being linked with green building concepts. It is apparent that Green Building is no longer a bonus. It is a statement.
Making waves in Melbourne are the Grollo family and their 100 million construction project. The renowned company Grocon have recently acquired the former Carlton and United Brewery site on Swanston in Melbourne’s Inner city and plan to undertake a construction venture not seen before.
The project brief is the construction of a completely wooden high-rise building.
What makes this new Grocon venture so unique is that the building will be 100% carbon neutral. After the company’s huge success with the Pixel Building as the country’s only carbon neutral office building, the Delta apartment building project plans to follow suit.
The building will consist of approximately 75-95 sqm of flat packed European timber that will make up the proposed 50 apartments. The especially coated soft wood panels will be the main material for the entire 10-story structure, lining walls, floors and elevator shafts.
Delta has been designed under the European “Passive House” model. That is quite simply, a building that uses extremely little space for heating and cooling, therefore having an ultra-low energy output.
The sustainable aspects of the project include a gas-fired electrical generator powered by waste woodchips, a rainwater tank and a grey-water recycling system. These simple initiatives will culminate to give the extraordinary new building the carbon neutral status.
Company heads have indicated that a reason for the construction of the building is the federal government’s proposed carbon tax. They are attempting to evolve the way in which traditional construction and design efforts are undertaken in an extremely creative and innovative way.
The design has been most closely linked to Stadthaus in East London’s Hackney. The building is a culmination of British architects Thistleton and engineering company Technike. Originally through to be the tallest completely wooden building, Delta is expected to be one story higher.
While concerns of low acoustic performance and fire danger may arise, both of these issues have been evaluated in the former Stadthaus. While constructions made solidly from timber traditionally have lower fire safety and acoustic qualities, the solid cross-laminated timber used throughout is thick enough and strong enough to alleviate both concerns. The timber is also known to char, rather than combust, with the coating allowing for further protection.
It seems with the company’s world-renowned success with the Eureka Towers Project, and most recently the Pixel Building they are in no short supply of innovation and creativity. Their attempt at creating an industry standard is to be applauded in light of the current global climate, and will most surely have a large effect on said industry. If Delta is the standard that new inner cities structures would aim for, then we could see the beginnings of a carbon neutral city of Melbourne.