On an old industrial site in Adelaide, an ambitious project is underway to build Australia’s most sustainable apartment block.
The Prince’s Charities Australia, Renewal SA and Defence Housing Australia (DHA) are working together to construct the country’s first six-star, green star apartments.
They are being built under strict Green Building Council of Australia guidelines and will use 50 per cent less electricity and potable water than standard households.
“The materials are all sourced in an environmentally sustainable way, while maximising the local materials to reduce the carbon footprint,” DHA regional manager James Wallace said.
“Every nut, bolt, piece of timber is certified as a sustainable product.”
Nothing is the norm
Builder Daniel Palumbo has more than three decades in the construction industry, but said this project had provided him with many firsts.
“One of the challenges is finding trades [people] who have experience with the new products that are available for these kinds of builds,” he said.
The use of foam block, slurry concrete walls and double-glazed windows meant the apartments’ insulation levels would be more than double that of normal brick.
The apartments are also being fitted with roof ventilators, wall grills and ceiling fans to reduce air conditioner and heater use.
“The core filling [of the walls] to get the environmental ratings that we wanted has fire ash and slag mixed into the concrete,” Mr Palumbo said.
“We have double-glazed windows, sustainably sourced timber, locally sourced steel, water-efficient fixtures, and environmentally friendly plasterboard, carpets, doors and hardware.
“Absolutely everything that has gone into the build is not the norm of what goes into a normal house.”
Almost all waste recycled
For contracts manager Jayden Tucker, every piece of the project must be validated and accounted for — including when it is no longer needed.
Waste at the site is being sorted into three industrial bins; for general, concrete and steel waste.
“The steel and the concrete is recycled 100 per cent,” Mr Tucker said.
“Overall we have been recycling [waste] at about 97 per cent.”
“This is a direction that the industry is heading,” the DHA’s Mr Wallace said.
“This is a project we have undertaken as a demonstration so that we can learn how we can do things better in our future developments.”
The apartments are expected to be completed by November.