Responsibility for plastic pollution starts at the top

If the corporate world wants to play a meaningful role in solving our plastic pollution crisis it should stop blaming consumers and start accepting responsibility for its packaging.

Timber, a material with a bundle of challenges, all worth it

The Fifth Estate last week moderated a panel on timber at an event at timber 25 King Street, Brisbane, the 10-storey timber office building. The event was organised by Bates Smart and Aurecon as part of the Brisbane Open House program. The following is a report based on interviews ahead of the event and on […]

Victoria tackles flammable cladding: safety “fix” or confidence trick?

 In July, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and the state’s minister for planning, Richard Wynne, trumpeted that $600 million would tackle Victoria’s high-rise cladding crisis. It was paraded as a safety solution for owners of affected buildings but the “fix” was a contemptible confidence trick.

A trillion dollar industry to turn carbon into useful materials

Imagine turning the CO2 from steel and cement into something useful, such as building materials. That’s the role that emerging technologies could play in meeting our emission reduction targets the Siemens Digitalise conference in Brisbane heard last week.

The building mess: ministers are meeting – we’re all looking at you now

One bunch of owners of a building with defective cladding is shouldering the cost of façade replacement itself – to the tune of $300,000 – instead of chasing the builders or other parties. Is this what poor building quality has come to? Looks like it.

The property sector and the war on waste

Maybe it’s more a quiet revolution, rather than a war, moving through the industry as the property titans take up the issue of waste.

Glulam making its way from buildings to bridges

Glulam is making its way from buildings to bridges, becoming a cost-effective, viable and sustainable alternative to steel and concrete, according to research out of South Dakota State University in the US.

5 next generation technologies for low-carbon cooling

Robotic shading and smart facade materials that breathe could cool buildings by up to 5°C and reduce the need for airconditioning by 25 per cent, according to the Spain’s Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC).

Would more people buy solar panels if they were green?

Green solar panels that blend in with nature; red solar panels on a terracotta roof; white solar hidden on a wall. Researchers have discovered a way to turn typically black and blue solar panels a shade of green, and potentially any colour imaginable.

How HVAC can step up to a net zero world

Data centres sharing waste heat with the next-door swimming pool, super efficient facades, renewables, storage, phase-change materials, solar cooling, natural ventilation and personalised comfort control. Welcome to the future of net zero HVAC as predicted by experts.

Concrete made from wood. How about that!

Swiss researchers may have found a radical way to make concrete greener, lighter and easier to recycle – by manufacturing it from wood.

Some action at last on non-compliant work and non-conforming products

Sweeping audits of high-rise buildings, new taskforces and a new reporting hub for suspected non-conforming products are among initiatives announced in the past week as authorities race to stop a Grenfell Tower-like fire from happening here. Chair of the Building Ministers’ Forum and assistant minister for industry, innovation and science Craig Laundy this week announced […]

Eco concrete found buried by the Romans

From Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory A team of researchers working at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) used X-rays to study samples of Roman concrete — from an ancient pier and breakwater sites — at microscopic scales to learn more about the makeup of their mineral cements. The […]

Green Cities: Timber is the disruption this industry needs

When you get timber design right, working with different professions, it’s like beautiful music – says UK architect Andrew Waugh. But timber buildings are also like a tsunami – the UK has 500 already and his firm is “run off its feet” with demand. Designing with timber means learning to move away from a concrete and […]