BHC’s $13.9 million Green Square at Fortitude Valley today became the 50th development in Australia to receive EnviroDevelopment certification from the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA).
The mixed-use development earned the coveted accreditation for its innovative sustainable design in the areas of ecosystems, energy, water and community.
BHC’s Eloise Atkinson, who is on the Board of Directors, said environmentally friendly development was the way of the future and the not-for-profit developer would continue to incorporate eco features into its future projects.
“Creating more sustainable developments is a major focus for us going forward,” she said.
“We are looking at it from both a corporate social responsibility point of view and what buyers and end-users are increasingly searching for.
“We already develop the majority of our projects to a six-star energy rating and find that residents want to live in more sustainable developments, not just for the eco benefits but also the cost savings achieved by a design that facilitates less energy and water usage.
“Affordable housing is a major component of each project we build, making this even more important.
Green Square, which was completed in late 2010, features two levels of commercial office space and meeting rooms, along with 80 studio and one-bedroom apartments across nine levels. The apartments are managed by BHC as part of its 1200-strong affordable housing portfolio across Brisbane.
The project was developed on the site of an old Brisbane Council Depot, and was designed by renowned architects Cox Rayner.
To qualify for EnviroDevelopment accreditation – a national initiative of the UDIA based on a scientifically branded system – a project needs to meet one of six sustainability benchmarks, with Green Square meeting the mark on four, ecosystems, energy, water and community.
The development uses 20 per cent less potable water and produces 20 per cent less greenhouse gases than a standard project, with features including rainwater harvesting and an innovative seven-level interior atrium.
Ms Atkinson said the atrium was both a feature of the development and a significant environmental innovation.
“The atrium features a seven level ‘green’ wall, so visually its quite spectacular, but it also improves ventilation, light penetration and moderates the air temperature, helping to cool the building in summer and reduce the need for air-conditioning,” she said.
“It is also a great example of how an environmental feature can also have a positive effect on the overall design, and be incorporated into a project that is essentially an ‘affordable’ housing product.
“To have reached the benchmark needed for accreditation in not just one but four categories is also a credit to all those who have worked on the development, including the architects Cox Rayner.”