Create from a Crate

Every year hundreds of thousands of crates and pallets are imported into Australia. Most of these end up in landfill and in Victoria alone, over 500,000 tonnes of timber waste is dumped each year – that’s enough to fill the MCG 1.5 times over.

Ward Petherbridge from Waste Converters Recycling launched the exhibition as a way of educating the community about wood-packaging waste. ‘Our business recycles over 20,000 tonnes of packaging waste annually. Much of the timber processed is from exotic foreign timber species including oak, cherry, maple and elm. On-site we repair and re-purpose a significant volume of timber pallets but unfortunately a percentage still gets pulverised into low-grade mulch. The exhibition goes some-way towards preserving and showcasing the inherent beauty of timber waste,’ said Petherbridge.

An entrant in this year’s competition, Kristen Montgomery from Sneaky Boarding design, says that there is a the feeling of accomplishment you receive once you have completed a project that started off looking like a beaten and broken crate and now looks like a beautiful piece of furniture.

The Victorian Woodworkers Association will be at the Timber and Working with Wood Show this weekend at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to promote Create from a Crate. Entries close on the 31st October 2013. An exhibition will take place in both metro Melbourne and Ballarat in February and March 2014.

More information >

Image: Banksy Buffet by Sneaky Boarding design, made from recycled pallets and skateboard decks.

Point-of-use electric hot water systems future proof

Researchers from RMIT’s Centre for Design have for the first time compared the impact across the life cycle of a gas centralised hot water system with a point-of-use instant electric system in medium and high-density apartment buildings.

“Our findings show there are significant opportunities today, and in coming years, for point-of-use electric systems to perform better than gas and solar-boosted gas, in greenhouse gas emissions and energy demand,” says Alan Pears, Senior Lecturer in Environment and Planning at RMIT.

The study has revealed the need for greater flexibility in Australian building policies to support innovation in future-proof technologies.

“Because of their strong energy efficiency, point-of-use electric hot water systems could also be the choice to ensure future-proofing of developments, as future grid emission reductions combine with efficiency for strong environmental outcomes” says Alan.

While the study found gas currently scored better on greenhouse gas emissions in coal-reliant Victoria over the life cycle, the electric system could perform better with green power now and in coming decades (with more grid renewable energy).

Translating the findings to warmer states that have more green power feeding into their grids showed that the point-of-use system already performs better for average hot water use and on greenhouse gas emissions in the smaller building.

Read the full report here

Mildura Eco Living Centre

Opened in June, the goals of this community-driven project are to inspire and educate. The centre is built on degraded land that was once landfill and it’s a starting point for the site’s regeneration.

The learning space inside the centre features a curved earth wall built by the community. It fits around 40 people with smaller breakaway teaching spaces in adjacent teaching gardens. Here you can learn from experts around campfires, learn in groups at waterholes and study by yourself in cave spaces.

Passive solar design keeps temperatures inside fairly steady with further heating provided by 16 watt fans circulating air through nine solar air collectors. A rock bed underneath the building stores this heat to be fanned back into the building when required.

Careful window placement provides natural ventilation and frames surrounding views for occupants. The centre’s double-layered roof system purges solar gain in summer and holds onto the heat in winter.

The centre has placed EME Design as a finalist in the Premier’s Design Awards, they are shortlisted for the BPN Sustainability awards and they won the BDAV 2013 best environmentally sustainable design (non-residential) and public buildings (new project) awards.

EME Design.