#11 Vue de Monde: 2012 Sustainability Advancement Award
The recent 2012 Interior Design Awards saw Melbourne restaurant Vue de Monde awarded the 2012 Sustainbility Advancement Award.
Their recently relocated and recipient of this award, site in Melbourne incorporates a vast range of sustainable features that deal with energy, water, materiality and products. Of note is the implementations of sustainable strategies for food waste and the sourcing of locally designed furniture. The judges commended the seamless combination of environmental initiatives and excellent interior design. They said of the project, “[it] redefines sustainable interior design.”
As a company, Vue de Monde have worked for the last 4 years to integrate as many sustainable initiatives into their venues as possible. This has included reevaluating their packaging and paper use, introducing organic composting for food waste, development of ‘kitchen gardens’, recycling of all glass bottles and use of recycled cutlery and furniture in many of their venues.
I absolutely love the aesthetics of this design. It’s nothing like what I was expecting to see when I clicked on ‘Sustainability Advancement Award’. Unfortunately, details and specifics about the environmental attributes of this project aren’t easy to come by.
In researching and writing these posts I’ve come across the term ‘ISO 14001’ a number of times when talking about sustainable products and initiatives. It was something I really wasn’t familiar with and while I assumed it was good I wasn’t actually sure what it was. So I turned to google and this is what I found.
Essentialy ISO 14000 is an internationally recognized general set a standards relating to environmental mangagment that exist to help organisations
- minimize how their oporations negatively affect the environment
- comply with applicable laws, regulations and other environmentally orientaited requirements
- and continually improve in these areas
ISO 14001 is a standard within this set contains the actual requirements that an organisation has to comply with to become certified to the ISO 14000 standard.
These standards pertain to the process of how a product is produced rather than the product itself. Certifiacation is awarded by third-party organisations as is the case with similar environmental certifications.
Currently within Australian there are over 1,500 organisations certified to ISO 14001 standard. Globally there were over 188,000 in 2008 that had been issued certificates.
With more and more companies becoming aware of their environmental impact and being active in altering and minimizing it, implementing ISO 14001 allows them to formalize the process and gain official recognition for their actions. The standard can be easily integrated into existing management systems as well as those in development.
You can find the 17 elements of ISO 14001 and more information on the certification outlined here.
I think this certification is an excellent incentive for organisations to become more active in their approach to minimizing environmental impact. For a company to be officially recognized as being environmental conscious allows consumers to easily identify when they are doing something desirable. The companies business improves and consumers are able to make informed decisions. It would be great if ISO 14001 compliance/certification became standard within all Australian (and global) organisations.
I’ve posted about a number of products already but this last one really caught my eye and I just couldn’t pass it up. U.R Carbon Neutral is a table system by Sydney based product designers Thinking Ergonomics.
It is a highly flexbile and versatile ‘family’ of table products for use in any commercial environment. It has been designed for disassembly, ready for recycling and as the name suggests is a carbon neutral product.
The GECA certified range provides a variety of tables all featuring tilt-top stacking for workplaces that require flexibility and temporary desking. Lockable soft tread castors and table linking mechanisms are standard features throughout the range. Optional mesh modest panels are available when more privacy is required.
I love this company’s approach to sustainable product development. They say ”it’s not just about offsetting carbon emissions, it’s about minimizing our environmental impact, training staff on how to become more environmentally aware, and monitoring and measuring the environmental impacts with the final step to purchase certified carbon credits that are registered under the Kyoto Protocol to offset carbon emissions created from Thinking Ergonomix’s operations.”
Their manufacturing facility, office and showroom are certified AS/NZS ISO14001:2004 environmental management systems and they pride themselves on constantly striving to do the most they can in manage their environmental footprint and improve.
"Sustainability is embedded throughout the company’s culture with all members of the Thinking Ergonomix team playing a role in addressing environmental issues. We are constantly striving for continual improvement to reduce energy, emissions, waste and to comply with or exceed any environmental legislation."
The prospect of a carbon neutral furniture system is something I had completely overlooked in the past and before reading about this range hadn’t even considered it as a possibly. However now it seems like the most simple and obvious thing. It would be great to see these tables used throughout a large scale fit out.
Creation Clic is a vinyl flooring system by Australian flooring supplier Gerflor. It is a loose lay vinyl plan system that incorporates the aesthetic of a timber finish with the performance and ESD properties of vinyl. It’s unique vertical clicking system makes it quick an simple to install and eliminates the need for adhesives. The range comes in 12 different wood finishes from rustic to more traditional patterns. It is durable making it suitable for heavy traffic areas and has a R9/R10 slip rating as well as being 100% water resistant. It is easy to maintenance as its PUR surface treatment means it does not need to be sealed or polished and modular system allow single planks to be replaced within minutes.
What makes this product particularly attractive is it’s ESD qualities. It’s 100% recyclable, produces low VOC emissions. It also presents an improved acoustic comfort and sound insulation properties compared to alternative flooring such as laminates.
I think this product is an excellent alternative to traditional timber flooring. Its a much more attractive choice than laminate alternatives and its recyclable, low VOC and acoustic qualities make it a superior choice. What really appealed to me about this system is the Life Cycle Analysis model that its producer, Gerflor has in place. Similar to cradle to cradle initiatives, Life Cycle Analysis considers all environmental impacts made during a products life cycle from manufacture, delivery, installation, cost of ownership and maintenance and ultimaite disposal and recycling of all products. All ranges produced by Gerflor are developed using this model. This is an excellent approach to have and its great to see companies choosing to adopt such practices despite having no legal obligation to.
#7 Soft-Architecture: Cradle to Cradle Lighting Systems
Soft-Architecutre is low environmental impact lighting system developed by Flos. It is created using an innovative system of eco-compatible material with cradle to cradle certification that is strong, light-weight, flexible and fire resistant, used in conjunction with energy efficient lighting. It is a highly environmental conscious product that can be used in any project type from residential to commercial.
The lighting system is integrated with the interior architecture making it one with the building rather than a series of fixtures.
It’s cradle to cradle properties mean it is designed to last and to minimize harm cause to the environment both during production and after it’s ‘death’ as a product.
I think the use of environmentaly conscious materials in the construction of lighting as well as the use of energy conserving lamps themselves is a great idea. Its something you almost don’t consider but I think it is quite clever. The implementation of a cradle to cradle program is obviously excellent, I hope more companies and products go down this path (sooner rather than later).
The Eco-leaf is an innovative new sun shade concept that doubles as a light source at night. This uniqe window treatment uses integrated solar cells that charge up during the day, while blocking out harsh sunlight, to emit an ambient solar generated light once night falls. It features a small display that shows you the current room temperature.
This is such an intelligent design. It’s relatively simple when you understand the technology behind it but such a unique and captivating concept. I think it would be ineresting to see where else this sort of technology could be applied in the future.
I stumbled across this product the other day while researching for our current ESD report and thought it was worth blogging about.
These award winning ceiling tiles, developed by a company called Datum Phase Change are apart of the energy efficient range of RACUS tiles. RACUS meaning ‘reducing air conditioning units and systems’.
The secret behind the easy to install tiles is the material they are made from. A ‘phase change material’ that allows the tile to absorb heat up to 23°c, store it and slowly release it when the rooms temperature drops.
Datum say of their product, “In addition to the heat storage capabilities, they have the excellent characteristic of hygroscopicity, absorbing the excess humidity in the atmosphere, and then gradually restoring the balance in dry and hot periods and as such improving the atmospheric microclimate in the rooms.”
As a passive system it requires no energy or long term maintenance. Its instillation instantly cuts the carbon emissions of a building.
I think this product is excellent, its flexibility and adaptability makes it a real asset. The tiles come in a range of finishes to suit different styles of fit outs. I think products like this one, that can be fitted into pre-existing building and relieve some of the over reliance on artificial heating and cooling are very clever.
#4 Joot's Greenhouse - Off grid, recycled and re-used.
At the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival this year, the star of the show was easily Joot Bakker’s Greenhouse.
Sitting alongside the Yarra River, it is the ‘eco-entrepreneurs’ second ‘living, breathing and waste free restaurant in the city’. Bakker says of his sustainable initiative "Our message is that everything matters. Everything is related to something else, which is ultimately reflected in the choices we make.”
The site is completely off gird, not reliant on mains water or power. Everything in the restaurant is waste free, from the food to the furniture. And each of the elements in the project has a story, many being recycled or reused.
The café floor is made from old conveyer belts, beeswax candles provide lighting, locally sources straw bales fill the wall and ceiling cavities and leather seats are made from off cuts from a local tannery. There is a roof top garden full of herbs as well as a ‘vertical garden’ covering the façade of the building.
The feature however that has peaked most peoples interest is the toilets. Waste from the waterless urinals (mens AND womens, yes really) will be used as fertilises to grow oil for next years Greenhouse project.
While I will admit some aspects of this project had me a little confused and squeamish (10 points if you can guess what), I love the concept and aesthetic of this design. The use of recycled products is smart and sustainable but also works really well in this space. My favorite features would have to be the reused conveyer belt floors and the vertical and rooftop gardens.
The ecospecifier website is a free database of over 6000 sustainable and eco conscious products, materials, technologies and resources. It is the leading global source of sustainable development & life-cycle assessed green product information. The ecospecifier sites as a whole generate over 2, 000,000 million visits annually.
”The ecospecifier website is not just a free database but also a rich knowledgebase - a ‘live’ and growing, extensive and intensive information resource complimented by our unique services offerings.”
The site features a simple to navigate search function that allows users to specify product category (e.g. fencing, insulation, and sun control), sustainability criteria (e.g. air pollution, corporate responsibility) and green building rating.
Essentially, whatever product or material you are looking for, if there is a sustainable alterative you will find it on ecospecifier.
The FSC seeks to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests.
This means ensuring that the harvest of natural products does not harm the forests biodiversity, productivity or ecologicalprocesses. It provides incentives to preserve the forest resources and adhere to long term management plans. And operates in a way that ensures forest resources are not sacrificed for the sake of financial profit.
The FSC trademark offers a guarantee that products carrying it come from responsible sources support the conservation of forests and wildlife and helps people lead better lives.
GECA (Good Environmental Choice Australia) is an independent, not for profit organization that developed and put into effect the Environmental Choice Australia Ecolabelling Program. This internationally recognized labeling program aims to help consumers choose products and services that are better for the environment and more ecologically responsible.
On the organizations site they state: The objectives of GECA’s Ecolabelling Program in delivering a credible independent environmental labelling scheme are to:
a) Provide incentives for suppliers to reduce the environmental impacts of products sold in Australia;
b) Provide a clear, credible and independent guide to consumers wishing to take account of environmental factors in their purchasing decisions;
c) Encourage consumers to purchase products which have lower environmental impacts;
d) Recognise genuine moves by companies to reduce the adverse environmental impacts of their products;
e) Aim ultimately to improve the quality of the environment and to encourage the sustainable management of resources.
I’ve got to admit, the prospect of writing about environmentally sustainable design at first could not have been less appealing to me. In the past, 'eco' style projects that I have come across have always stuck me as very overly modern, generic and really just a bit bland. Of course they might have been innovative and clever but ultimately if it’s not aesthetically attractive and engaging I struggle to remain interested.
So essentially, um… unless it’s pretty, I just don’t care?
While I was researching potential content for this post I came across a Sydney based project that completely challenged every preconceived idea I had regarding sustainable design.
The Surry Hills Community Centre in Sydney, Australia is a recently constructed development by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp Architects. It has been heralded as setting the bench mark for sustainable design in public buildings. And I have to say, I can completely understand why!
The building seeks to support its local community by serving as a multipurpose site for the public, including a library and childcare center. It plays a key part in the community with its main aim to provide support for marginalized groups, local counsels and organizations. Local community played a significant part in the design of the building, with the designers having regular discussions with the public before developing the brief.
‘Establishing a new Australian standard of excellence for environmentally sustainable design in civic buildings, the building includes: use of planting together with a thermal labyrinth for passive filtering and tempering of air; incorporation of extensive natural light; solar-tracking timber louver systems; automated fabric shading; mixed mode ventilation; extensive photovoltaic array; geothermal cooling bores; green roof; rainwater collection and recycling; and sustainable material selection.’ Source: http://littleyellowstickynote.blogspot.com.au/
My personal favorites of these initiatives have to be the tracking louver system and atrium. Both are incredibly intelligent and sustainable but also spectacular aesthetic features of the site. The distinction is seamless and ultimately just spectacular deisgn.
The environmental atrium’s series of triangular, tapering airshafts draw in clean outside air and passively cool it. Experimental use of plants to bio-filter pollutants is integrated in the gardens of specially selected plants within these glass enclosures. Natural daylight is filtered through these layers of glass and garden and flow deep into the interiors. Source: http://www.archdaily.com/
The building has been fully embraced by the community and likewise by industry, having won several awards since its opening in2009.
This is definitely one of the most breathtaking designs I’ve seen recently. It’s is a perfect example of where I think sustainable design is heading; much more subtle and ‘in sync’ with the design of the building it self.