Opera House gets 5 Stars, IKEA’s food turns to fertiliser, and a new type of wood to cool your house

TGL News

Iconic sails go green

Let’s kick off World Environment Day with some good news: Sydney Opera House has become one of the first World Heritage listed buildings globally to be awarded a 5 Star Green Star rating. Some of the iconic landmark’s recent achievements include becoming certified carbon neutral, implementing a new waste management program and a 9 per cent reduction in energy usage. The 5 Star rating was awarded by the Green Building Council, four years after it was awarded a 4 Star. 

The Sydney Opera House has also recently installed an artificial reef on Bennalong Point which it hopes will improve marine biodiversity. It consists of eight 3D printed reef pods that will “become encrusted with seaweed and sea life, providing home for smaller fish species”.

Enriching Ikea

Greenlister Enrich360 was at Ikea in Richmond, Victoria on 5 June to celebrate the one year anniversary of its food waste dehydrator installation. Food waste from IKEA’s cafe and restaurant is collected and put into Enrich360’s onsite dehydrator where it is reduced by up to 93 per cent of its original mass. This is then collected by the Enrich360 team and ends up as fertiliser for IKEA’s own fruit and vegetable suppliers. 

Our relationship with Ikea has seen in excess of 80 tonnes of food waste converted to fertiliser in the first year,” Enrich360 CEO Dean Turner was happy to report.

“All this stops food waste going to landfill where it would have produced methane gas which is over 20 times more dangerous to the ozone layer CO2, and leachates which damage the soil and groundwater.”

A stronger wood with passive cooling potential

A report published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science has announced a new “stronger, cooler” wood has been developed, one that could help reduce reliance on artificial cooling. Created by “a process of complete delignification and densification of wood,” the structural material has a mechanical strength of  404.3 megapascals, which the report says is “more than eight times that of natural wood”. In addition to the strength, modeling suggests the material could lead to energy savings of between 20 and 50 per cent through its passive cooling potential, particularly in hot and dry climates.

Sand hits the road

Continuing down the road with construction materials, a $20 million glass and asphalt recycling facility has opened in Melbourne. Opened by construction company Alex Fraser Group, the plant is capable of producing 800 tonnes of construction sand per day from shards of kerbside bottle glass that would otherwise be destined for landfill. 

This is great news in a world that is increasingly concerned that we are depleting our natural reserves of sand and at a time when demand for sand  is soaring.

A new report on the global sand market predicts growth of 12.7 per cent in sand as a commodity by 2025. The sand industry was valued at over $63 billion in 2016, and expansions in “industrialisation and real estate… especially in regions like Asia Pacific” is predicted to increase this value over the coming years.

This growth applies to both natural and artificially generated sand, the latter of which is becoming increasingly sought after as natural sand supplies diminish. In Australia, sand created from recycled glass shards is used in building roads, such as the recent Tullamarine Freeway construction. 

Pollutants inside and out

With the theme of this year’s world environmental day being “beat air pollution”, it’s rather fitting that our latest explainer looks at indoor environmental quality. Given that we spend around 90 per cent of our day to day lives indoors, IEQ is a pretty important measure. Find out exactly what it refers to and how you can improve it by reading our explainer