Monthly Archives: November 2009

Green Cards to be Dealt at Cottesloe’s Old Bridge Centre

21 November 2009

Jacinta Goerke

A NEW type of cards is soon to be played at the once well-patronised Rosendorf’s Bridge Centre located on Railway Street in Cottesloe.

As of early December the new ‘bridge’ will no longer be home to shuffling decks, calling spades and keeping score, but to the hustle and bustle of professionals working toward building a more sustainable future.

Swanbourne Railway Station near the new Swanbourne Business Centre

Swanbourne Railway Station near the new Swanbourne Business Centre

Centre owners Ms Julia Hayes and Mr Garry Baverstock said the new ‘bridge’ is to be renamed ‘The Swanbourne Business Centre’ where a serviced office Perth can be leased by business people committed to doing something positive about the environment.

“From the outset we wanted to turn the ‘old bridge’ into a centre of sustainable excellence where professionals working in green industries could come together to share ideas, network and use a common secretarial service while remaining independent,” said Ms Hayes.

“We’re aware new ideas and innovative ways of doing things often emerge when neighbouring executives share ideas.

“This means we’re keen to hear from people who specialise in areas such as environmental law, climate science, sustainable building practices, engineering, town planning, real estate development and other business activities such as ethical investment and financing and complementary trades and professionals,” she said.

Ms Hayes said the sustainability and green industry was rapidly growing and specialists were keen to connect and lease premises alongside like-minded professionals.

She said the new Swanbourne Business Centre in the Swanbourne Village was complementary to ‘all things green’ because it had been retrofitted to comply with quality green building principles to ensure energy efficiency and natural comfort.

“The office walls have double insulation, there is a well-appointed natural ventilation system and a low energy cooling system in place, ceiling fans are installed and low energy lighting complements natural light in each room,” she said.

“The office building also takes advantage of the northern orientation in which natural daylight is harnessed to light, heat and provide maximum comfort in each office.

“And the upstairs’ location has excellent views across to the village shops and the ocean in the distance,” she said.

Ms Hayes said tenants and people external to the centre would be able to access the secretarial support service for typing, photocopying and possibly use temporary office/work stations.

She said this business model of sharing secretarial services and office equipment in one central location worked well in Asia and among medical, allied health and legal specialists.

Mr Baverstock, a well known local eco architect, said there were savings to be made in sharing larger professional offices and identities.

“Daily social and professional contact is often lacking when people work from home and, with huge advances in the internet, it’s no longer necessary for businesses to employ full-time secretaries and lease expensive office equipment,” said Mr Baverstock.

“Paying a higher price for a smaller office and sharing facilities can be much cheaper than business as usual in one’s own office suite or complex.

Mr Baverstock said many people were now taking advantage of the recent slow down in activity to restructure and downscale the floor area of their offices.

“In fact, I think the people of Swanbourne are ready for an eco-oriented village and this is just one more step towards that sustainable vision,” he said.

Mr Baverstock said the Swanbourne Railway Station was across the road, the post office and other key shops and cafes were within a short walk.

Mr Baverstock and Ms Hayes said the new centre was once a vibrant bridge club and part of the heritage of the location.

“There is also a bridge in front of the building and the centre will provide a bridge of business opportunities for people ready to grow their businesses in a sustainable and efficient manner,” he said.

However, not all will be lost from the old bridge days said Mr Baverstock.

“I’m sure some of the ‘lingo’ will still be heard and used,” he said.

“For example, we’re looking for ‘partners’ who can play their cards right, keep score on the environment and regularly call trumps.

“But to call a spade a spade; please no ‘dummies’ (a term bridge players will understand); ‘just genuine people who want to contribute to the Cottesloe business scene and community,” said Mr Baverstock.

Name: Transperth Swanbourne Train Station
Image released into the public domain

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A Note on Indigenous Cultures

Garry Baverstock
Co-Founder & Director,

As pointed out by Thom Hartmann in his book “Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight”, the old world developed human relationships, culture, and a code of ethics which was intimately related to our environment and its sustainability.

This deep, spiritual respect is something that was lost about 7,000 years ago when mankind started on a journey of materialist pursuits. Although important for mankind to develop the ego or conscious mind, the result for Mother Earth has been imbalanced, unsustainable and above all, unhappy.

We now have an opportunity to go back (if we can) and learn from our indigenous populations how they achieved a balance. If we are prepared to overcome our superiority, sectarian and irrational mental conditionings of the past, it is not too late to listen and learn.

We should cherish and honour our indigenous people before it is too late. Ultimately our quality of life and maybe our very survival of future generations will depend on it.

Investments in indigenous cultural projects are not just an investment in the financial sense,
but an investment in our future.

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Quick Guidelines for a Passive Solar House

Garry Baverstock
Co-Founder & Director,

The aim of this Energy Efficient House Scheme is to enable home buyers to readily identify houses and house designs which offer a recognized standard of comfort and energy efficiency. There are six important features.

  • Orientation
  • Windows
  • Mass
  • Insulation
  • Ventilation
  • Hot water service

The scheme should demonstrate than an energy efficient house is affordable.

Land subdivisions where the scheme is being promoted should have a majority of blocks which are oriented east-west and which encourage the building of energy efficient housing. To avoid conflict with other important energy conservation messages the subdivisions should be reticulated with gas, and should have public transport available.


The house should have a rectangular shape with long axis close to east-west. These blocks should form the majority of blocks in a housing estate for reasons of privacy and cost efficiency.

  • The orientation can deviate from magnetic north by 20 °W and 20 °E.
  • The ratio of long to short axis must be greater than 1.5 as a general rule.
  • Proportions become longer in cold climates and shorter, more squarish in hotter climates.


North (south in Southern Hemisphere)

The living area should be facing north and have the largest window area.

North facing windows should be shaded in summer and unshaded in winter. Shading to north windows can be fixed (pergolas or eaves), or adjustable.

  • North facing glass should be clear, not tint or reflective in temperate climates (special glass is of use in more extreme climates).
  • Fixed shading should have a projection of at least 0.25 x height sill to overhang and no more than 0.45.
  • The effective area of N facing glass should be between 20% ad 35% of effective floor area for temperate climates. This ratio increases for cold climates and decreases for hotter climates.

Adjustable shading devices such as awnings, shutters and pergolas with deciduous creepers are always to be preferred to fixed shading. Fixed shading that keeps out unwanted summer sunlight will also keep some of the winter sunlight also.

East and West

Windows on the east and west should be minimized and/or shaded or otherwise treated to keep out the sun. fixed shading provided by pergolas or an eaves overhang is not useful on the east or west walls.

  • The effective area of glass on the east and west should be not more than 5% of the total effective floor area.
  • The effective area of glass on the west should be not more than 2% of the total effective floor area.
  • The effective area of east and west facing windows should not exceed 15% of the floor area of the rooms they are in.
  • Extra glass may be used if tinted or reflective glass is used on the north, east or west elevations or if shading devices above minimum requires are used. To find the allowance glass area in tint or reflective glass etc divide the ‘effective’ glass area by the solar shading coefficient. Glass must be provided with shading with a coefficient of not more than 0.3 before calculating the area of additional glass made possible by the use of additional shading.
  • West facing clear glass windows must be provided with adjustable shading.

These ratios are for temperate climates and vary in hotter and colder climates.

Tinted glass and adjustable shading is recommended for east and west windows. Shading of east and west walls with suitable plants is recommended.


South facing glass does not require shading but should be limited to prevent heat loss in winter.

  • South + East + West facing glass should be not more than 15% of the total effective floor area. The glass area limit cannot be increased by using shading for temperate climates. This strategy is also useful for cold climates.

Tint or reflective glass is recommended for south facing windows and excessive areas facing west and maybe east, depending on computer thermal analysis results.


Sufficient thermal mass (materials like brick and concrete which absorb heat) should be provided to stablise air temperatures, particular in summer.

  • Construction should be on a concrete slab
    Internal walls in the living area should have a heat capacity of >1400kJ/m³.

A significant proportion of the floor in N-facing rooms should be covered with tiles, slate or similar heat absorbing hard surface but any surface on concrete will still work over a 24 hour period, provided doors and windows remain closed in extreme weather conditions.


Roof insulation of R1.5 or greater is required. Perimeter walls of light weight, which would otherwise heat quickly must have an R value of at least 1.0 for temperate climates. Naturally rates dramatically climb to R4 and above in extremely hot or cold climatic regions.


Doors to the exterior of the house or rooms with high-flow fixed ventilation like bathrooms and toilets should be weather stripped. Chimneys should be provided with a damper.  Adequate cross ventilation should be provided for both living and sleeping areas for summer cooling.

Water Heaters

The hot water system should be either gas or solar, gas boosted preferably where hydro-electricity is not available.

This content has been provided by RISE (Research Institute for Sustainable Energy) as part of undergraduate level revision and the expanded knowledge program associated with the
Master of Science in Environmental Architecture course.

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What is Eco-Development?

Garry Baverstock
Co-Founder & Director,

World Population

With the world’s population growing currently at around 85 million per year, human habitation is set to double in the first half of the 21st Century. But there are other factors that may step in to curtail this chilling estimate such as:

  • Increased mortality due to disease and starvation.
  • Rising ocean levels and climate change damage
  • Better education of women
  • More focused government policy / aid
  • Economic sustainability
  • Cultural adjustment

By readjusting for these factors, credible predictions place the world’s population likely to peak at approximately 8 billion (current global population is nearly 6 billion). So population increase on planet earth could grow to 12 billion by 2050. As Dr David Suzuki has rightly pointed out many times in his public talks around the world, there are too many people, but more importantly too many consuming people. 20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of the the worlds resources. The majority (80%) have to live on 20% of the worlds resources. Clearly this is unsustainable and unreasonable. In fact it is inhumane when one considers that most people are subsisting day to day. It is destined to worsen before matters improve. Eco-development could be an important part of the eventual solution.

Suzuki’s Warnings

At Winthrop Hall, University of Western Australia, October 30th, 2002, Dr David Suzuki made a number of points which demonstrate that political power brokers are getting it very wrong in relation to a number of key issues:

Conservation of our oceans and marine eco-systems
90% of the world’s fish have disappeared. 80% to 90% of newly born fish are harvested. A natural hunter / gatherer sustainable level would be 5%…

Food production
Land degradation, rising salt and drought due to climate change is making it harder and harder for humans to subsist on natural healthy food…

Genetically modified food
The genetic effects on humans could take generations to detect. We are sailing “blind” when we rely on genetic modification. to provide the increased food production needed. Much more research is required before wholesale adoption is planned. Monitoring of effects over generations will be needed before genetic safety of human life can be guaranteed…

Air pollution
Increased levels is causing enormous increases in asthma and respiratory diseases and has become a significant killer of the young in the badly polluted centers around this world…

Weather catastrophes
The increased levels of drought, flood and cyclones is placing enormous economic burdens on many regions around the planet. If not averted soon, climate change effects will become unmanageable. The cost of insurance, capital replacement will become an enormous burden to all societies…

Ecological footprint
The ratio of land required to provide resources to sustain the consumption level of human beings is known as an “ecological footprint” . This consumption could be due to “need” (for survival) or for “greed” (satisfying ones insatiable desire for material well being or wealth).
If all human beings lived like Australians, Canadians or Americans we would need the equivalent of 6 planets to provide the necessary resources!…

Catastrophe Inevitable?

If population continues to grow and the citizens of the developed world do not re-evaluate our priorities, style of living and value system, it does not take a great deal of intelligence to see that this world is heading for disaster economically, socially and ecologically. Urgent action is needed! This is to avoid damage (already irreparable in many cases) and prevent further damage in the future.

Is catastrophe inevitable? Not in the sense of a sudden single event will it be obvious. The gradual degradation of the quality of life and extent of bio diversity will only be realized by our children, grandchildren and the future generations. The consequences of actions (or lack of action) of people living in the 20th century and the early part of the 21st century will be judged as catastrophic or not by them! There is a huge weight of evidence that environmental damage is immense and escalating at an alarming rate.

The ability to avert calamities of the future is completely in the hands of the decision makers of today.

The Five Elements

All indigenous cultures over millennia of evolution of living in harmony with nature got the necessary insight into balanced living. They saw their lives intertwined with the 5 elements:

EarthAirWaterFireEther (love)

Suzuki’s talks highlight the integral relationship with the elements and by trashing or abusing them we are simply being destructive to ourselves. We are part and parcel with life, with no boundaries of past, present or future. One only has to look at life philosophies and mysticism of the American Indian tribes of America, the Aborigines of Australia, the Vedic culture of Central and Southern Asia, and ancient tribes of Africa to see a common sustainable position with nature.

About 7000 years ago all humans lived in balance with nature as hunter, gatherers, small cultivators and herders. Prior to that time the world population for millennia had peaked at a sustainable level of 5 million. By 2000AD this has grown over 5.5 billion!

Perhaps ecological sustainability is indivisible from our past relationship and balance with nature. By destroying indigenous cultures modern societies stand to risk destroying all the valuable secrets of life and human satisfaction through a healthy relationship with the five elements.

Main Challenges

The future of 8 billion people will need to be addressed as soon as possible during the 21st century and the needs, wants and desires accommodated in the development process while protecting Mother Earth.

  • Review material needs for health and happiness
  • Recreate dreams and aspirations for a “better life”
  • Strengthen Cultural bonds and relationship with the earth
  • Attain a stronger spiritual connection to nature and community
  • Re-think the basis of evaluating economic success
  • Re-direct energy supply towards a “solar economy”
  • Establish new, appropriate Urban living patterns

Levels of Protection

In meeting these challenges we must observe a number of layers of consideration. Here is our suggested checklist;

  • International Principles (U.N. decrees)
  • Pristine Wilderness Areas
  • Nature Areas Under Threat
  • Nature Areas For Rehabilitation
  • Reassess Suburban Development
  • Density City Living
  • Eco-Village Developments
    • Tourist Destinations
      • Inland
      • Coastal
    • Suburban
    • Rural
    • Urban
      • City
      • Country
    • Indigenous Communities
  • Urban Nature Reserves and Parklands

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