Coles Hallam becomes Australia’s first Green Star Rated Supermarket

Coles Hallam becomes Australia’s first Green Star Rated Supermarket:

Coles has achieved the first Green Star rating for a supermarket, awarded by The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). Coles in Hallam (situated in outer-south-east Melbourne) achieved the 4 Star Green Star rating. Designed by Michael Carr Architect, key achievements at the Hallam store include:

  • 50% more fresh air compared to minimum standards through high-performance heating, ventilation, and air conditioning 
  • 15% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions with highly-efficient chillers and heat reclaimed from refrigeration cases used to supply heating in other parts of the supermarket 
  • LED lighting to reduce energy consumption and internal heating loads 
  • 70% reduction in water consumption compared to traditional supermarkets with water-efficient fixtures and fittings, and 150,000-litre capacity water tanks 

Coles Hallam is also the first supermarket to undergo a, “Life Cycle Assessment, allowing Coles to make comparisons between different materials and products to select healthy, efficient and sustainable options.”

The GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew, said, “Coles, in their determination to develop a supermarket of the future, has set a new benchmark for sustainable supermarket design in Australia. Coles now has a framework for sustainable supermarkets that are not only more efficient and cost effective to run, but are also more comfortable places in which to work and shop.”

Madew added that the GBCA has compelling international researching confirming that, “…green retail buildings featuring good natural light and ventilation, high-performance heating and cooling systems, and materials low in harmful chemicals, are not only more efficient and cheaper to operate, but can also improve the experience for customers and return on investment for owners.”

Advanced Tree Pit Design Enhances Urban Forestry

With increasing urbanization, and more highly concentrated populations within cities, strengthening the green infrastructure is becoming increasingly important. One of the largest opportunities for impact is maintaining and enhancing the urban canopy. This is addressed most readily by advanced tree pit design, which refers to the subterranean structures put in place during planting.

In Minneapolis, the local government conducted research that revealed well-planted trees provide a strong financial incentive in addition to the ecosystem benefits. The research found a $2 million savings between a storm water conveyance system, or subterranean cell systems.

Peter MacDonagh, a landscape architect, said in an ASLA interview, “larger, older trees are far more valuable than younger ones, so work needs to be done to preserve these and use new techniques to enable younger trees to stay in place longer.”

As trees were planted in the past, the soil they were placed in was compacted, causing a lack of nutrients, storm water management, and root establishment. As a result, the trees struggle to thrive and provide their benefits to the local environment and infrastructure. Often, these struggling trees will either die, stop growing, or begin to push through and ruin sidewalks and roads.

The Center for Urban Forest Research calculates that large-canopy trees …outperform small trees…and they do not start adding significant environmental performance until they reach 30 feet,” states Matthew Gordy, a landscape and urban design professional.

By utilizing cell systems, the strain put on the trees’ growth is almost completely eliminated, resulting in lower costs, and increased shade, stormwater management, and overall well being of the populaces and local infrastructure.

Get more information on advanced soil cell systems here.

The Future of Urban Water

The Future of Urban Water:

What would the state of urban water be in the next couple of years?

Well, the report The Future of Urban Water: Scenarios for Urban Water Utilities in 2040 by ARUP explores trends and future scenarios for the future of urban water utilities in 2040. It is the result of a jointly funded collaboration between Arup and Sydney Water.

“The programme has helped us gain a better understanding of possible pathways into the future, including implications for future infrastructure, governance and customer experiences.”

It depicts four plausible scenarios for the future of urban water utilities in 2040, using Sydney as a reference city. The report explores how a wide range of social, technological, economic, environmental and political trends could shape the urban water future.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2014 report said water crises is one of the top five global risks posing the highest concern. “Despite this, water issues are often overlooked or misunderstood, and there is a need for better awareness of their social, economic and environmental impacts.”

The Arup report said aside from the increasing water scarcity and pollution, rapid population growth and urbanisation are “major factors posing fundamental challenges to the global water cycle, with a particular pressure on the urban water supply”.

Australia utilises over 50 percent of its water consumption for agricultural purposes. The rest is for household, industrial and commercial use. But in urban areas, “the main driver for demand remains the population, and thus population growth”.

One of the key drivers for water conservation is smart infrastructure. It responds intelligently to changes in its environment to improve performance. “It is estimated that the market size for smart grid technologies will almost triple by 2030. Smart water networks could save the industry US$12.5 billion a year.”

Another is the change to a more digital lifestyle where people will be able to monitor the consumption and cost of water in real time. “More awareness of the issues could lead to increased scrutiny of water utilities and pricing of services. The availability of data provides an opportunity to educate customers about consumption and managing resource use.”

The report also mentioned new solutions for water supply such as the extensive use of desalination. About 96 percent of the earth’s total water supply is found in oceans. “Worldwide, desalination plants are producing over 32 million cubic metres of fresh water per day. However, energy costs are currently the principal barrier to its greater use.”

Finally, the report also said green infrastructure is part of the plan. “Benefits of increased green infrastructure include the reduction of flood risk, improved health and wellbeing as well as providing a habitat for wildlife. Extensive green networks can be formed over time to create an encompassing city ecosystem that can support the sustainable movement of people, rebuild biodiversity and provide substantial climate change adaptation.”

For more of the report, you can check this out.

Citygreen - Urban Forestry eBook

The Amazing Benefits of Green Walls, Roofs and Facades

In the ever-evolving world of sustainable architecture and urban design, the concept of integrating greenery into the built environment has garnered remarkable attention. From vibrant vertical gardens adorning city facades to lush rooftop havens overlooking bustling streets, the incorporation of green walls, roofs, and facades has transcended mere aesthetics, offering a plethora of astonishing benefits. This blog delves into the captivating realm of these living installations, uncovering the ways in which they contribute to environmental, social, and even psychological well-being.

Victoria’s Growing Green Guide, a project by The University of Melbourne, The Inner Melbourne Action Plan and several industry experts, is pushing for green roofs as a more cost-effective alternative to answer heating and cooling needs.

Watch our Webinar with Grant Radbourne to discover the range of advantages using living walls has in your urban environment

The guide provides technical advice on how to design, build and manage green roofs, walls and facades so they can provide multiple benefits over a long period of time.

Speak to our Living Wall Legend Grant Radbourne to help bring your vision to life.

new planted living wall polls

Newly Planted Living Wall Polls

Why you need Green Walls, Roofs and Facades

According to the guide, green roofs, walls and facades provide several benefits to the community and its residents. Here are some excerpts from the report:

  • Building owners and developers are increasingly installing green roofs, walls or facades to add a point of difference, increase commercial returns, provide visual appeal and turn a building into a local landmark. It increases property value as well as other benefits for building owners. Green roofs can lengthen the lifespan of a traditional roof surface. They protect a roof’s waterproof membrane from solar radiation and add insulating materials to reduce severe temperature fluctuations on the roof surface. The report says early design discussions will help ensure that the roof, wall, or façade can be planned and incorporated in other building aspects such as drainage, irrigation, lighting and weight loading.New green walls Citygreen
  • Green roofs absorb and retain rainwater and can be used to manage stormwater run-off in urban environments. They can also filter particulates and pollutants. Stormwater run-off can be reduced or slowed because it is stored in the substrate. Additional water storage capacity in green roof systems can be provided through incorporation of a water retentive layer or drainage layer at the base of the green roof.
    Related: Top Australian Plants for Green Walls and Roofs
  • It reduces building heating and cooling requirements. Green walls and facades can reduce heat gain in summer by directly shading the building surface. Green roofs reduce heat transfer through the roof and ambient temperatures on the roof surface, improving the performance of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.Aimsur - GG - Plaza de Armas, Sevilla - living wall and roof facade
  • Green walls, roofs and facades reduce the urban heat island effect. Temperatures can be reduced by covering a roof or wall with a layer of vegetation that shades building materials, which would otherwise absorb heat. Evapotranspiration provides cooling effects, as water is evaporated from the soil and plants transpire by taking water in through roots and releasing it through leaves. The report suggests a city-wide strategy to implement green roofs, walls and facades to help mitigate some of the negative consequences of the UHI effect.
  • Green roofs can contribute to and enhance biodiversity by providing new urban habitats and specific habitats for rare or important species of plants or animals. It can also provide a link or corridor across urban ecological deserts and assist in migration of invertebrates and birds.indoor living green wall
  • These green infrastructures can increase amenity and provide opportunities for reduced energy consumption, food production, recreation, relaxation or commercial ventures. Green roofs, walls and facades can be used for multi-level greenery designs that connect with ground level green spaces.
  • Finally, they also contribute to the removal of gaseous pollutants from the air. Plants with a high foliage density or with textured leaf surfaces that trap small particles also assist in removing particulate pollution, through dry deposition on the foliage or through rain wash.

The good news is that most building surfaces have the potential for greening. It’s just a matter of knowing how to do it properly to get the most benefits out of it.

Biomimicry: Learning From Nature


Image credit HOK


What is Water Sensitive Urban Design(WSUD)?


Strataflow Render green walls Citygreen
An Example of WSUD

As urbanization continues to reshape our landscapes, the concept of a Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) has gained prominence as a holistic approach to address the challenges of water management in cities. Let’s look into the intricacies of WSUD, examining its principles, benefits, challenges, and implementation strategies.

Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is also known as Low Impact Development (LID) in the United States, and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) in the United Kingdom.

It all refers to the land planning and engineering design approach that integrates the urban water cycle, including stormwater, groundwater, and wastewater management and water supply, into urban design. This is done to minimise the environmental degradation as well as improve the look of the area by creating a circular economy of urban water use.

In urban environments, impermeable surfaces like roads, roofs, driveways, and walkways prevent water from soaking into the ground, resulting in what we call stormwater runoff. Additionally, the presence of vehicles and industrial activities in these areas contributes to the accumulation of pollutants on these surfaces. When it rains, this polluted runoff is funneled through drains, eventually reaching creeks and rivers, causing pollution and degradation to environmentally crucial systems. Water-Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) is a solution designed to enhance urban areas’ capacity to capture, treat, and recycle stormwater, preventing it from polluting and harming our natural waterways and ensuring rain water is used in the environment in which is falls more efficiently.

Why Use Water Sensitive Urban Design When Designing your Urban Environment?

According to the guidelines released by the South Eastern Councils in Melbourne Victoria, WSUD has been identified as a “means to control flows and filter stormwater to remove pollutants”.

Stormwater is the water that runs off urban surfaces after heavy rainfall. The report said it has been identified as the key cause of pollution and declining health of waterways.

“With increased urban development, the proportion of impervious surfaces in our catchments increases. This increases the velocity and amount of water running into our waterways, creating problems of erosion and flooding and changing natural flow regimes, with associated ecological damage. It also washes more pollutants into our streams, further impacting river health.”

Victoria councils, like other councils in Australia, have recognised the importance of sustainable water management such as WSUD. The release of various guidelines enables organisations to have a first point of reference for their projects.

The design “integrates urban water cycle management with urban planning and design, with the aim of mimicking natural systems to minimise negative impacts on the natural water cycle and receiving waterways and bays”.

Types of WSUD

Stormwater Treatment ElementApplicationLitter/Organic MatterCoarse SedimentFine SedimentTotal Phosphorus/Nitrogen RemovedOil & GreaseReduction in Runoff VolumeConstructionMaintenance
Vegetated SwalesPrimary/SecondaryHHHLLLLL
Bioretention SwalesPrimary/Secondary/Tertiary (may need sediment and litter pre-filtering)HHHMLMLM
Bioretention Basins/RaingardensPrimary/Secondary/Tertiary (may need sediment and litter pre-filtering)HHHMLMLM
Sediment BasinsPrimary, often combined with detentionMHMLLLLM
Ponds/Wet BasinsPrimary/Secondary/TertiaryHHMLLLLM
Constructed WetlandsSecondary/TertiaryHHLMLH
Exfiltration SystemsSecondary (needs sediment and litter pre-filtering)HLMLM
Soil CellsVarious (often combined with filtering and detention)LLLHLHHL

Soft vs Hard Engineering of Landscapes

Soft engineering and hard engineering are two approaches used in water management and urban design.

  • Soft Engineering: In the context of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), soft engineering refers to the use of natural or nature-based solutions to manage water, such as vegetation, soil, and natural drainage systems. Soft engineering aims to mimic natural processes and ecosystems to reduce runoff, improve water quality, and enhance the aesthetic and ecological value of the landscape. Examples of soft engineering in WSUD include bioretention swales, vegetated basins, soil cell tree pits, and constructed wetlands.
  • Hard Engineering: Hard engineering, on the other hand, involves the use of man-made or engineered structures to manage water, such as pipes, concrete channels, and traditional drainage systems. In the context of WSUD, hard engineering components may be necessary in situations where factors such as the need to transport water across paved areas, land availability, or topography require the use of piped or hard components. Examples of hard engineering in WSUD include piped drainage systems, concrete structures, and permeable hard surfaces such as rock rip-rap or paving.

WSUD elements are most effective when vegetation and trees are used in their design, factors such as the need for water to be transported across paved areas, land availability, and topography may require the incorporation of hard components into a broader WSUD system.

While there is no standard approach that should be applied to all situations, and a hybrid solution that combines both soft and hard engineering components may be necessary to address site-specific opportunities and constraints, Creating softscapes with increased greenery and trees will be a great economic, environmental and health impact to the local community.

Case Study

In places such as Canada, capturing stormwater is a mandatory requirement for all new constructions, as a means to effectively manage water and prevent a higher level of pollutants from entering municipalities.

In flat open areas such as carpark where pollutants and stormwater runoff can be a concern Citygreen’s Stratavault offers a cohesive solution that connects stormwater management with landscape tree design. Instead of stormwater immediately entering the city infrastructure and depleting the valuable water resource by taking it out of area, our integrated water sensitive urban design directs the stormwater into the Stratavault matrix.

This innovative system allows trees and soil to utilize the water for their own needs and growth while effectively cleaning the excess water of contaminants before the water enters the pit’s base chamber. Additionally, this design enables the recycling of water for on-site irrigation & a slower release back into the city’s infrastructure during periods of lower demand

Eaton Mall jpg green walls Citygreen

What are the Key Principles of WSUD?

Some of the key principles of WSUD as stated in the Urban Stormwater: Best Practice Environmental Management Guidelines (BPEMG) include:

  • Protect and enhance natural water systems within urban environments.
  • Integrate stormwater treatment into the landscape, maximizing the visual and recreational amenity of developments.
  • Improve the quality of water draining from urban developments into receiving catchment environments.
  • Reduce runoff and peak flows from urban developments by increasing local detention times and minimising impervious areas.
  • Minimise drainage infrastructure costs of development due to reduced runoff and peak flows.

What are the Benefits of WSUD?

The top benefits of using water sensitive urban design include:

  1. Flood Mitigation: By reducing stormwater runoff and increasing water infiltration, WSUD minimizes the risk of flooding during heavy rain events.
  2. Improved Water Quality: Natural filtration methods used in WSUD systems effectively remove pollutants, enhancing the quality of water entering streams and rivers.
  3. Urban Cooling: Urban green spaces and water features provide cooling effects, mitigating the urban heat island effect and improving overall urban livability.
  4. Biodiversity Enhancement: WSUD encourages the creation of habitats for various species, contributing to urban biodiversity and ecosystem health.
  5. Enhanced Tree Growth: By directing extra resources to nearby trees you give the tree more opportunity to successfully grow
  6. Increased Social Outcomes: Improving the greenery, liveability, and functionality of shared urban spaces increases the the physical, social and mental health of the community.

What are the Challenges of WSUD?

Given that water-sensitive urban design is a relatively new concept within the realm of urban landscaping, there emerge several challenges in the process of designing new WSUD spaces. These include:

  1. Regulatory Barriers: Traditional regulations and codes may not be aligned with WSUD principles. Overcoming regulatory hurdles and advocating for changes to local ordinances can be a significant challenge.
  2. Lack of Awareness: Many stakeholders, including local governments, developers, and the general public, may be unaware of the benefits and importance of WSUD.
  3. Funding Constraints: WSUD projects may require upfront investments for designing, construction, and maintenance. Convincing stakeholders to allocate budgets for these projects in the face of other competing priorities can be challenging.
  4. Infrastructure Retrofitting: Integrating WSUD into existing urban areas often requires retrofitting existing infrastructure. This can be complex, costly, and disruptive to ongoing operations.
  5. Maintenance and Long-Term Management: Proper maintenance of WSUD components is essential to their effectiveness. Ensuring consistent and appropriate maintenance practices can be challenging, especially if communities lack the necessary resources or knowledge.
  6. Data Availability: Designing WSUD systems requires accurate and up-to-date data on rainfall patterns, land use, and hydrology. In some cases, obtaining this data may be a challenge, especially in areas with limited resources for data collection.
  7. Interdisciplinary Collaboration: WSUD projects require collaboration among various disciplines, such as urban planning, landscape architecture, civil engineering, and environmental science. Coordinating and aligning efforts across these disciplines can be complex.
  8. Resilience to Climate Change: WSUD systems must be designed to accommodate changing climate patterns, including more frequent and intense rainfall events. Ensuring the resilience of these systems can be a challenge.
example of tree pits integrating water sensitive urban design

Citygreen® products are designed to ensure it supports the effort for a sustainable water management. The Stratavault’s™ modules leave over 94 percent of its total volume for root growth and storm water harvesting. Find out more about the products here.

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“Our experience, in working with a Citygreen Design Studio was second to none. We found responses from the design studio to be very timely, and technically thorough. We went backwards and forwards a number of times, looking at different iterations of the design and, nothing was too much trouble to examine and explore different possibilities. I would highly recommend the Citygreen Design Studio to any future client considering using your services.”

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“We are big on compliance on all projects, and the fact that their SmartCertify cloud platform covers all bases, and supports their 20 year warranties, is critical – especially that these pits are being installed under roadways and footpaths.”

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"I reviewed all the previous projects that we have installed in the past couple years using your product and I can happily report back that we have 0% mortality in the soil cells, which is incredible!"

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