Defining tropical expertise in the built environment
The Working Group for the Case Studies project drew upon the current Australian rating, accreditation and approval systems underpinned by codes and standards for sustainable construction and supplemented it with a working knowledge of building in tropical, regional Australia. Through the process the Group created a standardised set of sustainability criteria that enabled comparison across different types: residential, commercial, industrial, civil, civic and retrofitted/renovated buildings. It is recognised that rating tools to date are not particularly effective in providing good outcomes for tropical sustainable design in all instances. The case study project thus evolved specific criteria for defining good tropical outcomes.
The criteria not only had to be specific to the tropics but also had to be general to work well across all Case Studies. The Working Group thus identified common rating, accreditation and approval criteria and then worked within the common categories to define what was important in each from a regional, tropical perspective. In total, the criteria provided information on the content of six primary focus areas of sustainable tropical design that were deemed critical. These areas related to: Planning and Management; Site; Design; Materials; Energy; and Water.