Earth Day 2020 Calls for a Focus on Climate Action

Marking its 50th anniversary on Wednesday 22 April 2020, Earth Day has been a catalyst for change across the globe through shining a light on the need for meaningful environmental change to ensure the future of our planet. This year, Earth Day is tackling the theme of ‘climate action’, a topic which is front of mind in Buchan’s business practices. This resolution was further cemented last year with our acknowledgment of the Architects Declare Climate & Biodiversity Emergency initiative.  We have always had ESD focused practitioners within our four walls but over the last year, we have established a formal Buchan Sustainability Lab who meet regularly to research and implement ESD and CSR initiatives. This team work hand in glove with our R&D team centred on our firm belief that sustainability is multi-pronged; social, environmental, economic and evolving.

The architectural industry’s ability to drive positive change towards a more sustainable future through creating enduring and environmentally-sound spaces cannot be overstated. When designing we must consider ecological impacts in the same way we do economics, with micro-decisions being made at every stage of the design process to take account of resource and energy use, pollution, longevity and sustainability. When working on a project, we work to continually refine our designs to minimise the use of materials, energy and labour; our teams also cultivate our designs to fit into their surrounds harmoniously, with minimum disruption or degradation of natural ecosystems.

We aim to set a standard for the future, one founded on mindful energy use, people-centred needs and endurance of assets for our clients, and believe this is particularly important when designing buildings and communities that will shape future generations.

Please visit the Earth Day website to find out more about actions you can take as a part of their digital drive for climate action, and continue reading below to delve deeper into a selection of Buchan’s sustainable designs.


Designed as a shaded box of knowledge and learning with its double semi-transparent façade skin, Realm’s environmentally sustainable design focusses on simple but effective ESD principles including maximising comfortable level of natural light, natural ventilation, harvesting solar energy and making ethical material choices.

Reduction of energy and water consumption and creating zones for recycling and waste management initiatives have been considered as well as extensive metering, sensor-operated services and efficient energy and water fixtures. Landscaping design inspired by native and sustainable species was an integral part of this project, maintained by recycled water.

Ushera Residences

Targeting LEED v4.0 platinum certification, Ushera Residences will showcase true ‘sustainable living’. Requirements to meet the prestigious certification include specific materials and initiatives that improve water and energy efficiency, as well as indoor air quality. The building is also designed to recycle 100% of its waste.

Stockland Greenhills

Nominated in the ‘Best Sustainable Development – Existing Buildings’ category at the upcoming 2020 Property Council of Australia / Rider Levitt Bucknall Innovation & Excellence Awards, this the 5-Star Green Star rated development features numerous sustainable design measures including a solar system, free electric vehicle charging facilities, and energy-efficient lighting and air conditioning.

Sovereign Hills Town Centre

Incorporating biophilic design principles and sustainability measures, Sovereign Hills Town Centre features electric car charging stations, reclaimed water usage and roof-mounted solar panels, which reduce the shopping centre’s energy footprint and operating costs.

The Hub

Holding an Enviro-Mark Gold accreditation, The Hub Hornby brings sustainable retail to the southern Christchurch region. Focused on electrical energy, waste and resource minimisation, the centre includes environmentally-friendly features such as rain harvesting for irrigation and a new waste and compactor area to work hand in hand with the initiatives of the operators.

Living Build Challenge

Buchan’s People’s Choice Award-winning design concept for the Living Building Challenge reimagines what a shopping centre inspired by Passivhaus principles might look like and perform.

The design competition challenged participants to create the world’s greenest retail centre in the suburbs of Melbourne. The foundation of Buchan’s entry is to bring the community in, through elements including a community centre, a gym, community gardens and a butterfly enclosure. The design also considers that the centre is part of a larger development including a residential community. Then, we overlaid the traditional retail centre on top to create a centre that serves and connects with that specific community in ways that are engaging, practical and beautiful.

Most of the building sits under a landscaped roof, providing a thermal buffer; while landscaping filters water, with elements including bioswales and a small wetland. Everything is about getting water, waste and energy to below zero.

Passivhaus and sustainability specialists and landscape architects also formed part of Buchan’s competition team.


Awarded a 5 Star Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of Australia for several of its redevelopment stages, Chadstone is the epitome of sustainable style. The centre boasts numerous environmentally-conscious features including highly efficient air conditioning, smart lighting, end of trip facilities for staff and visitors, extensive indoor and outdoor landscaping including green walls, efficient waste management, a major bus interchange with smart bus technology, and rainwater collection and recycling. Further minimising its energy footprint, the iconic grid shell roof provides the centre with a natural light source while high-performance glazing works to minimise excess heat.