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Building recycling reaches new heights with city site demolition

The success rate for recycling building materials from demolition sites has reached new heights in Adelaide.

One of South Australia's leading property developers - Hines Property - will achieve a "recyclable success rate" of about 98 per cent of materials by weight of materials removed from the former RAA building on the corner of Grenfell Street and Hindmarsh Square.

The demolition will make way for Adelaide's newest green residential and office development, aptly named Conservatory - a $70 million, 18 storey complex regarded as one the world's greenest buildings of its type.

The materials recycled will remain in the construction industry in the form of recycled quarry material and scrap metal with timber combustibles used as alternative fuel at Adelaide Brighton Cement.

"This success rate is a result of our policy of introducing better efficiencies and improvements in our business, and to be industry leaders and innovators in what we do," Hines Property Director, Mr James Hines, said. "To be able to recycle virtually all of the rubble and building materials from a large demolition site such as this is a significant environmental outcome."

Mr Hines said all of the rubble and building materials from the demolition site were partially sorted on location before being removed.

"Some of the timber is being shredded into alternative fuels, while the bricks and concrete are being converted into a form of road base material," he said.

"The steel is taken away and reused. Generally we try to find new homes for as much of the old building materials as possible."

Conservatory is the third significant development by Hines Property that has achieved a "recyclable success rate" of over 85 per cent for its demolition sites.

"Our previous major city development achieved recycling rates in excess of 87 per cent, which we thought was a great result at the time," Mr Hines said. "We are proud of the results we have been able to achieve with recycling an assortment of building materials, which would otherwise have found their way to landfill sites across Adelaide.

"As an industry, it is important we take responsibility, wherever possible, to reduce landfill not only in South Australia, but Australia-wide."

"Strict controls also are in place to ensure minimum waste during construction of the new buildings and targets to achieve maximum recycling of this waste."

South Australian Company, PT Building Services, is undertaking the demolition works. Construction of Conservatory is expected to be complete by early 2009, during which time more than 250 people will be employed.

Mr Hines said the Conservatory would combine eco-friendly features with a dramatic design and set a new environmental benchmark for Australian residential buildings.

The building has a solar cell "spine" from Level 10 on the north façade and solar cell cladding over the Grenfell Street office entrance. The building incorporates just 53 luxury apartments, starting at Level 10, which are equipped with energy and water-efficient appliances, double-glazed windows, extensive cross-ventilation, efficient lighting and living areas much larger than most city apartments.

"Conservatory has been designed for Adelaide's seasonal and environmental conditions and targets a 50 per cent reduction in energy use by apartments and a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, 51 per cent reduction in water usage and a 40 per cent reduction in waste to landfill," Mr Hines said.

"When we began planning this development our environmental targets did not mean much to the wider market, but such issues are now in everyone's minds. The unique design and inclusions have certainly helped this development outperform the market."

The apartments are equipped with energy and water-efficient Miele appliances including dishwashers, double glazing, extensive cross-ventilation and highly efficient lighting and water fixtures. In addition, the apartments utilise rain water collection for toilet flushing, are provided with free hot water from the on-site micro turbine and can access solar power generated on-site.

Since its release to the public last July, Conservatory has attracted enormous interest from buyers keen to secure a home in what will be the first building of its kind in Australia.

Remaining apartments range from 81 square metres to more than 240 square metres, and are priced from $495,000 to $1.2 million. The development also includes two penthouses which include expansive private rooftop gardens.