Sustainability features

Read about the sustainability features at The Coal Loader

  • Sustainable timber

    95% of the timber used in the refurbishment of the Genia McCaffery Centre for Sustainability is either post-consumer recycled or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. 

  • Electricity generation

    All the electricity utilised on site is from renewable energy sources. There is 85kW of rooftop solar panels onsite, generating more than enough to cover all daytime electricity needs. This is all clean energy, replacing coal and gas fired electricity, at a much lower price per unit of electricity than grid power. A battery has been installed to save some onsite solar electricity to be used overnight.

  • Heat pumps and hot water

    All heating and cooling on site is carried out with heat pumps, including space heating and cooling, and hot water systems. The heat pump hot water system captures heat while the sun is shining on the solar electric (PV) panels.

  • Heating

    Heat is harvested from the outside air and transferred inside using reverse-cycle air-conditioners (RCAC). The RCAC units are powered by renewable electricity mainly from onsite solar electric (PV) panels during the day.

  • Cooling

    The Centre has been designed to maximise the use of natural ventilation. West side shading and louvres help with keeping the building cool, as do enhanced glazing. Cooling with solar-powered reverse-cycle air-conditioners (RCACs) is also used as necessary.

  • Water saving

    Rainwater captured from the rooftops and collected in a 50,000-litre underground tank. It is utilised for gardening and toilet flushing. This saves thousands of litres of drinking water each year.

    All the toilets have a 4-star WELS scheme rating. These only use 3.5 – 6 litres of water per flush, compared to 12 litres per flush for traditional toilets.

  • Insulation

    The ceilings and walls of the Genia McCaffery Centre have been insulated using batts made of recycled polyester content.

  • Paint

    Paint used in the cottage is 100% free from volatile organic compounds (VOC). VOCs are chemicals found in many products we use to build and maintain our homes. They are associated with asthma and other allergies. VOC-free paint is just as resilient as more toxic paints and is now commonly available.  

  • Glazed windows

    The glass in some of the windows is coated in an ultra-thin layer of low emissivity metal that acts as a reflective shield. It re-radiates warmth back into rooms in winter and deflects heat in summer. Windows in the display room have an added layer of Perspex (magnetite panels). This is an effective method of double glazing.

  • Natural daylighting system

    Lighting in the rooms is assisted by the tubular skylight system. It directs daylight via a highly reflective tube. This lights up a room and helps reduce energy consumption.

  • Lighting

    The site uses LED lighting instead of fluorescent, CFL or metal halide lighting. LED is cheaper and contains no toxic metals.

  • Curtains

    Curtains are a low-tech solution that offer enormous benefits for comfort, acoustics and energy-cost savings. Our curtains are made using recycled street banners.

Coal Loader solar panels

Sustainability in North Sydney

Learn more about our sustainability projects and programs and how you can get involved.

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