Today, a story about a new city park in development in Sydney, Australia caught my eye. They’re calling it Central Park, and if early planning is any indication, it will make New York’s Central Park blush. Check out the super cool “3D Masterplan.”
As Matt Siegel of The New York Times put it in an article yesterday, it’s “less like a park in the city and more like a city in the park.”
This project is part of the city’s clean energy initiative called Sustainable Sydney 2030. The initiative will cut Sydney’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent, increase supplies of renewable energy and add 48,000 dwellings to the city all in just 20 years.
Here are the basic specs for Sydney’s Central Park project:
• 14.3 acres
• 70,000 square feet of park land
• 11 buildings, ranging from three to 33 floors
• 1,800 residential units (housing 2,500 people)
• commercial space accommodating 5,400 people
Interestingly, the plans do not feature solar or wind energy as core components. Instead, the focus is on efficient energy use and waste recycling. In addition, “vertical gardens” will cover the walls of residential towers and rooftops will turn rain into drinking water.
As the Times article explains, Sydney’s Central Park will generate electric power as well as heating and cooling power all from the same production source. This is called “trigeneration,” and it’s significantly more efficient than electric generation that releases heat as waste.
The park will deploy this energy using a “precinct” approach, where energy usage will be channeled primarily to commercial spaces during the workday and residential spaces in the evening. Designers expect the system to be so efficient that the buildings will develop surplus electricity that they will be able to sell back to the larger grid for use in neighboring areas.
Another fascinating, albeit – at least at first glance – somewhat unappealing solution that will be used in Central Park is “blackwater recycling.” This means that the park will recycle all wastewater, including sewage, back into the site’s water system for use in watering gardens and washing clothes. The blackwater will not be recycled for drinking water, however.
Here at Planet Change we like to share stories about solutions that The Nature Conservancy and others around the world are creating and deploying to combat carbon pollution and to help ensure a healthy and clean future. Sydney’s Central Park embraces the Planet Change spirit in spades.
Matt Barrett is marketing manager for climate change at The Nature Conservancy
Photo by: Flickr user FrancoisRoche (Sydney Panorama). Used under a Creative Commons license.
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