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Barangaroo: Sydney's largest eco-district

Posted on 05 July 2018.

The city of Sydney has built Barangaroo, an eco-district with a positive ecological footprint: carbon neutral, water positive, reduced demand for electricity.

A wastewater recycling plant capable of producing more than one million liters of water a day

"Barangaroo". Remember the name of this new district in Sydney. What’s so special about it? It’s designed to be fully sustainable. And so respond to one of Australia's major challenges: with population growth and reduced rainfall, water demand continues to rise as resources decline. In the land of kangaroos, it is high time solutions were found to preserve and optimize the use of blue gold. Barangaroo is one of those solutions.

Several years of rehabilitation

It took several years of rehabilitation works to transform Sydney's former industrial port area into a brand new eco-district. The 22-hectare site now includes office buildings, housing, hotels, restaurants and even casinos. It has no less than 1,200 residents plus an additional 23,000 people who work there every day.

The real estate group responsible for its construction wanted Barangaroo to be one of the first eco-districts of this size in the world and for it to have a positive ecological footprint. The goals were to be carbon neutral and water positive. In other words, the district recycles and exports more water than it imports in the form of drinking water.

The Barangaroo district includes a huge complex consisting of an electricity network, a water treatment and recycling plant and a cooling network. The system put in place makes it possible to recycle the 500,000 liters of drinking water used daily in the district. Additional water is recovered by collecting rainwater, and during slack periods the plant also processes some of Sydney's wastewater. Finally, to avoid drawing water from aquifers the cooling system draws some of the water needed to operate it directly from the ocean.

In total, the plant is capable of producing more than one million liters of recycled water every day. Which meets and even exceeds Barangaroo’s needs. The extra water is sent to other parts of the city.

A sustainable construction laboratory 

Usually individual buildings in a district are equipped with their own cooling system and electricity network. Here, centralizing all facilities in the same plant for the entire district significantly reduces the demand for electricity and CO2 emissions.

With Barangaroo, the city of Sydney has created a sustainable construction laboratory. The district could serve as a model and inspiration for responsible building design.