Our work covers many disciplines. Here’s a snapshot of some of the projects we’re working on or have completed in the past.
As a way to mitigate the Urban Heat Island Effect, MEFL in a partnership with Moreland City Council is working on a project named Cooling Communities. This project is funded through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and will work in areas of social housing in Moreland.
Moreland’s suburbs are particularly vulnerable to heat waves due to a lack of green infrastructure and lack of water bodies such as rivers or lagoons. An analysis shows that vulnerability to the UHIE is particularly extreme in areas of social housing. This project aims to create a set of recommendations which will promote UHIE resilience in social housing areas, for use by local government, social housing providers, and residents across Victoria.
The Coalition for Community Energy (C4CE) released the Guide to Community-Owned Renewable Energy for Victorians in 2015. MEFL contributed to the Guide’s development, along with Embark, Community Power Agency and the Alternative Technology Association.
Developed specifically for the Victorian context, the work was funded by the Victorian Government. It is both a resource for community groups that are considering a renewable energy project and those that are already in the process of establishing a project. The Guide consolidates existing knowledge and resources and provides links to further information and advice. It provides practical pointers on critical commercial, technical, governance and regulatory aspects of renewable energy projects, including a wealth of useful information on identifying an appropriate business model, selecting the most suitable technology and managing a project.
MEFL worked with the City of Kingston on a series of ten workshops for local developers. The project involved a council-sponsored initial sustainability opportunity assessment by MEFL, working directly with the development team.
The workshops, which took between two and three hours, also acted as an education opportunity for new environmentally sustainable development (ESD) approaches and technology. The methodology was informed by our experience in the management of the roll-out of Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) to councils across Victoria and the development of MEFL’s Sustainable Urban Development Framework which incorporates carbon (energy), water, waste, materials and transport considerations. This project has resulted in significant benefit for City of Kingston and developers.
The Commons is an outstanding sustainable apartment development that used MEFL’s
Sustainable Urban Development Framework to communicate their approach to sustainability. Situated in Florence Street Brunswick, the development was designed by Breathe Architecture and delivered by developer Small Giants. This project sets a new benchmark in sustainable living. It has won two Victorian Australian Institute of Architects awards for sustainable design and multi-unit housing.
New houses, commercial buildings and entire neighbourhoods are being designed and built all around Melbourne. MEFL’s work using the Sustainable Urban Development Framework has demonstrated that all projects have the potential to improve their sustainability outcomes. Early consideration and taking a tailored approach based on the project’s unique context can lead to better outcomes that don’t have a huge cost impact – a win for all.
Urban developments built now and into the future will have a lasting effect on the sustainability of our cities. However competing pressures can make delivery of truly sustainable development difficult to achieve.
During 2010-11, MEFL developed the Sustainable Urban Development Framework (SUDF) to help project managers, urban planners, and developers embed sustainability features throughout development projects.