Randwick Sustainability Hub

Activities available at the Hub

Award-winning demonstration site in Randwick

Come to the Hub and see beautiful and practical examples of how to live sustainability. If you want to know more, we have tours and workshops and you can even join our amazing community that contribute to making the Hub a thriving centre.

We've retrofitted the Randwick Community Centre for energy and water efficiency. A photovoltaic panel array, wind turbine, interior improvements to energy and water use, a range of rainwater tanks and our PIG (Permaculture Interpretive Garden) offer plenty of take-home ideas that you can adapt to your own house and garden.

We have reedbed toilet and filtered drinking water bubbler. You can refill your water bottle with clean, filtered water instead of throwing it away empty. There's even a drinking station for your thirsty dog.

The Classroom is made from recycled materials and demonstrates energy efficient design features.

Adjacent to the Randwick Community Centre you will find the Randwick Environment Park PDF, 4858.06 KB with its 13 hectares of parkland, bushland and wetland. There are 92 species of indigenous plants that have been identified to date.

Areas to visit at the Hub

See below for each of the areas available to visit:

Permaculture Interpretive Garden

By applying design principled from the permaculture design system, an Australian invention, we have built a garden that is an integrated public park and education facility demonstrating a range of materials, plant types and design ideas that can be copied in your home or community garden.

The colour of the flowers and different plants changes with the season, attracting people to the edible and other species that come and go.

Educational signage and interactive displays make sense of the garden for visitors.

In the Permaculture Interpretive Garden you will find:

  • A range of raised vegie beds made of different materials
  • The beginnings of our food forest
  • A rain garden that connected to the rainwater tank stormwater overflow
  • The compost and wormfarm demonstration area
  • Small-space garden displays for courtyards and balconies
  • Native garden including frog pond and lizard lounge
  • Our new balcony garden display area including wicking bed, insect motel, vertical gardens and aquaponic system.

Take a look at the Permaculture Interpretive Garden's rain garden

Balcony Garden Display Area

Energy Wise Trail

Educational signage has been developed and installed around the Randwick Community Centre so that visitors can learn about the energy efficient technologies featured on site.

The energy efficiency technologies you find on site include:

  • Energy supply systems — 2.4kW wind turbine, a 2.1kW photovoltaic solar panel array, a solar hot water system
  • Passive energy efficiency building design enhancements — awnings, louvre window ventilation for cooling, interior retrofitting to reduce electricity use and costs by making best use of natural light with skylights
  • Active energy efficiency building design enhancements — fans for heating and cooling, gas heating, energy efficient appliances.

Wind Turbine. Photo: Russ Grayson

The classroom

The Classroom is a passive-solar building design that utilises the permaculture principle to produce 'no waste'. The function of the classroom is to run school excursions and community sustainability workshops. The classroom can also be hired by the local community for educational purposes.

The building makes extensive use of the following recycled materials:

  • telegraph poles for structural support (12 in total)
  • hardwood posts for structural support
  • recycled floorboards (130 sqm)
  • recycled aggregate in the concrete floor
  • plywood ceiling/cladding (200 sqm)
  • recycled timber for window and door frame
  • repurposed kitchenette (recycled laminate carcass)
  • bricks and lime mortar (150 sqm - locally sourced)
  • recycled plastic edging for pathway (170m) and
  • 1x 8000L rainwater tank.

The building has been constructed entirely from repurposed and recycled materials. The external cladding of the building is recycled hardwood floorboards from an old warehouse and the structural beams and columns are recycled telegraph poles. Recycled timber and bricks have also been used extensively through the works. The building has also been design to incorporate the open louvers which allow the cool north-east breezes to flow through in summer.  Rainwater is also harvested from the roof and pumped up to the reed-bed toilets.

The building has been designed to keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The pergola on the northern side of the building uses passive solar design to control the interior temperature. In the winter the concrete floor warms up during the day to keep the inside temperature warm.

The Classroom

Reedbed toilet

A reed-bed toilet system has been installed for public use. The toilet has a 'Rootzone model reed-bed filter system' to break down the material and filter the wastewater so it can be used for irrigation around the Community Centre. This system is a living, self-cleaning biological filter that removes disease organisms, nutrients, organic materials, petroleum-related chemicals and other polluting compounds for the wastewater.

The effluent flows through the successive stages of the bio-filter noted below:

  • septic tank
  • horizontal sub-surface flow reed bed filter tank
  • vertical flow reed-bed filter tank
  • UV disinfection unit and
  • irrigation pump — this takes the final water to the garden irrigation system after disinfection.

The breakdown of contaminants and the treatment of the wastewater is achieved by the controlled seepage of the waterborne pollutants through the root zone of plants (garden bed located adjacent to the toilet facility). Organic pollutants are broken down to become a food source for the extraordinary variety of micro-organisms that dwell in the soil as well as for plants.

Reedbed Toilet

Water Wise Trail

Using educational signage and interactive displays, the Water Wise Trail demonstrates smart water efficiency features at the Randwick Community Centre and in the Permaculture Interpretive Garden.

The water use efficiency technologies you find on site include:

  • A kitchen made with recycled and zero-toxicity materials fitted with an interpretive display and water efficient dishwasher
  • A range of rainwater tanks that feed rainwater to our toilets and irrigate the permaculture garden — this reduces reliance on town water
  • Water efficient irrigation features in the Permaculture Interpretive Garden
  • An Australian native plant, low water requirement garden in the Permaculture garden
  • Randwick Environment Park, which includes remnant Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub and an ephemeral wetland
  • A reedbed toilet that treats water and recycles it through garden beds
  • A filtered water drinking station where you can refill your water bottle with clean, filtered water instead of throwing it away empty.

Costa Georgiadis opens the Water Wise Trail 2010

Rainwater tank model. Photo: Russ Grayson

Native Stingless Bee and Honey Bee Trail

Honeybee and stingless native bees find a home at Randwick Community Centre...

You will find the apiary enclosure on the southern boundary of the Village Green at the Randwick Community Centre. The enclosure houses two honeybee and one stingless, native bee hive. One of the honeybee hives is the top bar type and the other a conventional box hive.

Native bees are kept mainly to assist with pollination as they do not produce much honey. There are numerous varieties, most of them stingless. Some are social while others are solitary.

Considering bees?

As an urban beekeeper you are supporting urban pollinators and increasing their population as insurance against colony collapse disorder that is devastating beehives in other countries.

Workshops on urban beekeeping at the Hub educate people about the importance of bees to the pollination of our crops and for the culinary and medicinal importance of the honey they produce.

Native Stingless Bee and Honey Bee Trail

Native Stingless Bee Box

Going Green Education Award winner for 2015

At the recent Keep Australia Beautiful Blue Star Sustainability Metro Awards Dinner 2015, Randwick City Council was the winner in the Going Green Education Award for the Randwick Sustainability Hub project.

KAB education award winner 2015

Other awards taken home by Randwick City Council that night...

  • Highly Commended — Environmental Achievement Award to sustainability unit manager, Peter Maganov
  • Highly Commended — Sustainable Systems Award for Getting the total picture on Randwick’s Energy Savings
  • Highly Commended — Overall Metropolitan Sustainability Award.

2015 Blue Star Highly Commended awards

Photos: Keep NSW Beautiful's Facebook page.

Read more: 3-Council Reduce Your Footprint website.

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