Sustainability in design – Crows Nest Station

Sydney Metro is Australia’s biggest public transport project, which in 2024 will include 31 metro stations, revolutionising Sydney’s transport network. The project aims to enable the long-term growth of Sydney’s rail network, supporting improved travel times, reliability, and integration with other transport options including bus and cycling networks.

Project

Crows Nest Station Design

Year

2019-2020

Location

Australia

Client

Sydney Metro

37
annual modelled energy consumption reduction
53
reduction in potable water consumption
21
reduction in construction phase greenhouse gas emissions

The project
Crows Nest Station is an underground station which is part of the Sydney Metro City & Southwest project. Located approximately 6km north of Sydney’s CBD, the area is a growing commercial and residential precinct.

As we plan for medium and high-density urban environments that meet future population demands, suburbs like Crows Nest will be at the forefront due to their proximity to central business areas. The challenge is to incorporate sustainability and environmentally resilient features into infrastructure. SMEC was engaged as the lead consultant on the Crows Nest Design Consortium (CNDC), its partners include Woods Bagot, Robert Bird Group, Norman Disney Young (NDY), and Oculus. 

Designing for a climate-resilient future
Sustainable and resilient infrastructure is a vital aspect of engineering design in moving towards a climate-resilient future. The design for Crows Nest Station incorporated mitigation measures to address key climate change risks, including increases in extreme rainfall events, extreme heat, severe storm events, flooding, solar radiation and changes in soil moisture.

Risk treatments to identify and alleviate risk were applied throughout the design; this meant the project was able to achieve a lower risk profile. All high rated risks were mitigated to a medium risk rating, and 40% of medium rated risks were mitigated to a low-risk rating. Measures implemented to mitigate the risk of climate change include engineering the mechanical equipment to withstand a rise in average temperatures over the next 30 years while continuing to regulate the Station’s temperature to provide a comfortable environment for customers.

As part of developing sustainable infrastructure, Crows Nest Station incorporated active transport facilities to promote a sustainable way of life that also encourages health and wellbeing for commuters and increases the liveability of the area. Indoor and outdoor secure bike storages spaces and end of trip amenities, including shower and locker spaces, were also integrated into the station.

“Together with our partners, we developed an operational waste management plan for the Crows Nest Station site that will help to minimise waste produced and maximise waste recycled. To ensure waste efficiency strategies are met, the design includes appropriate storage facilities for separate waste streams.”

– Sav Dell’Aquila SMEC’s Principal Project Manager who is leading the Crows Nest Station project.

Innovative engineering outcomes
Significant benefits on the project were achieved through the use of pre-cast concrete. For example, a pre-cast concrete beam structural solution allowed for quicker construction times which in turn meant no formwork interference at platform level. Although pre-cast elements have been used before in constructing underground stations, Crows Nest Station is the first underground station to have more than 90% pre-cast structural elements. The main challenge for the designers was to adapt the details and construction techniques to a large-scale underground project, where the design requirements are vastly different.

In addition to the innovative engineering to minimise materials consumption and waste generation during the construction phase, SMEC developed an operational waste management plan to leave a legacy of sustainable practices from design and construction and into operations.

“Together with our partners, we developed an operational waste management plan for the Crows Nest Station site that will help to minimise waste produced and maximise waste recycled. To ensure waste efficiency strategies are met, the design includes appropriate storage facilities for separate waste streams,” explains Sav Dell’Aquila SMEC’s Principal Project Manager who is leading the Crows Nest Station project.

By challenging conventional practices and using innovative techniques and technology, the team were able to deliver a design that is not only sustainable but also delivers construction cost savings and improved commuter experience.

Through innovative engineering, the team were able to achieve:

  • 37% modelled annual operational energy consumption reduction (when compared to a reference building) by selecting energy-efficient equipment and lighting. (delivered by CNDC partner NDY)
  • 21% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, as measured by the Transport for NSW Carbon Estimate and Reporting Tool (CERT), in comparison to the project baseline greenhouse gas footprint. This was achieved through design refinement, maximising supplementary cementitious content, and selecting materials with a low carbon footprint. (delivered by CNDC partner NDY)
  • Reducing potable water consumption by 53%, according to the GBCA potable water calculator, by including a rainwater tank (which can be operated until the OSD is constructed), selecting drought-tolerant plant species for landscaping, incorporating passive irrigation to landscaped areas, selecting water efficiency fixtures and fittings, and reusing 88% of fire testing water.

The design also minimised product environmental impact by specifying that:

  • At least 90% of all permanent, formwork, pipes, flooring, blinds and cables do not contain PVC.
  • 95% of all timber is either certified by a forest certification scheme or is from a reused source.
  • 95% of all steel is sourced from an environmentally responsible steel maker.
  • 60% of fabricated structural steel is supplied by a steel fabricator/steel contractor accredited to the Environmental Sustainability Charter of the Australian Steel Institute (ASI).
  • At least 60% (by mass) of all reinforcing bar and mesh is manufactured using energy-reducing processes (measured by average mass by steelmaker annually).
  • At least 50% of paint applied on site will have no more than 5g/L of volatile organic compounds.

“These achievements are a testament to how a shared commitment to innovation and sustainability on a major infrastructure project can be translated into exemplary action and outcomes,” says Sav Dell’Aquila.  “Crows Nest Station and the wider Sydney Metro project will revolutionise Sydney’s transport network, building for the future growth and liveability of Australia’s most populated city.”

Crows Nest Station was required to achieve a minimum 5 Star Green Star rating certified by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). In November 2020, the project achieved a 6 Star design rating, exceeding expectations.

References:
  1. Sydney Metro City & Southwest Sustainability Strategy
Project

Crows Nest Station Design

Year

2019-2020

Location

Australia

Client

Sydney Metro

37
annual modelled energy consumption reduction
53
reduction in potable water consumption
21
reduction in construction phase greenhouse gas emissions

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