ESD (Ecologically Sustainable Development) design guide for office and public buildings

This tool is a useful overall guide to environmentally sustainable building design. This guide gives a basic introduction to ecological sustainability issues and specifically how the built environment affects them.

The guide covers a range of issues, including minimising transport impact. This is not the same as the supply of a high-quality interchange and tends to view transport as a problem to be solved. Other issues are integrated design and process management, social sustainability and occupant satisfaction, indoor environment quality, energy management, commissioning and operation, ozone layer depletion, choosing materials, waste minimisation and water use reduction.

The bulk of this guide outlines initiatives that can be put in place to minimise the environmental and social impacts of buildings.

All subjects included in this guide are very helpful for the design of an interchange. For interchanges without buildings, the following opportunities contain the most useful improvements: minimising energy use, minimising transport impact, minimising waste and land use & ecology


NODES strategic objectiveContribution
Enhance accessibility and integration +
Enhance intermodality +
Enhance liveability ++
Increase safety and security conditions ++
Increase economic viability and costs efficiency ++
Stimulate local economy ++
Increase environmental efficiency ++
Increase energy efficiency ++

Good practice

Applied in Australia, several use cases can be highlighted.

National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (Australia)

Most aspects of this strategy are really important for interchanges, because without paying attention to these aspects, it would not be guaranteed that the interchange is ecological and sustainable. Governments will, among other things, improve the efficiency of urban public transport, operation of the road network and traffic management and also adopt pricing and other demand management techniques to optimise the modal mix of transport with respect to economic, environmental and social benefits.

Brindabella Circuit Canberra International Airport

The building of Brindabella Circuit is more energy-efficient than a building of similar size. This is the case because cooling, heating and supplementary air conditioning water are reticulated from a central services building, which in turn serves all the new buildings in the Brindabella Business Park. These economies of scale allow considerable redundant capacity to be provided, ensuring a consistent supply of conditioned air and heated water to the building.


Potential interchange performance improvement

  • integrated design
  • social sustainability and occupant satisfaction
  • optimising indoor environment quality
  • minimising energy use
  • minimising transport impact
  • choosing materials
  • minimising Waste