Code Green’s Chris Knierim is intent on setting the benchmark for sustainable building, one project at a time.
story > Laura Valic
t’s been two years since Chris Knierim, director of design and construction companies Designer Constructions and Code Green, scooped up national and international awards – including HIA GreenSmart Home of the Year 2014 – for his custom-built project, Forest Lodge Eco House. And while the delectably-designed inner-city Sydney terrace packed a sustainable punch to the Australian housing industry – even airing on Grand Designs Australia and Better Homes & Gardens – Chris isn’t resting on his laurels, and is determined to bring positive, ecological principles to the building industry. ‘[Forest Lodge] was our family home and we have nice memories there…but we’re rebuilding elsewhere to continue this [momentum] of “greening” buildings,’ says Chris, who is regularly consulted by councils, as well as commercial and residential developers about how to produce better,
more sustainable outcomes in built-up environments. ‘The house gave the environmental aspects of design a big boost, and I want to carry on this legacy.’ The GreenSmart Professional has developed a distinct sustainable ethos for his Sydney-based company, and future projects must meet this to even be considered: ‘We want to make sure people are as passionate about change as we are,’ he says. Many are approaching Code Green, particularly inspired by the Lodge’s artistic vertical and roof-top gardens. Chris is currently designing several across Sydney – not often seen in Australia though they offer effective, lowmaintenance insulation from heat and noise, absorb air pollutants, and reduce water run-off. While ideal for ﬂat roofs, these gardens can easily be installed on pitched ones too. ‘We usually go up to 10 or 15 degrees but you can go much higher,’ Chris says. ‘However, you must incorporate webbing