Umwelt’s new green office 

GREEN: Peter Jamieson and Barbara Crossley at their new “green” headquarters at Teralba yesterday. Picture: Ryan OslandENVIRONMENTAL consultancy Umwelt has celebrated its 20th anniversary and officially opened its new headquarters at Teralba.

The 88-year-old former Teralba Co-op building has been given a futuristic ‘‘green’’ makeover by Adamstown-based Graph Building, using plans created by Rushcutters Bay firm David Selden Design.

At an official opening of the York Street, Teralba, building last night, Umwelt director Peter Jamieson said it enabled the company to ‘‘walk its talk regarding environmental sustainability, impact, performance and quality’’.

A large array of solar panels were capable of generating 135,000kilowatt-hours of electricity a year.

Careful design and thousands of metres of embedded water pipes meant the building operated without air-conditioning.

A roof garden had more than 40tonnes of soil, with a 28,000-litre tank providing water for garden and toilets.

Mr Jamieson and another director, Barbara Crossley, built Umwelt from its earliest days in Toronto to a thriving business employing more than 120people at the Teralba office, with offices in Canberra and Perth.

This week’s Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy conference at Pokolbin heard repeated complaints about the increasing cost and complexity of mining approvals, with some environmental assessments running to thousands of pages.

Asked if Umwelt was a beneficiary of this trend, Mr Jamieson said: ‘‘The environmental services sector continues to be a dynamic profession with the need to take into account emerging and evolving technologies, policies, legislation and government and community expectations.’’

He said Umwelt had worked with some of the largest companies in the world, and had been involved with more than 3000 projects in the resource, infrastructure and industry sectors.

Having recently finished the environmental assessment for a $1billion coal project near Singleton, Umwelt had won the contract for Lake Macquarie City Council’s estuary management plan.