Sustainability is intrinsic to what we do at JCB, both within our practice and through our projects. We recognise the importance of social, economic and environmental sustainability in our long-term strategy and day to day operations.

As architects and designers, we also acknowledge our responsibility to deliver buildings that reduce waste and carbon emissions throughout construction and operational life. We've delivered numerous projects with environmentally sustainable credentials such as Green Star as well as industry-leading innovative solutions such as mass timber and Passivhaus Certification.

Our aim is to make a positive contribution to the environment and the communities in which we operate.

Our actions

In early 2020, JCB became an Australian Founding Signatory of the Architects Declare movement, making a commitment to go carbon neutral along with over 200 architectural practices around the globe.

Since then, we have proudly become Climate Active certified. This Australian government-backed program demonstrates that we’re measuring, reducing and offsetting our emissions, with a net result of zero carbon emissions. View our Public Disclosure Statement.

In the design of our studio, retention of the existing building was an important part of our sustainability strategy. We also installed a 60kW Solar Farm on the north facing Truss roof structure, feeding three 13.kWH Tesla Batteries which store excess power for evening power demand and IT infrastructure back-up.

5000 litres of rainwater storage are harvested in tanks in the garage, providing irrigation to our native garden and water supply for washroom facilities.

Social & cultural

Social and cultural sustainability are at the heart of JCB's values. We're committed to supporting diversity in its many forms and recognise that a mutually inclusive architecture profession is stronger, more sustainable and makes a more meaningful contribution to society through the built environment.

We seek to give back through pro bono projects and, as an AWF Network Partner, are currently working with Architects Without Frontiers and Uthman’s Dream Incorporated (UDI) on a project in the Kitgum Region of northern Uganda. The project envisions a three-stage development on a 15-acre site outside Kitgum including homes, a K-12 school, sports facilities and gardens for up to 300 girls and boys (100 per stage), giving them hope of safe and happy childhoods and self-sufficient futures.


Passive design is achieved through building orientation and careful design of the building envelope to utilise natural sources of heating and cooling and reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Holistic application of passive design principles maximises fresh air, access to daylight, views and vistas, and provides good shading. Creating a facade that delivers high performance outcomes minimises thermal transfer between interior spaces and the outdoor environment.

Another opportunity is biophilic design which connects building users with the natural world. Research shows that when water, plants, sunlight and materials such as timber are incorporated into the built environment, occupant comfort and wellbeing are enhanced.

Simple, informed moves such as these can deliver real outcomes: healthy, thermally consistent and comfortable buildings with abundant fresh, clean air and natural light and ongoing operational cost savings.

JCB works with clients to understand sustainability aspirations and objectives and to uncover previously untapped opportunities. Commencing with a questionnaire at project kick-off, the dialogue continues through design phases, with post-occupancy measurement playing a key role upon completion.


Passivhaus requires buildings to achieve approximately 70% less energy consumption than an equivalent BCA compliant building, and costs between 6% and 10% more to deliver. With tangible outcomes delivered via ongoing cost savings and helping reduce the impacts of climate change, more intangible benefits such as occupant comfort and wellbeing are also realised.

JCB Associate Danielle Pacella is a Certified Passivhaus Designer and instrumental in our sustainability approach. From defining the thermal envelope to overcoming planning and construction challenges, Danielle brings valuable expertise in the design and delivery of Passivhaus buildings.

Completed in 2019, JCB’s Gillies Hall at Monash University’s Peninsula Campus is one of the largest Passivhaus Certified buildings in the southern hemisphere

Mass timber

During construction, substituting carbon-conscious solutions such as mass timber can make a positive impact. Sourcing local materials and minimising the impact of carbon transportation also supports local industry and supply chains.

JCB used innovative mass timber construction to design both La Trobe University Student Accommodation (pictured) and Monash University Gillies Hall. Clifton Hill Primary School, currently under construction, is also designed using mass timber, and a new 16-storey commercial tower is underway for Wellington St, Collingwood and set to be Victoria’s tallest mass timber building.

Adaptive reuse

Adaptive reuse of existing buildings presents a unique set of constraints and opportunities, while significantly reducing waste and resource use. With considered interventions, our built heritage can be preserved within the community and adapted to current requirements.

In the design of our studio, retention of the existing building was an important part of our sustainability strategy. Developed in a repurposed industrial warehouse, we started with a commitment to retain and celebrate as much of the original fabric as possible, including the original timber floors and sawtooth roof structure. Our primary workspaces are now located under the clear-span sawtooth skylights enjoying generous daylight.

For the North-West Precinct, JCB was challenged by Monash University to question how existing campus buildings could be adapted. As a result, a simple ‘paint and carpet’ upgrade became an exemplar of adaptive reuse. The wholesale lifecycle renewal of Building 26 saw complete upgrade of facades, building services and internal planning and fabric.