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Model & Local action – Green Star buildings in Melbourne

Posted in Models, Visions by Ferne Edwards on March 27th, 2007

The Green Star Award is an Environmental Rating System for Buildings created by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). The GCBA is a national, not-for-profit organisation supported by both industry and governments across the country whose mission is to develop and encourage a sustainable property industry for Australia. Their Green Star Award aims to assist the building industry to transit into sustainable development by recognising and rewarding environmental leadership.

Melbourne-based certified projects that have received the Green Star by the GBCA include:
6 Star Green Star – Office Design ratings: Council House 2 (CH2) and 40 Albert Road in Melbourne city
Green Star – Office Design rating
Kangan Batman TAFE Automotive Centre of Excellence, the Hume City
Council Office Building in Broadmeadows, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, 450 Burnley, 500 Collins Street in Melbourne city, and Digital Harbour
Port 1010 in the Docklands

Future local projects include the 6 Green Star Melbourne Convention Centre as a $1 billion urban renewal project along the lower Yarra River bank. The Convention Centre is estimated to be completed in 2009.The Bendigo Bank Headquarters in Bendigo is another example of a Green Star building.

CH2 was openedin Melbourne City, 20 August, 2006. It is the first building in Australia to achieve the six Green Star certified rating, representing world leadership in office building design. Features of CH2 include a water-mining plant in the basement, phase-change materials for cooling, automatic night-purge
windows, wavy concrete ceilings and a façade of louvres (powered by photovoltaic cells) that track the sun.

The 6 Star 40 Albert Road, South Melbourne, is a 1,200m2 five-storey office building built in 1987, which was regenerated during 2004-05. 40 Albert Road has a commitment to monitoring and deliverying their environmental standards installing monitoring systems to ensure building performance. This high standard is also showcased with Szencorp, the prime occupant, running tours of the building features, establishing a building website and making energy and water use monitoring data available online.

Kangan Batman TAFE Automotive Centre of Excellence was built in December 2005 and due to its design only consumes half of the average energy consumption of a typical Melbourne office building. It achieves this environmental standard by using a range of features such as passive design and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.

Hume City Council Office Building in Broadmeadows commenced construction in 2005 and is expected to be completed in mid 2007. The $23.5m building is approximately 6000 m2 building and will house 310 Council staff. Some of its prominent environmental features include underfloor air distribution, cycling facilities, greywater recycling, sustainable building materials, and a waste management plan, amongst many more!

The 5 Star Kador Group’s 500 Collins Street building is the first refurbishment of a CBD commercial building to achieve Green Star certification. The office building has been progressively upgraded over a number of years while the building remains tenanted posing a major challenge for the whole project team.

Fire Brigade, 450 Burnley, is a 5 Star project awarded in August 2006, backed by the Commercial Office Building Energy Innovation Initiative (COBEII) of Sustainability Victoria.

Port 1010 in Digital Harbour’s most outstanding feature is its Blackwater Treatment Plant, which treats and recycles water used in the sewage system back into the building. This feature saves on water and sewage charges while significantly reducing water total consumption. Digital Harbour states "that the water savings in two days would be equivalent to the volume of water stored in the average backyard pool".

The Melbourne Convention Centre is still in construction and is expected to be operational in 2009. This proposed 6 Star Convention Centre will include the proposed features of a ‘green’ ball room, a gala seating system in the Plenary Hall, 32 meeting rooms, and a ground foyer for 11,000 guests.

The wave of green buildings – certainly for business – has commenced and hopefully soon, dare we say it?, will become commonplace. Perhaps you work in a Green Star Building or have been involved in their construction? How do they compare to traditional counterparts and how would you suggest that they could be even further improved?