6 Star Green Star, Office Design V2 Rating
Furthering sustainability is an important social factor for any government to invest in and spearhead in order to meet the changing needs of its citizens, climate and economy.
The new state government office building designed by architects TVS Partnership and based in Maroochydore, has moved the government one step closer in making in headway in achieving these goals.
Through initiatives and strategies put into place such as the 2007 ClimateSmart 2050 strategy and the $196 million ClimateQ strategy, the Queensland government is moving in the direction of ensuring a relative degree of sustainability within its commercial office environment is achieved. Office buildings are a prime source in achieving this. Owing to their place in society and the high numbers of building users, commercial office buildings contribute greatly to Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
An important factor from these strategies is the insistence that all new government office buildings, which are classified as commercial office buildings must meet a minimum standard of 4 and a half green stars rating for energy performance and which aim to target a 5 star green star rating.
In December 2010, the new $65 million building achieved a 6 Star Green Star Office Design V2 rating from the Green Building Council Australia, representing sustainable world leadership.
The site layout of this new building consists of a floor area of 20,000 metres squared over 11 stories. There is one mixed use floor level and office floor levels, plus three parking levels.
The buildings innovative exterior has been designed to utilize technology as a means of producing electricity, making the building self-sufficient. Mono-crystalline solar panels have been installed on the roof as a means of providing energy throughout the entire building.
Daylighting systems have been put in place as a means of maximizing the buildings internal lighting; this can come in many forms, most commonly is the integration of high performance double glazing. By supplementing the indoor lighting with natural lighting, this can significantly save energy in financially and with levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Double glazing is highly efficient in rejecting heat loading during prominent hours of the sun, keeping the building cool, but can also be an excellent way to optimize natural lighting within the office spaces. Further benefits of incorporating double glazing into the building’s design are its high levels of acoustic and thermal insulation, and greater comfortability for the buildings occupants.
Canopies have been integrated around the building’s exterior which works in a multiple of ways to benefit the building. Firstly these canopies contribute to the production of the buildings electricity supply; secondly they act as a shading system, which enables a reduction in the need to use traditional air conditioning systems to keep the building cool. Thirdly, this canopy system visibly collects rainwater for the purpose of recycling water to be used within the buildings amenities.
The water from this rainwater harvesting system is used for non-potable internal use throughout the building, non-potable water is not safe for humans or animals to digest; however this type of recycled water which along with the canopy shading system will work with the cooling towers in keeping the building cool. The recycled water will also be used within the sites landscape irrigation system.
The materials used such as recycled steel and concrete used throughout the construction phase provide a greater reduction in carbon emissions. In Australia, it is estimated that greenhouse gas emissions grow by three to 4% each year, stemming from the commercial building sector. However, by developing these buildings using a 5 Star rated target as a relevant design feature is thought to ensure consumption of 50% less energy, compared with a 3 Star rated building.
By incorporating a system of environmental best practice and examples throughout government buildings, this creates a degree of benchmarks for the overall construction industry. It could also help further the importance of progressive building management which goes beyond simply putting energy efficient technologies and materials into place, and further into educating people and the industry.