Volume 4 Number 12
Inside This Edition: Straight Talk: with Trudy-Ann King, Green Building Council of Australia Market Analysis: Commercial Green Building Report Transparent Sustainability
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Blythe-Sanderson Group Blythe-Sanderson Group
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LEADING YOU YOU TO TO A A NEW NEW DESTINATION LEADING DESTINATION The current operating environment has forced everyone to change their tack. The standard The current operating environment has forced everyone to change their tack. The standard directions are no longer applicable to an industry that is demanding innovation, improved directions are no longer applicable to an industry that is demanding innovation, improved practices and an ability to find new ways to get to point B. practices and an ability to find new ways to get to point B. So while our eyes are still firmly fixed on where you need to be, our Access Consulting team So while our eyes are still firmly fixed on where you need to be, our Access Consulting team is creating environments for accessing life. is creating environments for accessing life. Access Consulting | Project Management | Cost Management | Building Surveying | Urban Planning Access Consulting | Project Management | Cost Management | Building Surveying | Urban Planning 6SHFLÀFDWLRQ&RQVXOWLQJ_,QIUDVWUXFWXUH6HUYLFHV_3URSHUW\&RQVXOWDQF\_&HUWLÀFDWLRQ6HUYLFHV 6SHFLÀFDWLRQ&RQVXOWLQJ_,QIUDVWUXFWXUH6HUYLFHV_3URSHUW\&RQVXOWDQF\_&HUWLÀFDWLRQ6HUYLFHV
Blythe-Sanderson Group is part of Davis Langdon Blythe-Sanderson Group is part of Davis Langdon
So many possibilities to improve efficiency, but where do I start?
Siemens energy efficiency portfolio: End-to-end solutions that deliver economical and environmental benefits Climate change, demographic change, urbanisation and globalisation are placing significant pressure on our resources. Rising temperatures and our growing population is increasing demand for energy while causing carbon emissions to rise. However, controlling energy demand is the simplest and most economical â€˜first-stepâ€™ towards mitigating CO2 while at the same time, saving costs. Siemens provides a unique perspective on your facility to achieve your business and environmental goals. We see that all businesses in Australia and New Zealand have the potential to reduce their energy usage by up to 40 percent. Siemens has been providing solutions in water, energy, environment, healthcare, productivity, mobility, safety and security, for nearly 140 years.
Photo courtesy of Michael Downes
COVER IMAGE: 150 Clarendon Street
Volume 4 Number 12 Publisher | Brandon Vigon 03 8844 5822 ext. 112 email@example.com
6 Everything Old is New Again
Green Building Around the Globe
Editor | Mark Kenfield firstname.lastname@example.org
Evergreens: Sustainable FaĂ§ade Options
Contributing Writers | Sarah Bachmann, Jonathan Cartledge, Jim Doyle, Mark Kenfield, Romilly Madew, Robin Mellon, Paul McLeod, Jemilla Russell-Clough, Samantha Senior, George Xinos
Feature Project Profiles:
Senior Designer | Annette Carlucci
Production Manager | Rachel Selbie
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150 Clarendon Street: The Lap of Luxury 150 Clarendon Street MCEM: Clarity: The Monash Centre for Electron Microscopy Darling Walk: Sydney's Latest Darling: The Darling Quarter Redevelopment
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Sustainability Column: Energy Performance Contracts Empowering Sustainable Practices
Accessibility Column: How Do I Get Out? Emergency Egress for People with Disabilities
Legal Column: Accelerators and Handbrakes
Glass Column: What it Means for Glass
Technology Column: Saffire: A priceless Gem and One of our Best kept Secrets
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32 Straight Talk with Trudy-Ann King Head of Industry Engagement Green Building Council of Australia
Commercial Construction: Green Building
Photography: Peter Clarke.
Australian Manufacturer Goes Green
36 Transporting Australiaâ€™s Future
36 Commercial Benefits of Green Precast Building
Shaping Sustainable Cities
14 editorial advisors and supporters
Everything old is new again Photo courtesy of Emma Cross, Gollings Photography
Recycled furniture is an extremely low-tech way of improving a fit out's green credentials.
When many people hear the phrase ‘green building’ they immediately think high-tech features and high-spec finishes. They picture advanced low-e glass, blinds that automatically adjust to shield the sun’s rays, blackwater recycling systems, geothermal heating and smart meters that track energy usage. While green building does embrace and encourage new technologies, new designs and new approaches, many new green buildings are emulating the old designs, the old approaches, the old techniques and nature’s ‘technologies’ to get better, greener outcomes. Take a simple concept like solar orientation. We have archaeological evidence that the ancient Greeks were building their homes in grid patterns to best access the heat and light of the sun in the fifth century BC. “In houses that look toward the south, the sun penetrates the portico in winter, while in summer the path of the sun is right over our heads and above the roof so that there is shade,” the philosopher Socrates observed, talking about the Northern Hemisphere’s early green buildings. Greek playwright Aeschylus took his admiration of passive solar design a step further, noting that only primitives “lacked knowledge of houses turned to face the winter sun, dwelling beneath the ground like swarming ants in sunless caves.” The Ancient Romans developed the first solar-heated bath-houses and access to the sun was made a legal right under the Justinian Code of Law adopted in the sixth century AD. The earliest green roofs, such as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in what is now Iraq, date back to biblical times. 6 | www.awardmagazine.com.au
Sustainable design is not just a feature of the classics, however. Many cultures followed simple principles of sustainable design that remain as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago. Nepalese homes, with their passive solar orientation and shading, high-insulation roofing and rock walls with high thermal mass, have changed little for centuries. The Cappadoccians in Turkey built thermally-efficient homes by hollowing out soft volcanic rock, in much the way the people of Coober Pedy do today. In America, the Pueblo Indians built their dwellings with south-facing adobe walls which absorbed the sun’s heat during the day and then warmed the home’s interior at night. Indigenous Australians used simple, passive design principles to ensure they gained shelter from our nation’s blazing sun while still allowing air flow, while early colonial buildings integrated elements of passive design. The magnetic termite mounds of the Northern Territory are miniature ‘termite cities’ aligned north to south to minimise exposure to the heat of the sun, with structures that keep temperatures stable within the mound, allow air flow, and help shed excess rainwater without being washed away. Recall the old Queenslanders perched on stilts to improve air flow, inner-Sydney terrace houses pushed up against each other to provide good thermal mass, and
the shade and shelter gained from the ubiquitous verandah. As these examples demonstrate, until fairly recently human beings were adept at living in harmony with our climate and our environment. Where did it all go wrong? The post-war boom required as many homes to be built as quickly as possible. Later, a focus on minimising costs resulted in suburb-upon-suburb of sealed brick boxes – each designed in a way that ensured they would trap the heat in summer and block out the sun in winter, requiring mechanical air conditioning to assure thermal comfort. In fact, the invention and commercialisation of airconditioning led us to lose touch with the concept of building our shelter around the seasons. When the same building design could be applied everywhere from the Top End to Tasmania, little thought was given to the local climate and ecosystem, not to mention the aesthetics of the suburban landscape. Air conditioning remains a valuable part of indoor environment quality, but should be used to complement good passive design, rather than the starting point of architecture. So, the shift to sustainable building is not really a progression – more a return to simple, common sense methods of good, green passive design. Take Australia’s first Green Star-rated residential development, The Summer in Perth, as an example. The Summer has integrated simple design features that use the ocean breeze and regulate the heat generated by the sun. The result is a development that has eliminated the need for mechanical air-conditioning, and is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 88 per cent. Through passive design strategies, over 90 per cent of units have open floor plans and provide dual aspects to allow for natural cross-ventilation, recirculating air throughout the units and common spaces. The building also incorporates moveable screens on balconies to provide solar shading in the warmer months. The design principles applied at The Summer evoke the Queenslanders of yesteryear – demonstrating that everything old can be new again. Robin Mellon, Executive Director – Advocacy and International Green Building Council of Australia
Energy Performance Contracts Empowering Sustainable Practices With energy prices expected to increase significantly in the near future, the end-toend energy performance of Australia's existing building stock has leapt to the fore as a critical issue for the building industry. Photo courtesy of ????/
Upgrading older mechanical services can provide significant energy savings.
It raises the question of how you go about achieving the energy cuts and increased efficiencies that existing building stocks require, at a commercially viable price-point. One option that is now starting to gain considerable momentum in Australia, particularly in Queensland and Victoria, is a contracting solution called an 'Energy Performance Contract' (EPC). Which provides an affordable method of financing building improvements that will save both energy and money. EPCs are particularly well suited to large buildings or groups of buildings that have old, obsolete or inefficient equipment, because with an EPC the client essentially signs up for guaranteed energy savings – taking out a loan to pay for the necessary upgrades (with the loan guaranteed by the EPC contractor) and using the savings that arise from those upgrades, to pay back the loan. This is precisely the position that the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (Peter Mac), Australia’s only public hospital solely dedicated to cancer care, found itself in 5 years ago when they ran evaluation on their running costs. Building an EPC Partnering with A.G. Coombs and Siemens, Peter Mac had an EPC designed, constructed, installed and commissioned to generate guaranteed energy savings an evalution on their running costs.
The project commenced with a detailed feasibility study to define the roadmap for energy savings in the facility. From this process, a proposal was developed for Peter Mac, outlining many options to proceed, and allowing a high degree of flexibility in moving forward. The options presented even included an innovative floor expansion to reduce leasing costs associated with organic growth while reducing energy costs. “We have three buildings that range in construction dates from 1930 to 1994” explains Peter Mac’s Operations Director Greg Phillips, “And a lot of our equipment is 30 years old or even older, so the two key areas we wanted to increase efficiencies in were water and electricity usage”. “Because we have over 2,000 staff on site, we use a lot of water,” he says, “so we looked at reducing water flow and consumption. However, because we’re moving to a purpose-built building after 2015, we had to look at options that would have 1-2 year pay-back period”. It was a lot to achieve, but with funding and assistance from City West Water, and the Department of Health’s Sustainability Department, Peter Mac were able to put in low-flow taps and a great many meters to measure water flow and identify problem areas – which were then able to be addressed specifically. Due to the age of many of the buildings’ services, a lot of the equipment would only operate at either fully-on or fully-off
levels. So the EPC came forward with a project to put speed-handling devices on the air conditioning, so that when the buildings cooled down at night the fans could be slowed down accordingly. “All of the technology in the services controls was old and inefficient” explains Randy Gadient, Siemens’ Senior Energy Engineer on the project, “Many of the controls were pneumatic, so we upgraded them to more-efficient electronic controls, and refurbished the mechanics as well – installing variable-speed drives on the air-conditioning fans and economy cycles on the air-handling units”. “The variable speed drives allowed us to turn down the fans to lower speeds when cooling loads permit” Gadient adds, ”So although on hot days you might need to run the air-conditioning on full, on a cool days the variable speed drives allow you to reduce the cooling output – and its resultant energy consumption”. The project team also installed electronic DDC Floor controls and temperature sensors, greatly improving the accuracy of the sensor-elements that drove the demand for air conditioning in the buildings. The Outcome The new system was launched (with guaranteed savings in effect) in May, and in the first month alone, energy reports demonstrate a saving of over $11,000 in energy costs, which far exceeded the expectations stated by the guaranteed schedule of savings. “We were expecting around $70,000 a year in savings,” Phillips says, “but are know looking at closer to $110,000 per year – so we’re running well above our target”. The entire upgrade is completely automated and controlled through a Siemens Building Management System. This saves a significant amount of energy without affecting Peter Mac’s operations or levels of patient and staff comfort, as adjustments can now be made from the central computer, instead of on each floor. “Monthly reports are now automatically sent to us, detailing the energy savings achieved at Peter Mac” Phillips concludes, “We have full access to the system through the Internet, and complete transparency of the savings achieved. The entire project has been a success and savings can now be redirected to patient care”. |7
Project Profile: 150 clarendon street
The Lap of Luxury 150 Clarendon Street ‘Location, location, location’. It’s the catch cry of real estate agents the world over. But it isn’t all that often you come across a location that truly deserves to be mentioned three times over. By Mark Kenfield
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Situated on the highest point of East Melbourne; a quiet, wealthy and leafy suburb that forms the eastern border of Melbourne’s CBD; 150 Clarendon Street, is a new twelve-storey luxury apartment building developed by the Salta Group, that offers an incredible location directly opposite the Fitzroy Gardens, a location which provides magnificent views across the gardens to the city, to Port Phillip Bay, and to the Dandenong Ranges in the east – magnificent views that, again thanks to the building’s superb location, will never be built out.
As Sam Tarascio, Salta's Managing Director, puts it, “Our vision was to deliver Melbourne's most exclusive residential development, with apartments that were worthy of the location and would deliver a new standard of luxury apartment living, with quality finishes and fittings and services to rival those of a 6-star hotel”. Now to help put the sheer scale of the luxury and exclusivity of 150 Clarendon Street into context, we’re talking about a building in which a three-bedroom apartment has sold for $9 million. So this is absolutely the top-end of the market. But what goes in to creating
Main: From urban design perspective, 150 Clarendon is a contemporary building, but it is designed to relate to the traditional environment of Melbourne, the whole front of the building is reconstituted limestone with bronze and bronze-coloured aluminium. Bottom: A spectacular balcony provides considerable versatility to this 2-bedroom apartment.
a building as exclusive and luxurious as this one?
Photos courtesy of Michael Downes
Simple Luxury “With 150 Clarendon Street, Salta had, hands down, one of the best sites in Melbourne” explains Bates Smart Architects’ Project Director Roger Poole. “They had bought the site with a planning permit for 170 apartments, however working closely with them we saw that what they really wanted was to create an opportunity for people who wanted the space and convenience of a house without the hassle of one, so the size of the apartments was greatly increased and the number of apartments was reduced to 86”. With the apartments targeted at the high end of the residential sector, the project team wanted to achieve 6-star levels of quality throughout the building. “Everything in a luxury apartment of this level has to be properly proportioned,” explains Poole, “it's not a matter of simply stretching out the living room, it's a matter of thinking out the whole thing - so powder rooms, functional laundries, everything that would be in a high-end suburban house, we wanted to include in the apartments”. This philosophy drove the entire layout and fitout of the apartments, seeing
them generously proportioned with high ceilings for a true sense of light and space; and luxuriously appointed with European appliances, polished chrome Rogerseller tap ware, enamelled pressed-steel freestanding baths, gas fireplaces with stone and timber panelled surrounds, natural stone floors and bench tops, luxury wool carpets and American Oak timber floors. “Our focus was not so much on hightech as it was on really high-quality,” explains Poole, “because luxury is not only about things that are special, it's about working ways out of real life problems.” Because of this focus on convenience, creating apartments that were extremely functional and easy to use was a key factor in the design. “We very carefully studied the kitchens and laundries to ensure that they worked ergonomically,” Poole says, “and we put a considerable emphasis on helpful features such as rubber-lined drawers for glasses and crockery”. This focus on attention to detail played a huge part in making the apartments as liveable as possible, and extended to features such as: every apartment having some kind of drying room or cupboard, spacious laundries, generous storage, and highquality Miele appliances.
Project Profile: 150 clarendon street
Floor to ceiling glass and open apartment layouts combine with superb views to provide a real sense of luxury in the building.
Constructing Luxury One of the biggest challenges to the construction of the project lay in its retention of the structure of the former Mercy Hospital. A podium was built around this, which grounds the building and helps activate the street with a restaurant, a café, a wine shop, a boutique grocery store, as well as a pharmacy, medical suites and the spectacularly appointed double-height foyer for the apartments. At the third floor level, the building steps back to create a skirted waistline that helps delineate the podium from the tower. Rising up from the podium, the tower‘s framework is comprised of double-height precast framing, which shelters the smaller elements within. Because the building covers the entire site, there was a strong urban design component to it as well. “We worked closely with the City of Melbourne,” Poole explains, “and because the site extends right out to the curb, we included a canopy to stop people getting wet when it rains, re-laid all of the footpaths and curbs in blue stone, and planted new trees along the length of the building”.
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The material selection for the facade also played an important part in achieving the ‘timeless, quiet elegance’ the project team was aiming for. Clad in reconstituted limestone, bronze and bronze-coloured aluminium, the stone dressings and architectural metalwork of the building are designed to respond to the street character of East Melbourne. Digital Luxury In this digital age we live in, people don’t merely ‘want’ technology to both serve its purpose and enhance their lifestyles; they ‘expect’ it to. And this is particularly pertinent when it comes to the sort of luxury apartment style of living found at 150 Clarendon Street. “It was a very refreshing brief compared to most” says Umow Lai’s Sean Wooster, Principal ICT Consultant on the project. “The fundamentals that we always preach are a well-connected building, and a structure that enables information to flow smoothly through it. But above and beyond this, Salta were very keen for us to explore the most innovative products and services that could go into the building”. One of the first items on this innovative agenda was balancing the security needs of a multi-residential building, with the ease-of-use expected of luxury accommodations. “Salta didn’t want to have keys or cards that had to be pulled out all the time just to get in and out of the building” Wooster explains, “So we have the first building of this scale to adopt Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which allows users to access the building hands-free”. The RFID system involves a card that sits in your wallet and allows you full access to the building and car park without having to stop every few meters to authenticate yourself. “When we first started our investigation into RFID, the card sizes weren't acceptable,” Wooster
“It’s about devoting space to solving life’s little problems” Poole explains, “So we included plenty of car parking, we spent money on the things that matter, not just the things that show. The kitchens, for example, are designed for cooks, but are laid out openly so that people can both cook and entertain at the same time”. Adding to all this are a 25m swimming pool, an extensive gymnasium with a sauna and steam room, club facilities, a 17-seat private cinema, a conference and meeting room with state-of-theart multimedia and video conferencing facilities, and a secure 10,000-bottle wine cellar capable of hosting tastings and intimate functions.
The foyer of the building features a double height ceiling, a beautiful custommade chandelier and a sweeping staircase in front of an Onyx screen.
says, “however by the time the project came to completion, through working with the vendors, we had designed one that did fit the bill”. Another of the building’s key innovations is that each apartment has an AMX panel; these are wireless touch-screen panels that function as part of a common control and audiovisual distribution network that is spread throughout the building. Every apartment has one and they function as an intercom, allow concierge communications, provide control for the apartment’s lighting, heating and cooling, and even function as an accesspoint for the building’s multimedia library, which stores a vast range of audio and visual content and operates over a network of 20 servers. Wooster believes that this style of centralised control/multimedia system is where we will see things moving to in the future. “Buildings and apartments will be much more connected to people’s personal devices” he says, “Because everything runs through internet protocols these days, everything is starting to speak the same language – and that makes it much easier for different devices to communicate with each other”. He says that, as such, the capacity now exists for these devices to integrate with the building's infrastructure. Poole agrees, but believes that the key to integrating these sorts of systems into people’s daily lives is to keep them easy to use. “Innovative things are fine if they're simple, but if you can't use something intuitively, it isn’t worth the bother” he says. The end result speaks for itself; with ‘luxury’ and ‘convenience’ as its guiding principles, 150 Clarendon Street presents as an elegant and utterly refined building, with stunning attention to detail and thoroughly sensible design.
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Green building around the globe Romilly Madew Chief Executive, Green Building Council of Australia
Green building is a growth industry. In fact, green building is probably THE growth industry. A McGraw Hill Construction report has found that, while just 13 per cent of global construction firms were dedicated to green building in 2003, this had grown to around a third by 2008 – with more than half predicting they’d be fully committed to green building by 2013. In Australia, data from BCI Australia reveals that the total value of green projects has risen from around $1.9 billion in 2007 to just under $18 billion in 2010. The Green Star environmental rating system for buildings, operated by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) has been instrumental in driving this green revolution. Green Star has transformed the Australian market to such an extent that construction research company, Davis Langdon, has found that Green Star ratings are now almost a standard consideration in the commercial office sector. Davis Langdon’s research finds that “the achievement of a high Green Star rating in the new office market has long been perceived by office developers as an essential part of marketing to attract long term tenants, preserve the value of the office and provide healthier environments for the building’s occupants.” 12 | www.awardmagazine.com.au
As Green Star-rated buildings become more common, design solutions which were once seen as leading edge are rapidly becoming more regular practice. As Daniel Grollo, Managing Director of one of Australia’s leading property development companies, Grocon, and National President of the Property Council of Australia has said: “If you’re not building Green Star, you’re building in obsolescence.” Innovative designers and developers continue to push best practice benchmarks and, as a result, Australia leads the world in many green building technologies and applications. Through the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), Australia’s green building industry is working closely with a network of more than 80 kindred associations to transform the global property market and building industry. While Australia was an early adopter of green building practices, we still have
much to learn from other nations in both the developed and, more importantly, the developing world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the first – and largest – green building council is in the United States. Established in 1993, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) currently has more than 17,000 members (Australia has around 900). In the US, the building sector accounts for a whopping 38 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions (in Australia, it’s 23 per cent). While Australia can be proud of its 780-plus Green Star registered or certified buildings, an astounding 40,000 buildings are either registered or certified under the US’ equivalent of Green Star, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. In fact, the USGBC is currently certifying around 1 million square feet of green building space a day. While the USGBC is leading the world in green building certifications, many developing nations are providing inspiration and leadership in other ways, and demonstrating that green buildings can play an integral role in providing not only environmental benefits, but also social and economic benefits such as affordable housing, job creation and skills development. In South Africa, for instance, wide disparities in wealth and opportunities pose many challenges. For instance, 8.5 million dwellings are considered
Supplement Landmark green building projects such as the the 6-star Melbourne Convention Centre are becoming increasingly more common worldwide.
Image courtesy of Woods Bagot and NH Architecture
‘formal’ with the remainder consisting of ‘informal’ housing, squatter units and traditional dwellings. The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has been instrumental in driving a shift within the commercial property sector, with virtually all of the country’s major owners and institutions making some level of commitment to green building. However, with the extent of the socio-economic challenges facing the country, development issues are the government’s overwhelming priority. “Africa is likely to be hardest hit by the effects of climate change,” says the Chief Executive Officer of the GBCSA, Nicola Douglas. “With very high carbon emissions per capita and a severe energy crisis, the shift to green has to be balanced with the need to address the major socioeconomic issues of widespread poverty, unemployment and a massive housing backlog.” The GBCSA is currently exploring how employment, skills training and health can be addressed as part of the broader notion of sustainability. Similarly, in Colombia, informal settlements account for nearly 20 per cent of the housing provision that the urban population needs, and people settle in illegal locations (landslide risk areas, floodable lands or environmentally protected areas) which offer a poor urban environment, few or non-existent public spaces, and often no basic infrastructure
or urban services (water, sanitation, public buildings or transportation). In 2007, the housing shortage in Colombia reached 3.8 million units, and each year nearly 177,000 families have to look for a home in the informal segment of the housing market. One of the largest residential projects in the country, Green City in Bogotá, is an example of a large-scale ‘green urbanism’ operation. This project proposes a balance between green and liveable areas. Green City covers an area of 328 hectares, with 108 hectares designated for the construction of more than 36,000 low-income homes, in a combination of houses and apartments, while the remaining 220 hectares has been earmarked for public areas and amenities. During the first stage the investment in infrastructure is expected to create 21,000 direct and indirect jobs, and offer public facilities for the community, such as a health centre, a school with a library, a nursery, and green zones and parks. Green City demonstrates that it is possible to develop scaled solutions for lower income families in ways that are socially responsible and in harmony with the environment. On the other side of the world, the United Arab Emirates is embracing green building legislation. The UAE has the highest ecological footprint and the second highest carbon emissions per capita in the world. It is an arid land, with a serious shortage of surface water, and is highly dependent on desalinated water, with an estimated consumption in excess of 400 litres per person per day. Electricity is mostly generated from gas, and total yearly consumption is high due to demand for air conditioning. Most building materials have to be imported into the country and, since the recession, there is an over-supply of real estate on the market. The UAE Government has recognised the opportunities that green building presents, and the emirate of Abu Dhabi has recently introduced its own ‘Estidama’ (‘The Pearl’) rating system for Communities, New Buildings and Villas. The high profile MASDAR initiative is a project to develop a zero carbon city based in Abu Dhabi. The construction of the first stage is completed, which includes a 10 MW solar power plant. One of Asia’s most successful green building markets is in Singapore. With a
highly urbanised population, constructing a clean, environmentally friendly and easily manageable urban environment is central to Singapore’s social, economic and environment future. In a country that has one of the highest population densities in the world, it has become important for Singapore to integrate green areas into the maze of apartment blocks and offices. Many apartment blocks now have ‘green roofs’ where grasses and other plants are left to grow wild. The benefits of this practice are an increase in biodiversity and a 2-degree decrease in a building’s ambient temperature. A green building rating system, called the Green Mark Scheme, was launched in 2005. There are currently around 480 Green Mark-rated buildings, making up 8 per cent of the total building stock, but the government is aiming for 80 per cent of the existing building stock Green Mark-rated by 2030. Retrofitting the existing building stock is key to achieving this ambitious goal and the government’s Green Masterplan offers further incentives for constructors and owners to go green or undertake green retrofitting programs. The Hong Kong Green Building Council faces similar challenges to those faced in Singapore. According to Kevin Edmunds from the Hong Kong Green Building Council, a pressing issue is the effect that a high-density built environment has on the quality of life of residents. “While we’ve maximised the use of our limited land, the price has been closely packed high rise buildings in some urban areas which inhibit natural daylighting, urban air ventilation and roadside pollution dispersion, and exacerbate both solar gains within our buildings and the urban heat island effect outside of them,” Mr Edmunds says. Moves are afoot to enhance the design of Hong Kong’s buildings and urban areas by the integration of more urban greenery, greater separation between buildings and set-back from streets to provide a higher-quality and more sustainable built environment. Back in Australia, the industry’s focus has shifted from greening individual buildings – which it is now doing very successfully – to the question of how we can green our communities, precincts and cities. While Australia has much of which we can be proud, we can gain inspiration from the green urban projects underway around the globe. We know what we must do – now is the time to do it. | 13
Project Profile: MCEM
Clarity: The Monash Centre for Electron Microscopy By Mark Kenfield
Filtering and layering in the planning and materiality of the project, have been employed as techniques to regulate the increasing level of stillness, reduced EMF and diminishing light as you approach the building's centre.
Electron microscopes are amongst the most advanced imaging devices in the world. Forget the old microscopes from your high school science lab; the top ultra high-definition, double-aberrationcorrected electron microscopes use focussed beams of electrons to resolve images down to as little as 0.1 nanometres; thatâ€™s 0.00000001 centimetres, enough resolution to reveal fine features on the atomic scale.
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Foundations Well it all started back in 2005, when Monash University decided to construct the Monash Centre for Electron Microscopy (MCEM) a dedicated facility to house nine electron microscopes and research projects across a range of disciplines in the physical sciences and engineering. One thing, at least, was clear right from the get-go - in order to cater for the extremely high specifications of the instrumentation, the facility would have to provide utterly exceptional
However as remarkable as these microscopes are, they canâ€™t work in isolation; which is to say they canâ€™t work without isolation. Isolation from noise, vibration and electromagnetic interference are all vital for these instruments to perform at their specified levels. Indeed, talking and even breathing in the same room as the microscopes can be enough to throw off their imagery. How then does the design and construction of a facility stable enough to house such incredibly sensitive instruments, come together?
campus; however it was really quite unique for a building like this to be constructed in such a built-up area”. Due to the stringent requirements of the facility, the project team spent over half a year preparing the site in the early stages of the design. “As the brief evolved it quickly became apparent that isolation from vibration and magnetic interference would be the key to the project” explains John Mullen & Partners’ Director, Bill Brazenor, the project’s structural engineer.
Photos courtesy of Architectus and Trevor Mein
The Calm Before The Construction With the design in place, the project team’s first big challenge was to get the ambient conditions of the site down to the lowest levels possible. Starting
with electromagnetic interference, they removed all of the services running through the site. It was then discovered that the clay soil was conducting currents from the earthing of the nearby sub-stations, so an involved process of re-earthing each sub-station was undertaken. The ambient levels were hence significantly reduced but the most sensitive microscope still required a shielding of specialist alloy plate as an inner skin to the room in which it was housed. To help address the issue of vibration on the site, the roads around the facility had to be realigned, this involved closing the ring road at the campus, but successfully addressed the issue of vibration from passing cars and trucks. Another part of the solution was the creation of an earth mound, part of the building’s landscape architecture. This
It is the quiet, ethereal interior spaces of the MCEM that are the strength of the project, the stillness providing the scientists an ideal environment for contemplation."
mechanical, acoustic, thermal and electro-magnetic stability. So Monash Project Management brought engineering firm AECOM (Bassett at the time) and architects Architectus on board to provide the specialist design the facility would require. They began the project with a research tour of two facilities in Germany and the Netherlands to investigate first-hand the requirements of such a building. “At the time there were only four of these facilities in the world, none of them in the southern hemisphere,” explains AECOM Associate Director, Andrew Tull, “and the trip was part of our initial process for putting together the design and adapting it to Australian conditions and construction techniques”. “One of the main challenges for us was identifying and developing a site that would be suitable for the university to build this sort of facility on” Tull says, “There was a lot of discussion about what would make an appropriate site for the facility; for obvious reasons the university wanted it on campus, close to students – so a site was selected on Monash’s Clayton | 15
Project Profile: MCEM amoured wrapping to reduce EMF, and the wrapping lowers the EMF from the cable as well”. All of which enabled the project team to achieve background levels of acoustic stability, vibration, and EMF that fit within the specification requirements of the microscopes being installed. Which allowed the instrumentation to be installed into the facility without any major restrictions. Testing, to date, has shown that the MCEM not only meets the specified levels of stability it requires; it actually exceeds them – allowing the microscopes to resolve even higher resolutions than they’re specified for.
Merging Technical Requirements with Architectural Design One of the MCEM’s most impressive achievements lies in the fact that, in spite of the project team’s absolute focus on the stringent technical requirements they had to meet, the building has still achieved a beautifully composed form, the building’s plan is a perfect square, with its roof sloping across the diagonal, and its outer skin of interlocking glass planks providing filtered light to the circulation spaces on the MCEM’s outer perimeter. The result is an elegant square structure sitting independently on a spherical mound sculpted from the earth – the geometry pure and simple. “The beauty of the project was that everything worked in tandem,” explains Wilson, “nothing is there for decoration or doesn't have a use. It was a matter of working as a team, pulling together everyone’s ideas – some of which were conflicting – and then putting them into the drawings and testing”. Parallel to this was the project team’s desire to create a building that would not only meet its specified technical requirements, but also help nurture the scientists and students who use the facility. “We wanted to acknowledge the brainpower the building would play host to,” Wilson says, “and provide them with the environment they need to do good work”. “One of key the things about this type of facility, is that you can design it with the best intentions and monitor the progress through construction, but the final result, the final level of performance of the building can never actually be proved until the building is complete and final testing can be performed” Tull concludes. That the MCEM not only met, but actually exceeded all that was required of it – stands as a testament to the focus and dedication of everyone involved.
Interlocking glass planks were used for the building's exterior façade, and provide filtered light to the circulation spaces on the building's perimeter
was used to help further reduce the impact of external intrusions. “The machinery of the electron microscopes is sensitive to the point that there can be no vibrating metal within a certain radius of the building,” explains Oculus Landscape Architecture’s Mark Jacques, “so what we tried to do with the landscaping was create an ‘exclusion zone’, a symmetrical mound of turf 50 metres in diameter, to keep people away from the building without it looking miserable or cruel”. There were quite a number of existing trees on the site however, so in order to achieve the large, domed turf landform of the mound, “We had figure out how to subtract areas of the mound to allow for the existing trees,” Jacques explains, “in the end the solution was to use concrete wall cutouts that would provide space for the trees, but also act as seating edges for students”.
Smooth Operators As Brazenor explains, “As the detail of the MCEM’s design developed further, we came to the conclusion that the floor slabs should be separate from each other – so that the wall of a sensitive section would rest on the floor slab of the section outside it. To that end, we were trying to get stiffer and stiffer as we got in to the most sensitive equipment”. So the laboratories for the nine microscopes were wrapped safely in several layers of structure and material, with each lab using an inner shell of block work to support a concrete lid.
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These masonry shells rested on their own footings with another, completely isolated, slab sitting within them – all of which provided an ultra-stable floor for each microscope to sit upon. “We also couldn't use any steel columns, beams or framing due to their potential to generate magnetic fields” Wilson adds. This largely determined the project’s choice of materials and methodology of construction, and is the reason why it ended up being a primarily timber structure. “The design was largely about minimising metal,” Wilson explains, “So to help maintain the inert environment created by our clean-up of the site, the MCEM’s structure is made of timber, its roof is sustainable blackbutt plywood, and its façade is comprised of interlocking glass panels”. Adding to this, all of the main building plant – the main chillers, air handlers, electrical switchboards, and the generator – were placed in a separate facility adjacent to the main building, from which the services can then be reticulated into the facility via a culvert. To further minimise the risk of EMF interference, no continuous steel structure could be included in the building, fluorescent lights could not be used within the laboratories (halogen lamps were used instead), and all of the metal ducts and pipework in the building had to be fitted with insulation breaks every six metres. “All of the electrical cabling within the facility is steel wire armoured,” Tull adds, “the cable provides electrical conductors twisted within the
How Do I Get Out? Emergency egress for people with disabilities The provision of access for people with disabilities within public buildings has seen enormous improvements over the previous two decades. Multistory buildings which previously provided stair only access beyond the ground level, and often to the ground level, are simply not permissible under today’s legislative requirements directing the design and amenity of public buildings. People with disabilities, in the most part, can now enter and navigate their way around a new building, but what is being done to assist people with disabilities in evacuating safely and with the dignity afforded to all other occupants? Current Requirements The current legislative requirements do not identify any specific provisions for people with disabilities and emergency egress, with the exception of wider and shorter egress paths in buildings such as aged care facilities and hospitals. There is no requirement that lifts be functional in the event of an emergency, and are in almost all instances not made available, leaving stair only access from all other levels other than one connected to the external ground levels. In the event that the source of the emergency occurs on the same floor, people who are unable to use the stairs are effectively exposed to the immediate hazard while all other occupants have a means to escape from the source. International Best Practice A number of international standards and guidelines exist which provide far more holistic and effective solutions for a more diverse group of possible occupants. The more distinguished of these include the International Building Code -2009 (IBC) and the British Standard BS999 (2008) Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings. The IBC is the referenced document in the legislation requirements in Northern America, and of course the British Standard is the equivalent in the UK. These outline a series of technical provisions directed at assisting people with disabilities. Some of these provisions include: • The use of visual alarms; • The use of auxiliary alarms (e.g. vibrating) in some settings such as residential applications and hotels; • The provision of resting places along egress paths; • The provision of accessible egress paths; • The use of appropriate wayfinding strategies for egress and for identification of facilities associated with emergency egress (e.g. tactile and Braille signage); • The use of evacuation lifts for emergency egress; • The implementation of fire and smoke isolated areas of refuge which connect to lifts and accessible egress paths, and which do not interfere with the egress of other occupants; 18 | www.awardmagazine.com.au
• The provision of two-way communication systems within refuge areas as well as lifts designated for emergency egress. Surprisingly none of these provisions are currently requirements under the Building Code of Australia’s (BCA) deemed to satisfy provisions. Providing Functional and Holistic outcomes In light of this set of circumstances, the question arises of what can be done in an Australian context to see more function and holistic outcomes for as many building occupants as possible. Of course this may be achieved by consulting the aforementioned standards and incorporating the strategies outlined in these. Given their divergence from the Deemedto-Satisfy provisions under the BCA, a performance based solution may be required through the engagement of a Fire Engineer. The inclusion of a Fire Engineer adds flexibility to the process and to the design. Beyond facilitating the incorporation of the strategies discussed above additional strategies may include phased / staged evacuations and more strategic compartmentalisation. Of equivalent significance is also the engagement of a suitably experienced Access Consultant who can inform the process with regard to the varying needs of people with disabilities and the application of technical provisions facilitating access for people with disabilities. The Australian Standard AS 3745 – 2010 Planning for Emergencies in Facilities provides a framework for emergency planning which also recognizes the facilities provided by the building and how they may be used. The implementation of this standard is required in order to meet the intent of OH&S legislation across the various states and territories. This however is typically carried out after construction and involves the collaboration of the building owners and users. If a building evacuation plan is developed in the early design stages of the building, then far greater scope to equitably meet the needs of all occupants is possible. This offers an effective way of identifying risks at the early stage of building design. For more information about this article, please visit www.awardmagazine.com.au/industrybriefs
George Xinos Senior Access Consultant Davis Langdon – Access Consulting
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Image courtesy HKR Architects
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Image courtesy Thompson, Ventulett, & Associates
Image courtesy HKR Architects
Image courtesy CH2MHill (B-W Pantex-HVAC Design)
Image courtesy Thompson, Ventulett, & Associates
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Image courtesy of Bovis Lend Lease
Project Profile: darling
Sydney's Latest Darling: The Darling Quarter Redevelopment Public precincts aren’t what they used to be. Main: An artistic impression of how the project's spectacular 4,000m2 public playground will appear.
The redevelopment consists of two main sections; ‘Commonwealth Bank Place’, which fronts Harbour Street and is made up of two nine-storey, campus-style commercial office buildings with around 58,000m² of office space, 800 car parks, a multi-purpose theatre, retail facilities and the highest Green Star rating available. And the public domain component which included , a new 4,000m² public park with a state-of-the-art playground. As well as a new pedestrian gateway that connects the CBD with the Darling Harbour waterfront. The precincts major pedestrian links to the Harbour Street, Town Hall station and Chinatown have also been improved. So how do you satisfy these increased demands for a public precinct? Tense Beginnings Well it all began in 2007 with the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority holding a competitive tender for the redevelopment of what was then, a dead precinct. The tender was eventually won by
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There was a time when some greenery, a few park benches, the odd tree and perhaps the occasional water-feature was all you needed to offer the public in terms of respite from the concrete jungle of the inner city. But that time is now long gone. As Australia’s cities grow ever larger, the demands placed on our public precincts become increasingly more complex. They now need to promote more intensive use of their sites, activate and stimulate their surrounding retail facilities; improve pedestrian connections between themselves and the surrounding urban areas; improve the quality of the existing public space they occupy; and they need to do it all in an environmentally conscious and supportive manner. Located in the south-eastern corner of Sydney’s Darling Harbour precinct, the Darling Quarter redevelopment is a major $500 million rejuvenation of the 1.5ha site formerly occupied by SEGA World Sydney.
Image courtesy of Bovis Lend Lease
Located in the south-eastern corner of Sydney’s Darling Harbour precinct, the Darling Quarter redevelopment is a major $500 million rejuvenation of the 1.5ha site formerly occupied by SEGA World Sydney.
Lend Lease and Architects Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT) with a highly sustainable, campus-style proposal; with Bovis Lend Lease taking on responsibility for the project’s design management, project management and construction, and the project’s development services provided by Lend Lease. However the project hit its first major hurdle right out of the gate, with the initial contract being signed just as the world descended into the global financial crisis. As financial markets and property developments around the world came crashing to a halt, the Darling Quarter redevelopment’s stakeholders grew understandably cautious, with Lend Lease not wanting to proceed with the works until a tenant had been secured. Fortunately, a short while later the Commonwealth Bank committed to a 13-year lease of the new buildings, to house over 5,000 of their staff, and in September 2008 preliminary works on the site got underway. The preliminary works included a considerable archaeological excavation, with a team of 40 archaeologists from Casey & Lowe uncovering the remains of significant archaeological structures and events dating back to the 1820s. By late 2008 the unused SEGA complex was demolished, with construction of the Darling Quarter project commencing in earnest in July 2009.
Image courtesy of Bovis Lend Lease
Outside Greenery The development of Darling Quarter was the key to reactivating the precinct as a public space; beginning with the key design point of having two separate buildings (rather than one large one) in order to encourage pedestrian flow into the space, and extending to the development of the site’s world-class playground. The centrepiece of Darling Quarter is, of course, the spectacular 4,000m² playground - the largest and most elaborate in Sydney. The project team engaged Aspect Studios to integrate explorative play equipment and interactive water play in a landscaped environment.
They found the most suitable precedence for these play spaces in countries such as Germany, Denmark and Holland where a duty of care encourages children to take risks during play, as a healthy part of childhood development. The final design incorporates a host of features, including: water wheels and channels; hand pumps; synchronised water jets; large climbing rope structures; balancing beams; climbing walls; a spinning wheel; a sand pit with digging implements; ‘family-sized’ swings that fit multiple people on a single swing; a giant slide; and a flying fox. “We imported most of the playground equipment from Germany” explains David Rolls, Lend Lease’s Managing Director for Australian Development, “We wanted to create a playground that would be more interactive and challenging for children; so ours allows kids to play up to 10.5 meters high, and includes interactive lighting and water features such as water jets, tunnels, dykes and water screws that kids can direct water into and out of. It is a very interactive and new-age approach to a public playground, and will be a major draw card for the development”.
The eastern facade of Commonwealth Bank Place, by keeping the buildings separate, the design provides a pedestrian thoroughfare through to Darling Quarter. | 21
Project Profile: Darling
The combination of the playground and the development's new retail facilities is expected to help bring the formerly dead precinct back to life.
Hot-Desking The new buildings aren’t only highly efficient in form; they’re highly efficient in function too, thanks to an intriguing arrangement called ‘hotdesking’. Originally a Dutch concept, and highly unconventional in Australia (at least for the time being), hot-desking (also known as ‘Activity Based Working’) is an office layout with no actual permanent home desk staff. Anyone can use any desk in the building, with lockers providing space for staff to keep their things. Hot-desking works on the notion that across an entire building, at any one time at least 15% of the building’s occupants won’t actually be there – be they on leave, away sick, at out-ofoffice meetings etc. - the benefit of this is, that instead of providing for 100% occupancy but only running your building at 85%, you can provide for just 85-90% occupancy and run your building at closer to 95-100%. This provides the office with greater flexibility, prevents you from having to worry about regular churns, and for project work, allows staff to easily muster together in any section of the building.
Conclusion The development will successfully open up the southern end of the Darling Harbour precinct to the city,” concludes Rolls “you have a major playground that adds a great deal to the area; two very attractive, extremely high-performance buildings; and an engaging retail development – all of which will bring a previously dead precinct back to life. We’re incredibly happy with the result thus far”. Darling Quarter raises the bar for public domain redevelopments, and shines a light on how we can make our cities increasingly more sustainable, precinct by precinct.
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Clearer Skin FJMT’s design was integral to this, with modern atria and a double-glazed curtain-wall skylight spanning 56m across. Designed in Sydney by international façade company Permasteelisa and subsequently fabricated in their Thailand facility, this involved some 5,000m² of undulating skylight with opaque areas clad in composite panels and a similar high performance glass to the exterior façades. The design was a unitised system with integral drainage and guttering running internally down the slope. Combined with the highly transmissive exterior facades this provides high natural light levels throughout the buildings. “One of the biggest challenges with such transmissive façades, was that they required highly detailed sun-shading” explains Permasteelisa General Manager, Andrew Vatiliotis, “In parts requiring custom-shaping, custom-extruding and two different brightnesses of anodised finish”. “The ‘wings’ on either end of the towers were also a challenge to design” adds Permasteelisa’s Construction Manager Ted Graban, “as the Architectural requirements for the visual aspect of the supporting structure were very stringent. In the end a composite of standard and plated steel sections were used in a welded construction, that was subsequently galvanised for protection and painted for aesthetics”. Now high levels of natural daylight are great for reducing a building’s lighting bills and improving occupant comfort and productivity, however providing a highly transmissive exterior skin does come with a caveat – solar heat gain and glare issues. To address these issues the buildings use high-performance double-glazed glass to minimise heat gain, and detailed sun-shading, including automated timber venetian blinds, to control the intrusion of glare into the office space.
Inside Greenery As impressive as the playground is, the development’s most exciting features have been saved for the 6-star Green Star design-rated office buildings of Commonwealth Bank Place. Perhaps the most interesting element of the new buildings is their recent awarding of a water recycling licence as part of the 2010 NSW Metropolitan Water Plan, which is intended to help secure Sydney’s drinking water. Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies were contracted to design, build and operate the new recycled water plant, which uses sewer mining to provide a self-sustaining water supply for all of the buildings' non-potable purposes, more efficient water usage, and reduced discharge into the environment. Combined with the precinct's rainwater harvesting, this will reduce Darling Quarter’s water usage by approximately 90% in comparison to standard commercial developments. "By drawing wastewater from the nearby Sydney Water sewer main, the recycling plant will be able to produce around 60 million litres of high quality treated water per year," explains Veolia's Managing Director, Laurent Gaborit, "which will be distributed through a nonpotable water reticulation network to be used for toilet flushing, irrigation of the buildings’ landscaped areas, and for mechanical services such as the buildings’ cooling tower". The new buildings include a raft of other sustainable features as well. “We’ve incorporated two tri-generation plants for 900kW of base-build power; chilled beams for more energy efficient air-conditioning; and we’ve greatly reduced the buildings’ lighting requirements through high-levels of natural light” explains Rolls, “Most of the energy savings come through efficient mechanical air conditioning and onsite gas power generation. All of which will allow us to achieve 5-star NABERS energy and water ratings”.
With the eastern façade of the buildings (which faces the CBD) this wasn’t a huge issue, as the design of the eastern façade followed a relatively conventional ‘banking style’. However the project team wanted to harmonise the western façade (which faces Darling Quarter) with the public space, by having the timber shading on the outside of the façade. “However, to ensure adequate maintenance of the timber shading, these devices were in the end placed inside the façade” Rolls explains, “So we also incorporated a very light glass so that the timber elements would still be visible from the outside”.
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ACCELERATORS AND HANDBRAKES Australia is an incredibly lucky country; we're wealthy, spacious and mineralrich. However we are also an incredibly inefficient country in many regards, though perhaps that is part of the reason why we are so lucky - because we can indulge ourselves with inefficiencies in even the most basic of necessities (housing and employment) and still see the sturdy economic performance we have experienced through recent tough times. But the simple fact is, these inefficiencies are not supportable indefinitely, and with another year over and a new one about to begin, it is both healthy and appropriate to review the year just past and consider how we can improve things moving forwards. I recently had the opportunity to visit Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Singapore in quick succession, and seeing Singapore in comparison to our major cities really served to highlight what one can do with limited natural resources - especially in the face of various cultural and historical challenges - with more focussed and efficiently-managed policy. Singapore's various cultural groups have been thrown together by history and commerce, but they combine to make Singapore a vibrant centre for both commerce and recreation. It remains a centre for banking, finance and (subject to approval) could soon become the centre for the Australian Stock Exchange. It is particularly interesting to contrast the governmentled economy in Singapore with our own. Because although dissent is carefully curtailed to what is socially acceptable and a less-than-tidy approach to public spaces decried as a major attitude problem in the media, Singapore as a society, continues to deliver to its citizens and its visitors the best of experiences in a safe and congenial environment. A large part of their success in this regard, appears to stem from a more planned, committed and wellexecuted approach to the development of infrastructure. This contrasts markedly with the situation here at home, where the certainty of developments and infrastructure projects can vary wildly with changes of government, or even just the minister overseeing them. Decent long-term policy and planning is severely lacking in Australia, and one thing my trip clearly highlighted, was that providing the private sector with greater certainty about future government investment can go a long way towards helping it align private investment. To achieve effective long-term policy, there needs to be confidence that projects and developments won’t just change with the fickle winds of government. The same goes for taxation. A more stable and predictable tax regime benefits all industries, as the mining tax debacle has clearly shown - poorly implemented taxes can impose a serious handbrake on developments. In the case of the mining tax, we’ve seen significant stakeholders such as financiers and equity investors refusing to commit to Australian exploration or extraction until the basis of their investments is certain. Nowhere could this be clearer than the current reports 24 | www.awardmagazine.com.au
that Anglo-Australian mining company Rio Tinto PLC and China's state-owned Chinalco have established a joint venture to explore for mineral deposits in mainland China. Our poor policy-making has now incentivized miners to go and explore in China instead of here, and should those explorations prove fruitful, they’ll prove a disaster for Australia - our proverbial golden goose will be gone, and we’ll be sitting on a mountain of nothing. This hamstringing of our own developments is also achingly obvious in our housing sector. Whilst our housing stock dwindles and our rental rates rise, occupancy rates continue to shrink. The finance available for private developers to commence and construct residential developments is all but non-existent – and the resultant dip in the production of housing stock will no doubt haunt us for years to come. Sadly, the opportunity for the Government to fill this bust with public housing at competitive rates seems to have been missed, with the result that much of the productive capacity of the domestic house construction industry seems to be at half-pace in Sydney, full steam ahead in only a few parts of Melbourne, and stopped in its tracks on the Gold Coast. The lack of any coherent national policy on housing and how to make if happen, is helping to create a vacuum, which is being kept vacuous by the groupthink of the banks in failing to lend. No doubt when the tide turns they will all start lending together and create the material and skills shortages for which each boom is inevitably remembered. By comparison, whilst our inefficiencies and poor policy decisions are threatening development, the level of investment in Singapore remains impressive, with worldclass projects dominating the skyline. We indeed live in a lucky country when our community can indulge itself with the sorts of inefficiencies that we do. And it appears that (subject to the usual risks) Australia will continue to prosper in spite of the best or worst efforts of our various governments, as they blunder their way towards some perceived notion of success. We are lucky nation, but we are an overindulged nation, and if we truly want to remain prosperous, we must tackle these glaring inefficiencies in our own systems and not compromise the future by failing to meet the challenges of today.
Jim Doyle Doyles Construction Lawyers
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Market Analysis By Michelle Aizenberg BCI Australia
At the recent Future Proofing Property conference, Dr. Christopf Husmann from Hochtief Real Estate remarked, "Why does a CFO come down to talk to you about sustainability? Because it all comes down to economics". The commercial sector is the dominant force in creating a sustainable built environment. With $16 billion of work in the pipeline in 2010, the green commercial market is twice as big as the green multi-residential market. The gap is even more noteworthy because the green projects make up 7.4% of the commercial sector but only 4.7% of the residential sector. Porportion of green projects in residential and commerical sectors 2010 ($billion)
250 200 150
Green Non Green
100 50 0
Retail versus Offices If the commercial sector can be broken down in terms of distinct infrastructure, the two main categories would be offices and retail shops. As indicated in the graph below, the proportion of green office construction compared to green retail construction is dramatic. The benefits of building green to office developers; reduced energy costs, happier tenants and higher yieldsâ€™ on rent or sale are more assured and considerable than the benefits conveyed to retail developers. An additional $2 billion is being poured into Green Star rated office buildings compared to 2009, but the investment in green retail has not changed. While the general disparity between office and retail can be largely explained by intrinsic usage differences, 26 | www.awardmagazine.com.au
Commercial what explains the retail sector's static rate of green development from 2009 through to 2011? From comprising 13% of all green commercial work to only 8% at the end of 2010, the retail sector has been resistant to changing attitudes and improving technology.
Government funding The benefits of green building are numerous but in order to secure finance in the commercial sector, economic benefits are the foremost consideration. Green design and construction are becoming increasingly more lucrative but often still involves a higher initial outlay. This is the point at which government funding becomes so crucial. Government prerogatives and priorities are different to that of private investors and there is more scope to build green for the environmental and social impacts, to develop technologies and trends, and to enhance this already strong construction sector. Constituting 11% of finance provided for green commercial projects in 2010, government funding
2010 - 2011 green office and development ($ million)
10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 2009
Funding source for green commerical development ($ million)
Funding source for green commerical development (number of projects)
exceeded $789 million. Moreover, nearly a quarter of all sustainable office projects are federally funding. The apparent discrepancy indicates that government funded projects tend to not be as large-scale as privately funded projects. Employing best-practice sustainability standards in construction of government offices limits the impact and provides opportunities for emerging technologies and professionals to expand their capabilities. Mixed private and public office buildings are at the forefront of sustainable commercial work, such as the $500 million, federally funded, York Park North Precinct in Barton, ACT. It is anticipated that the Department of the Environment & Water Resources staff will occupy 35,000 square metres of the commissioned building with another 25,000 square metres space available for private sector tenants. State comparison Nationally, the trend towards sustainable building has continued to increase. This is reflected in the markets of four of the five biggest states. The only decrease in the value of the green commercial market is that of NSW (including ACT) which dropped $129 million or 5% since 2009. A small drop like this might seem insignificant if not compared to the vigorous rises in the other states. The Queensland market grew by 30% and is now the greenest commercial sector with over $2.5 billion of projects in the pipeline. South Australia and
Western Australia are relatively small markets for green building but both had strong increases, 79% and 49% respectively. The most dramatic state boom was Victoria whose growth reached 90% marking an additional $1.1 billion of ongoing work with Green Star briefs or registration. In Victoria, this growth can be largely attributed the re-commencement of a lot of work that was deferred over the financial crisis, as opposed to new projects entering the pipeline.
Construction starts in the green building commercial sector 3000 2490
Forecast construction starts In the 2009 / 2010 financial year, the green commercial sector grossed $1.87 billion, averaging $467 million per quarter. The beginning of the 2010 / 2011 financial year had relatively low levels of construction commencing; leading up to what
State comparison, 2009- 2010 ($ million)
3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0
might be Australia's most prolific period of green commercial starts in history: fourth quarter 2010 with $2.490 billion of work set to begin. This quarter has already seen site works for the 735 Collins Street office towers in Melbourne's Docklands begin in October 2010. At a total cost of approximately $750 million, the design aims for the highest Green Star rating and incorporates blackwater treatment, rainwater collection, an onsite gas-fired tri-generation plant
Forecast construction starts
and high performance glazing to allow maximum natural light whilst avoiding glare. To some extent, the phenomenal fourth quarter 2010 escalation can be attributed to hopes rather than expectations. In the final quarter of any year there is often an exaggerated optimism that projects will commence before the Christmas break. A portion of the projects predicted to start in this quarter will be pushed over to 2011. Things are set to quieten down towards the end of 2011 with the first half of the year seeing over $3 billion of work getting to the end of the pipeline. Over the next 6 months we are likely to witness an unprecedented propagation of green commercial projects being realised. (Source: BCI Australia) | 27
Australian manufacturer goes green Climate change is no buzz word. On the contrary, it is an issue we are becoming more and more conscious about. As the Federal Government looks to put carbon emissions reduction back on the agenda, businesses continue to be confronted with the challenge of understanding and implementing sustainable practices – ensuring they maintain their operations and bottom line without exhausting natural resources. The question is should the industry wait any longer for the government to impose carbon-related regulations or are there advantages of adopting lean, clean and green measures now? Australian manufacturer of brass door furniture, ASSA ABLOY, is already setting the example that being sustainable does make business sense. The firm which employs up to 700 Australians has already secured a number of lucrative tenders, based both on its Australian-ness and green processes, including supplying the door hardware and door furniture for the new Royal Children’s Hospital in Victoria. It has also exceeded its 2012 goal of reducing its normalized energy consumption by 15 per cent. “Brass furniture, as in the Lockwood brand, lasts a lot longer. It can be recycled and it is Australian made,” ASSAY ABLOY Marketing and Communications Manager Nick Penny says. 28 | www.awardmagazine.com.au
After conducting assessments of its products for several years, ASSA ABLOY discovered that its energy consumption in the production phase had the most significant impact on the environment. In 2009 the firm adopted a three-step approach to optimise its energy-use. Manufacturing processes were streamlined to involve fewer product sites, to limit material wastage and reduce water consumption. Low-energy lamps and lights, sensors in heating and cooling systems, and timers were implemented. The use of alternative energy sources was also explored. In the first year of its three-step approach, the energy consumption was reduced by 38,000 MWh and C02 emissions were cut by 12,800 tonne. Both figures represented an 8% drop compared to 2008. In addition, 13% of the total energy consumption in 2009 came from renewable energy sources. “The challenge we face is making people aware of the consequences of choosing a cheaper, non Australian made products. There may be the short term gain of a cheaper price point, but the product’s longevity is questionable,” Mr Penny says. “Manufacturing in Australia is important to our company. The connection with jobs is obvious, but it also means that it is easy to produce a customisable product with smaller runs and quicker lead times.”
ASSA ABLOY is leading by example, Australian Made, Australian Grown Campaign Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, says. ““As well as being made right here, by Australians and to Australia’s high standards, another advantage of Australian made products - such as the Lockwood range - is that locally sourced products minimise transportation and shipping costs and reduce the amount of pollution that may result. And that is great news for our environment.” Being green not only helps save the planet, it can be a way of saving money too. The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) for example, runs a number of programs to help businesses understand the key issues, be sustainable and save money. Its own analysis of the programs found that on average, participants saved almost $9,000 on their gas, electricity and water bills last financial year. This is on top of reducing carbon emissions by an average of 78 tonne or taking 18 cars off the road. For more information on VECCI’s sustainability programs visit www. vecci.org.au And to find about the not-for-profit Australian Made, Australian Grown Campaign go to www.australianmade. com.au
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Evergreens: Sustainable Façade Options By Mark Kenfield
It would be hard to argue against the notion that the ‘green economy’ is now emerging globally, particularly in the design and construction industry. The push for lower-impact, and more efficient buildings is driving dollars into sustainable building solutions for all aspects of building design, construction and fitout. And although achieving sustainability is an issue that goes more than skin deep, one of the most important aspects in achieving it, is a building’s skin. Façades, building envelopes, the exterior skin that encases the building within – these play an enormous part in how a building manages heating and cooling loads, daylight levels and all of the flow-on energy-intensive aspects they affect – namely indoor heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation. In response to the demand for more efficient systems for building envelopes there are now quite a range of options available – from high-performance glass, to operable shading systems, to advanced cladding systems – each offering unique methods to improve a building’s sustainability.
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Zinc On the metal market, there are various non-ferrous materials out there, however the most exciting development in façade cladding at the moment is the growing prominence of zinc. The energy cost of recovering zinc is minimal compared to most other materials, which makes it the standout candidate when it comes to environmentally friendly metal claddings. And by using state-ofthe-art, closed-circuit production facilities, emissions can be kept to an absolute minimum when producing it, as it takes less energy to produce zinc from ore than it does to produce any other non-ferrous metals; such as aluminium, copper, and stainless steel; that can be used in building applications. It also takes significantly less energy to produce zinc when recycled zinc is
used instead of zinc ore. And adding to this is the fact that the energy required to transform metallic zinc into rolled zinc for use in building applications (2 MJ/kg) is really quite low when compared to the energy needed to transform other metals. “Zinc has traditionally been used primarily in the roofing sector,” explains Craft Metals’ Dirk Janssen, “but lately it has become much more in vogue in facade applications, so there are now a greater variety of systems that will suit the material; including recessed panels, perforated screens, and more traditional forms – all of which are offering architects a wider range of sustainable options to choose from”. Zinc’s biggest draw cards are its longevity, recyclability, and low lifecycle costs. Part of the key to zinc’s longevity is the fact that it is a natural material and actually
Ventilated façade systems can provide lower maintenance, greater building performance, and much longer lifecycles than conventional solutions.
protects itself. “It forms a patina on the surface of the material, which renders it self-healing and protects the surface from atmospheric corrosion” explains Umicore’s Simon Pimentel, “So it is a very low maintenance material, and doesn't require any chemical cleaning products. And if the material does happen to get scratched, it will form a new layer and eventually blend back in”. This helps to imbue zinc cladding with the ability to last for many generations. Zinc facades will last around 100 years. Which makes them incredibly valuable, as all of the associated costs with scaffolding and replacing materials with shorter lifecycles are not required. Which greatly reduces zinc’s lifecycle costs in relation to most alternatives. Zinc will also fend off 90% of existing electromagnetic radiation that hits its surface. Once it reaches the end of its useful lifecycle, the material can be almost completely recycled, “And the good thing is that it can be recycled indefinitely without any loss of its physical or chemical properties,” Janssen adds, “So as well as being a very long-lasting material, it also has a very high scrap value, fetching around
70% of the price of new material, so it's a very high value material”. Janssen believes that when you look at the balance of the material that's available worldwide, it’s a real no-brainer. With only 5,000,000 tonnes of zinc mined each year, and known resources sitting at around 3,400,000,000 tonnes – there is around 700 years worth of material left, and that’s without factoring in zinc’s superb recyclability. “I think that with the growing awareness of the population, and a shift in the attitudes of developers, people are starting to look more heavily into sustainable cladding options, that can provide longevity and a maintenance-free aspect to their buildings” Janssen says. “Certainly in the public sector, where there tends to be little money available for maintenance, but reasonable amounts available for projects initially, zinc offers a particularly good option in terms of longevity and value for money” he adds. Zinc’s high corrosion resistance also makes it ideal for projects that are exposed to maritime environments. Janssen’s biggest concern in regards to zinc’s future as a sustainable façade option, is that it remains in something of a niche market. He says that although the materials are widely used, and awareness and uptake of them is growing; “Our zinc materials appear to remain something of a ‘special material’, mainly used for feature walls or more exciting (though not commonplace) architectural developments”. So a broader push to more sustainable materials like zinc, could have a significant positive impact on the longevity and sustainability of the built environment. Ventilated Façade Systems Another exciting development in longevity-focussed sustainable façade options at the moment are ventilated façade systems. These incorporate ventilated cladding materials and engineered fixing systems to reduce the stress and maintenance on a building’s façade, increase the lifecycle of the façade and provide both moisture and temperature control for the building – which in turn can offer further sustainability gains by helping to minimise a building’s heating and cooling loads. “Using non-painted materials immediately offers you more sustainable options,” explains
Multiclad’s Josh Dodd, “as they are non-maintenance and therefore bring down your lifecycle costs considerably”. “But it’s the fixing systems behind the facades, that I think Australia really lacks in” he says. “The conventional process here in Australia is to fix facade panels directly to a hard-fixed backing, which restricts the panels’ movement; and puts them under a lot of stress by not allowing them to properly flex and adjust with changes to the weather and climate”. Engineered fixing systems take those stresses off the panels, and put them on the fixing systems behind instead. This allows for movement and flexion of the panels, and prevents the panels from becoming stressed prematurely, greatly improving their longevity. Where conventional façade systems might have 25mm cavities in them, ventilated façade systems can offer varying cavity sizes of up to 200mm, and as Dodd explains, “within the cavities you can control moisture from both the inside and outside of the building, you can control the air behind the cladding panels, which allows you to create a chimney effect, which helps to keep heat from intruding, and keeps your inside room temperature at a very consistent 22-23 degrees, which can greatly reduce a building’s heating and cooling bills”. Sadly, there's a very slow take-up rate on ventilated façade systems at the moment, and often the uptake is being driven more by requirements for green ratings, than for the direct benefits the system has to offer. Dodd believes that engineered solutions are not being seen as a genuine benefit for the buildings in the face of star-rated materials gaining greater prominence. “There is a push to have engineered systems 'rated',” he says, “but it’s a very expensive process here in Australia and will take time”. The benefits these engineered solutions are considerable. With 40-50 year lifecycles, compared to 10-15 years for more conventional solutions, they offer a harmonious system of low-maintenance materials, outer and inner moisture control and active insulation. So it is certainly the right time to start investigating new options for the skin of your buildings. The options available for improving the efficiency, longevity and lifecycle costs of your facades are well worth a look in. And with a broad range of lower maintenance and higher performance materials and systems available, it’s time to start turning our buildings into evergreens. | 31
Photo by Mark Kenfield
straight talk: with Trudy-Ann King Head of Industry Engagement Green Building Council of Australia ‘Sustainability’ appears to be the word on everybody’s lips these days, with major pushes not only for more sustainable new buildings, but for retrofitting and upgrading existing ones as well. What factors do you think are driving this exponential growth in the prominence of green building? Sustainability has really become a big item on people’s agendas in the last few years; we’re seeing a surge in both new green buildings and green retrofits in the Australian market. And there are a few key influences driving this. Firstly, there is a dawning awareness of the impact human beings have on the environment. Natural disasters such as droughts and bushfires have directly affected people, their friends and their families – and they are beginning to understand the direct correlation between human behaviour and climate change. And, secondly, brands like Green Star, the environmental rating tool for buildings, have driven a deeper understanding of the processes, outcomes and benefits of sustainable building. Sustainability is now a measurable thing, too, with clear outcomes that can be achieved and assessed by Green 32 | www.awardmagazine.com.au
Star. The market now recognises that Green Star can provide building projects with a point of difference in a crowded marketplace. Tenant demand has been a key factor in market transformation too. At the top end of town, most tenants demand Green Star-rated buildings because they know that operating from a green building contributes positively to their brand equity. In 2011 we will be working closely with mid-tier tenants to educate them about Green Star and how it can support the growth and transformation of their businesses. What impacts do think we will see with the introduction of Mandatory Disclosure? And how quickly might it start to change the speed with which people address sustainability and energy efficiency in their buildings? Mandatory disclosure laws, which were introduced by the federal government on 1 November this year, mean that building owners and lessors will need to disclose a valid NABERS Energy star rating before the sale, lease or sublease of commercial office space with a net lettable area of 2,000 square metres or more.
The new Commercial Building Disclosure program will have a dramatic impact on the market, and building owners will need to understand how their buildings perform and how to report on that performance. Most of the big investment portfolio owners and building owners have been reporting on the energy efficiency of their buildings for some time, and most of them have already secured NABERS ratings. It’s sometimes a different story with the B and C-Grade buildings in the market and people who haven’t really dealt with this in the past are now looking at what they need to do to get their buildings in a position where they can report on them. Mandatory disclosure is an important step on Australia’s transition to a lowcarbon economy and the Green Building Council of Australia strongly supports it. At this stage it is based purely around energy and carbon, and we will be working with Australian Government to ensure other metrics, such as waste and water, are integrated into the scheme over time. A holistic approach to sustainability is essential. To focus purely on one element of building performance can actually work to the detriment of other elements. For example, a focus purely on energy usage and carbon emissions can sometimes mean reducing the indoor environment quality of a building. Green Star is all about ensuring that project teams take a holistic approach to green design. It’s really about looking at what’s right for your building, your asset, your tenants and finding a solution that suits. Are there any recent trends in Australian design and construction that you’re particularly excited about? It is not so much trends that I’m seeing, but really exciting projects; projects like Grocon’s Pixel building. The team behind Pixel was determined to push the boundaries of best practice and take one small building as far as possible. Pixel is an incredibly exciting project, and it’s really what Green Star and the Green Building Council of Australia are all about – about pushing the best practice benchmarks beyond ‘business as usual’. And there are really not enough projects like that; projects that have targeted carbon neutrality, that have gone after every Green Star point available, and that have introduced a raft of innovative initiatives as well. Doing a little bit is really not enough; we need leaders like this
who will take the Australian market into a new phase. Conversely then, are there any recent trends in the industry that concern or worry you in relation to the promotion of sustainability throughout our industry? The current state of the market at the moment is interesting: on one side you’ve got people going to great lengths to push the boundaries of green building; on the other side you’ve got people operating from a ‘business as usual’ position. To be truly sustainable we must continually challenge the way we do things, so it concerns me when I see project teams that have done something successfully before want to replicate it each time they start a new project – because that’s not what Green Star is about. Green Star is about trying new things, pushing the boundaries and moving beyond being constantly risk averse. The GBCA is currently working with both the federal and state governments to try and get them to commit to Green Star
for all new schools in Australia (and new buildings and refurbishments for existing schools). What sort of impacts do you think greener school can promote? We’re working closely with state and federal governments on a push for ‘green schools’. Australia is probably a little bit behind in this regard, but there’s been a lot of work done in the US; so we’ve got some really great data, which provides clear evidence of the impressive outcomes that can be achieved in green schools, and the benefits of creating healthy and productive places to learn. The US statistics show that greener schools can improve learning outcomes by up to 15%; up to 25% increased ability to perform in test situations; and over 40% improvements in health – as well as corresponding reduction in illnesses such as asthma and headaches – which can distract students or impair their learning. Even the lessons that students gain about sustainability by simply going to a green school can be a big benefit – for them, their families and the community
at large. Lessons in sustainability are taken home – and eventually out into the workplace and beyond – so a green school can be a fantastic catalyst for greater community awareness. The GBCA’s 2010-2015 strategic plan appears to present a particularly strong focus on the ‘integration’ of Green Star right throughout Australia’s construction industry. How are you planning to achieve this, and what positive impacts do you think it will enable the GBCA to make to the industry? We want to engage the minds of the best thinkers and policy makers around the country to ensure that the industry continues to expand and evolve. The Green Building Council of Australia is passionate about delivering broader awareness of how sustainable buildings can influence every aspect of our lives. We want to ensure the Australian community understands the importance of sustainability and the long-term benefits that we can achieve – as an industry and as a nation – by investing in it.
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Photos by Peter Hyatt
WHAT IT MEANS FOR GLASS
High-performance glass facades are becoming increasing more common in Australia.
Changes to the energy efficiency provisions of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) 2010 represent the first significant shift in stringency since the BCA 2006. The 2010 revision was introduced in May 2010, and is to be fully implemented in all states and territories by May 2011. These changes result from the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) decision to introduce 6 star energy rating standards for housing, as well as more stringent performance requirements for commercial buildings.
In designing The Breakwater at Sorrento Quay Boardwalk in Western Australia, Cox Howlett and Bailey Woodland specified Viridian ComfortPlus to ensure the restaurant's full height glass facades didn't negatively affect the building's thermal performance.
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Ivan Donaldson, Australian Building Codes Board General Manager, and Wade Bosse, Viridian Commercial Channel Manager (Australia and New Zealand), discuss the new BCA and, in particular, how architects and building designers can use glass to achieve compliance with the new code. ‘The BCA 2010’s more stringent performance requirements have resulted in significant changes when it comes to glazing’, explains Mr Donaldson of the ABCB. ‘Translating these requirements into the BCA’s Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) provisions has brought about changes to both glazing assessment methods and their targets. In Volume One, which applies to Class2-9 buildings, a star rating approach has replaced several former DTS measures for apartments and the like. The glazing assessment method previously dedicated to these situations has been removed from the BCA and glazing is now evaluated as part of house energy rating. The surviving DTS glazing method in Volume One can be used for the common areas of residential buildings and for other classes of buildings covered by Volume One.’
The changes, in particular the more stringent requirements relating to glazing, have caused some concern over whether we will see a reduction in the volume of glazing used in commercial buildings. However, as long as the appropriate glazing systems are specified there is no reason for this to occur. ‘Behind the apparent complexity of the DTS glazing calculations there is a simple proposition: glazing area and glazing thermal performance are interchangeable. The calculations ensure that better thermal performance provides for larger areas of glazing. The relationship is mathematically exact and offers designers flexibility in configuring glazing to resolve potentially competing demands for daylighting, views and energy efficiency. ‘The formula driven DTS glazing methods in the BCA were developed at the request of industry and with the active assistance of industry representatives. The goal was to allow users access to the benefits of the whole spectrum of glazing types and qualities available on
glass Column the Australian market,’ says Mr Donaldson. Since 2005, the ABCB has offered downloadable glazing calculators embodying the DTS glazing requirements. These calculators minimise the inconvenience of applying the formulas behind the DTS provisions, while mobilising the flexibility built into them. ‘More and more data on glazing systems performance, in the required format of the Australian Fenestration Rating Council (AFRC), is available to designers and building owners. The online databases for both commercial and residential glazing systems provided by the Windows Energy Rating Scheme (WERS), for example, make it easier to select glazing systems with the required levels of performance for any preferred layout. ‘Although stringency has increased in the BCA 2010, the required performance levels vary over three different glazing “applications”; aged care buildings, display glazing in shops/showrooms, and all other situations. Users find that display glazing in a shop or showroom retains the single stringency levels applied in the BCA 2009,’ says Mr Donaldson. While higher targets call for better glazing outcomes, there are numerous combinations of glazing quality, glazing placement and shading which contribute to the calculated results. Within this diversity of solutions it is expected that the overall standard of glazing installations will improve,’ says Mr Donaldson. Viridian’s Wade Bosse agrees. According to Mr Bosse, the range of modern glass technologies available to building designers means commercial buildings can feature extensive glazing and greatly reduce energy use at the same time. ‘The increased stringency of the BCA 2010 should not automatically be equated with reduced use of glass and windows. By using the latest performance glass products it is not necessary to reduce glazed areas or to use excessive shading in order to comply with BCA’s energy efficiency provisions. Designers who are aware of, and are familiar with, the possibilities of high performance glass, have greater design flexibility than those who continue to rely on traditional glass types. ‘However, Viridian has noticed an increased volume of calls from clients who are struggling with the new code and are not sure where to turn. Many designers are having to revisit their current glazing methods
in order to comply with the new requirements, as old ways of achieving compliance may not work with the more stringent regulations of the BCA 2010. This could potentially lead to more architects and building designers turning to external consultants in order to ensure their projects’ compliance, rather than undertaking this process in-house. While engaging external consultants may incur an additional fee, it will remove what can be a significant challenge for the designer’s productivity and often bring about a better outcome,’ says Mr Bosse. Designers and cost planners should also keep in mind that, in many cases, the extra cost incurred by specifying performance glass can be offset. Decreased heating and cooling loads made possible by improved thermal performance means there is the potential to downsize mechanical plant requirements. ‘Many projects around Australia have demonstrated that using performance glass has actually reduced project construction costs after the savings associated with downscaling the HVAC system have been added in. Considering these upfront savings and the ongoing payback from heating and cooling related energy savings, the performance glass is actually paying for itself. It really is a win for the builder, their client and also the environment,’ says Mr Bosse. Following a major upgrade to Viridian’s glass making plant in Dandenong, Victoria, last year, the CSR owned glass manufacturer now has one of the most advanced and sustainable glass making plants in the word. A wide range of high performance coated glass products allows commercial buildings designers to easily access energy efficient glass solutions from an Australian manufacturer. The online pyrolytic Low E (Low Emissivity) coating line installed at Dandenong in 2009 as part of the upgrade represents a huge investment in the Australian glass market and will produce significant volumes of higher performing glass to supply the Australian market with glazing products capable of achieving compliance with the BCA. ‘Given the significant gains in energy efficiency, its fantastic to see projects that were single glazed are now being double glazed and others that would have previously used ordinary clear glass are now using a Low E glass instead. However designers should be aware that this is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the range of performance glass products available,’ says Mr Bosse.
‘For instance, triple silvering coating technology used on certain double glazed units reduces heat gain by 74% through the glass and achieves U-values that exceed standard triple glazing. This is remarkable considering the product remains almost completely clear. These kinds of thermal performance improvements ensure that building users can continue to benefit from natural light and connectivity to the outside world, both of which are becoming increasingly recognised for their effect on psychological wellbeing, without sacrificing energy efficiency. Triple silvering coating technology, as well as many other performance coatings, is now available locally,’ says Mr Bosse. However, while specifying the appropriate glass is essential, architects and building designers should be aware that BCA compliance depends on the thermal performance of the overall window system. ‘Certainly, the increased stringency of the BCA 2010 energy efficiency provisions has encouraged innovation in the Australian glazing and window industries, leading to the introduction of new energy efficient framing technologies. Already manufacturers are rising to the challenge and developing frames that offer improved thermal performance over standard frames. Thermally broken frames, currently available from several window manufacturers including Capral and AWS, are ideal for improved thermal performance as they minimise heat transfer between the interior and exterior,’ explains Mr Bosse. ‘Glazing is a vital part of the building envelope and ideally should be considered early in the design process. Getting the glass components right in the design stages helps make the project run smoothly and ensure you are able to take advantage of the most effective solution.’ Viridian Architectural Segment Managers in each state are on hand to provide expert project specific advice where needed. All Segment Managers are trained in Section J of the BCA, which covers building energy efficiency requirements, and have an extensive understanding of the entire glass range. By assisting with advice on performance requirements, and quickly and accurately identifying the appropriate glass for a project, Segment Managers can save architects a lot of time and effort. Samantha Senior | 35
Transporting Australia’s Future Australia’s increasing infrastructure backlog sends a clear message that current policy will not fund the transport infrastructure we need now for a growing population and competitive economy. Consult Australia has responded to this challenge by developing a new integrated funding framework for transport infrastructure, Transporting Australia’s Future, as a win-win solution for government, business and the community. Chief Executive Megan Motto said, “This framework is a call to action for all governments to back new ways to increase infrastructure funding mechanisms, and to ensure Australia gets the transport infrastructure it needs. With this reform opportunity and political leadership, a fully funded, fully developed national and cities transport system, including city metros and intercity very fast train services could be implemented in two generations”. “What we are asking for is ambitious, but achievable with the right leadership.
What is required is a commitment from governments to an integrated approach”. Current revenue sources for transport infrastructure (e.g. fuel excise, vehicle registration, tolls and parking fees), are not integrated, not service driven, do not reflect true costs, and will be reduced over time through greater fuel efficiency and diminishing oil reserves and fuel excise revenue. Transporting Australia’s Future addresses these issues, providing for integrated reform across each of the following areas: • better use of existing infrastructure assets; • taxation reform; • better public financing instruments; and • new approaches to, and increased, private financing.
governments, and between state transport agencies, but this is a small price to pay for a sustainable future. These, and the development of pilot projects in our urban centres, will all be necessary first steps to see this vision become accepted as a reality. The Transporting report was not commissioned from a third party, but has been developed by, and reflects the specialist opinion of Australia’s leading firms in consulting, planning, engineering and project development including in transport infrastructure projects across Australia and internationally. Transporting Australia’s Future was developed by Consult Australia’s Infrastructure Roundtable. Download Transporting Australia’s Future Report at: www.consultaustralia. com.au
Implementation requires both vision and political commitment at all levels of government. Some rebalancing may be required between Federal and State
Jonathan Cartledge Director of Policy Consult Australia
Commercial benefits of green precast building In recent years we have seen a trend toward lightweight building solutions, and whilst their advocates sprout sustainability benefits, can we really believe that they are the right long term solution? Whilst lightweight structures are light, do they always result in long life, durable, fire safe, low maintenance structures that are energy efficient? Without having to add copious insulation? Are the lightweight materials locally sourced? Probably not. Precast on the other hand does tick all the boxes and offers a solution which is compatible to our environment. Green benefits come from every angle with precast. The benefits include an efficient manufacturing process, benefits on site during construction and ongoing benefits for building owners and occupiers throughout the life of the building. During the manufacturing process, precast uses less energy than that required for either structural steel frame components or glass curtain walling. Employment of lean
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production methods and superior vibration and curing techniques, steel casting beds and specially designed mixes mean a higher quality product with minimal production waste. Many standard precast products are manufactured in one type of mould that is used repeatedly throughout the production process. It is estimated that manufacturing produces only 2% waste materials, of which 95% are recycled. Furthermore, recycled materials such as fly ash, slag, silica fume, recycled aggregates and grey water can be incorporated into precast concrete. On site, precast construction creates less air pollution, noise and debris, and site waste is reduced as exact elements are delivered from local precast manufacturers to the construction site. Sites become safer because they are less cluttered with materials and labour. Post construction, precast’s high quality means that it can be left unlined internally in order to maximise the benefits of its inherent high thermal mass. Owing to its high
density, precast has the ability to absorb and store large quantities of heat. A good design using precast can see reduced heating and cooling costs by as much as 30% compared to other building alternatives. This can benefit in the process of selling buildings and tenancies. Furthermore, the integrity of precast means that maintenance and operating costs are low. The durability of precast over other materials (including other concrete elements) means a longer service for high use applications as the product can have a life expectancy of up to 100 years. Precast can provide a stronger long term investment as structures can simply be refitted rather than demolished. Lightweight structures, it seems, are just that.
Sarah Bachmann Executive Officer National Precast Concrete Association Australia
Shaping sustainable cities “Imagine a city that uses 100 percent renewable energy… where most transport is by electric light rail, biking, or walking... where the solar office block is filled with green businesses… where the local farmers’ market sells fresh, bioregional produce… where parents meet in the parks and gardens while their children play without fear in streets that are car-free... It’s my dream that all new communities are built with this vision in mind.” Peter Newman Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University
Recently, the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) asked a range of industry experts, environmentalists, policy makers and politicians to share with us their vision for a sustainable Australia. The answers were startling – not because they were full of surprises, but rather, because there were few. Every vision shared similar elements: that sustainable communities are places that provide for the health and happiness of all community members, respect cultural diversity and the environment, can adapt to change and consider the needs of future generations. Simple, local, connected, integrated and natural were all words which kept appearing, and which form the basis of any sustainable community. It’s clear that we already know what to do – we just need to find a framework that helps us convert our collective vision into reality. The GBCA is currently developing just that – a framework which we hope will become a national voluntary standard
for the planning, design and delivery of best practice sustainable community development projects across Australia. Together with our project partner, VicUrban, we commenced work on the Green Star Communities project in early 2009. The first stage of the project was to establish an independent, consistent language to guide the development of sustainable communities and precincts. The Green Star Communities National Framework, launched earlier in 2010, contains five principles – liveability, economic prosperity, environmental responsibility, design excellence and visionary leadership - and identifies a range of issues which need to be considered when visioning, planning, designing, delivering and revitalising our communities. The framework provides the foundation for the Green Star - Communities rating tool, which is currently under development. A Technical Working Group made up of GBCA members is currently reviewing existing best practice principles
and benchmarks which will be used to establish an assessment process which will rate sustainable communities. Green Star Communities will play a fundamental role in shaping sustainable cities of the future. After all, we are not building cities for tomorrow, but rather cities for generations. Our built environment must be enduring, viable and sustainable for the next fifty or possibly the next one hundred years. Green Star Communities will help us understand and innovate to achieve the best practice values of today and imagine those possible for the future. More information on the GBCA’s Green Star – Communities framework is available at: www.greenstarcommunities. org.au
Romilly Madew Chief Executive, Green Building Council of Australia | 37
Saffire: A priceless gem and one of our best kept secrets
The spectacular views provided by the Freycinet Peninsula can be viewed from almost anywhere in the resort.
The redevelopment of the Saffire high-end luxury resort in Coles Bay on the East Coast of Tasmania was touted by many as one of the most challenging and complex projects ever undertaken on Australia’s island state. Due to the magnitude and complexity of the project and the need to bring this project in on schedule, it was concluded that the best approach to establishing the design was through the use of 3D BIM (Building Information Modelling) software. For this project Tekla Structures was the tool of choice. Its ability to work with complex structures and downstream BIM capabilities, such as automated drawing production and CNC output for automated steel processing machinery, made it the obvious selection. Saffire was designed by Morris Nunn & Associates (now called Circa Architecture) and engineered by Gandy & Roberts. The resort features 20 accommodation suites with prices starting at $1250 up to $2500 per night. The main ‘stingray’ shaped building houses the restaurant, lounge bar, premium spa facilities and gym. All this is spread over 11ha of coastal land. It’s difficult to believe this amazing structure was once a caravan park. The spectacular views provided by the Freycinet Peninsula can be viewed from almost anywhere in the resort. With the project costing $32 million, it is the first luxury resort of its kind in Tasmania. The provision of steel for the resort’s construction was awarded to Crisp Bros/Haywards who provided 138 tonnes of structural steel for the project, as well as completing the detailed drawings needed for the project. The roof on the main building was designed as a curved steel pipe skeleton. The perimeter was supported by angled pipe columns with a steel framed glass façade. Steel pipe columns were also used up the spine. Curved laminated timber rafters then completed the skeleton, followed by cladding top and bottom with ply. This would form a smooth layer for the Polymer membrane roof and celery top pine ceiling lining. The suite’s roof construction was similar to the main roof but was twisted, not curved. Because the roof of the main building was curved in two directions, AutoCad was used to produce a 3D mesh which was then imported into Tekla Structures and used as a reference model. Paul Wootton, steel detailer at Crisp Bros/Haywards explains how the use of Tekla Structures software made the process easier; “The complex geometry and set out was overcome 38 | www.awardmagazine.com.au
by the use of reference models in the form of 2D Cad files (*.dwg) which were used for the plan set out of the building. The ‘stingray’ shape made it difficult to convey the set out information using 2D drawings. Using these reference files provided significant time savings and eliminated errors in the initial set out.” Paul goes on to add; “Complex connections were modelled by the detailer and sent to the engineer. He was able to view them easily through the Tekla model reviewer for approval and comment. The need for RFI’s was greatly reduced which meant everything could be completed on schedule. The model became pivotal in producing 3D DWG and IFC exports for the architects, glazing detailers and mechanical detailers. These were used to confirm ceiling heights, detail the glass façade and place the ductwork.” CNC files were created from the Crisp Bros/Haywards model and used by the profile machine to fabricate all plate fittings. “This saved a lot of time because we didn’t have to program them in manually” says Paul Wootton. Material lists were also created after modelling was nearing completion. This meant material could be ordered and rolled while the shop drawings were still in progress, therefore saving even more valuable time at the fabrication stage. Architects, engineers, builders, the site erection supervisor and the project manager all needed to collaborate, one way or another. The use of BIM software meant this could happen smoothly and in a time and cost effective way. Paul goes on to say that “The use of BIM means costly errors are eliminated onsite and therefore the project can be delivered on time. Tekla Structures was more then capable of handling a project of this size. In my opinion, if BIM software had not been used the time taken for completion would have doubled. “ This is an impressive conclusion to a boundary pushing project. Paul McLeod General Manager Pacific Computing (Australia) Pty Ltd
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