The South Australian government has received a 6 Star Green Star Interiors rating for an office fitout, which it says is the first Australian project to get such a high rating in the first round of assessment.

The Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources’ (DEWNR) Waymouth St office in Adelaide, which houses 900 government workers, has undergone a refurbishment that has seen upgrades including energy-efficient smart LED lighting, recycled coke bottles used in partition materials, end-of-trip facilities and internal plants for improved indoor environment quality.

The fitout has been designed to achieve minimum 5 Star NABERS Energy and Water ratings, with emissions estimated to be 45 per cent lower than business as usual, and water use 51 per cent lower. Wellness has also been a key consideration, with 50 per cent higher than standard air change rates and low-VOC finishes.

According to DEWNR chief executive Sandy Pitcher, the fitout is an important symbol of the state government’s leadership on climate change.

“As the lead agency for the environment in South Australia, and for delivering our goal of a carbon neutral Adelaide, it is our responsibility to set the highest standard,” Ms Pitcher said.

“We know that 48 per cent of CBD CO2 emissions come from commercial buildings, and this re-fit will encourage businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.”

Green Building Council of Australia chief executive Romilly Madew said the fitout had set new benchmarks for South Australia and helped to upskill local industry in sustainable design.

“The new Waymouth Street office is not only environmentally sustainable. By creating a more efficient and healthy workplace, DEWNR will reduce costs and boost staff performance – and that’s good news for South Australians,” she said.

Schiavello, MPH, Aurecon, dSquared Consulting and Aquenta were brought onboard for the fitout.

The technical details of the fitout include:

Indoor environment quality

  • All interior finishes are low VOC
  • All composite timbers used are low formaldehyde
  • Extensive green planting including green walls is provided to reduce indoor carbon dioxide levels and to improve staff general health and wellbeing
  • All airconditioning systems have high grade filters, and provide outdoor air at a rate 50 per cent higher than required by Australian Standards
  • Dedicated exhaust systems are provided to toilet and amenity areas
  • All new printers and copiers are certified zero emissions
  • All lighting is flicker free LED with colour rendering and a uniformity that provides a high quality lighting environment. Daylight controls are provided to promote access to daylight in preference to artificial light
  • All furniture is of a high ergonomic quality

Energy and greenhouse gas emissions

  • The tenancy has been designed to achieve a minimum 5 Star NABERS Energy rating
  • Predicted annual Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are 568 tonnes per annum
  • Compared to a standard practice, code compliant tenancy the annual GHG emissions saving is over 253 tonnes (a 45 per cent emissions reduction compared to business as usual)
  • All lighting is LED with digital automated control systems to minimise lighting use
    during daylight, or when spaces are unoccupied
  • Air conditioning systems are controlled in small thermal zones to minimise over conditioning, and also to allow systems to automatically shut down when zones are unoccupied
  • Air conditioning systems are controlled by a fully automated Building Management System (BMS). The BMS logs all operating conditioners and allows the facilities management team to analyse, tune, and improve the energy efficiency of the systems
  • IT and general office equipment has been selected with high energy star ratings, and automated power saving hibernation software

Transport

  • Transport options that provide an alternative to private cars was prioritised
  • There are more than 264 secure bicycle racks, showers, change rooms, and lockers, providing end of trip facilities for more than 30 per cent of staff (the business as usual end of trip provision in a 5 Star Green Star building is 15 per cent, and for standard building stock only five per cent)

Water

  • The tenancy has been designed to achieve a minimum 5 Star NABERS Water rating
  • Predicted annual water consumption is 3100kL a year. Compared to a standard practice, code compliant tenancy the annual water saving is more than 3200kL – a 51 per cent water reduction compared to business as usual. The annual water saving is equivalent to 80 domestic swimming pools
  • All water fittings have high WELS Star ratings (taps 6 Stars, toilets 4 Stars, and showers 3 Stars)

Materials

  • A ‘whole of life’ approach was taken to the selection of furniture and workstations, with priority given to Australian-made or assembled items which have a low embodied carbon footprint. The fit out was subject to a detailed Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) in accordance with EN 15978. The DEWNR tenancy has a whole of life carbon footprint 35 per cent lower than a business as usual fit out (equivalent to 4590 tons of carbon over the life of the tenancy)
  • PVC use has been minimised, and where used, all PVC is certified best practice
  • All timber used is FSC certified
  • Preference was given to Australian-made or assembled products where possible
  • The open plan design saved more than 1800 square metres of partitioning materials
  • The centralised printing and paperless office policies are expected to save more than 3600 reams of paper per annum.

GBCA Innovation points

  • Reconciliation Action Plan – DEWNR have always had a recognised Reconciliation Action Plan, but this fit out has been designed to actively respond to and promote the actions specified in the Action Plan.
  • Social Return on Investment – A detailed economic benefit study was undertaken to determine the direct and indirect economic benefit of the sustainability choices made. This provides details of how much economic value was created for every $1 spent on direct benefits (such as energy efficiency initiatives that provide a direct saving on energy bills).
  • Marketing Excellence – The GBCA wanted to see a better education program and marketing of the sustainability features and benefits of a well-designed workplace. DEWNR formulated a comprehensive marketing plan to satisfy this challenge.
  • Occupant Engagement – DEWNR undertook a comprehensive staff engagement and survey program and commissioned the Building Occupants Survey System Australia (BOSSA) to undertake a survey to establish staff levels of satisfaction with their environment and a list of features staff wanted to see in the new workplace. DEWNR has subsequently committed to a post occupancy survey and ongoing annual staff surveys in order to continually improve the workplace environment