6 April 2009 – The aim of new headquarters for Bendigo Bank was for a building that consumed half the energy of a typical office building, reduced potable water use by more than 50 per cent, and allowed for ease of maintenance, repair and replacement.
The new state-of-the-art Bendigo Bank headquarters has created a benchmark in environmental building standards for commercial buildings in regional Victoria.
Our client, Bendigo Bank, required a world-class building in terms of environmental performance and a first-class working environment for staff. They also wanted a development that would revitalise and extend the commercial hub of the city.
The development occupies an entire block in downtown Bendigo and comprises a six-storey building that can accommodate approximately 900 staff.
There is street-level retail and the project also included refurbishment of Level 2 of the adjacent Fountain Court building.
The ESD Strategy for the development saw Probuild working closely with our client, architects Bligh Voller Nield and Gray Puksand, engineers Meinhardt and ESD consultants Connell Wagner.
The strategy aimed to achieve significant performance improvements on a conventional building, while assisting in long-term savings through lower running costs.
The aim was for a building that consumed half the energy of a typical office building, reduced potable water use by more than 50 per cent, and allowed for ease of maintenance, repair and replacement.
These goals would result in a more sustainable building with a lifespan of possibly 80 years, thereby reducing the overall environmental impact of the materials used in construction and fitout.
In keeping with Bendigo Bank’s focus on regional community and the environment, most of the building materials were sourced from within 200 kilometres of the site.
Materials were also selected for their low embodied energy, providing an overall 20 per cent reduction in embodied energy compared to conventional construction methods.
(Embodied energy is the energy required to manufacture and deliver building materials from mining through to construction; typically 10-30 per cent of the total life cycle energy requirements of a building.)
Bendigo Bank made the conscious decision to redevelop a current site rather than opt for a greenfield development.
The new and old buildings are linked via aerial bridges at both car park and reception levels. The six-storey building fits within the city scale, complementing rather than dominating the cityscape.
A feature of the development is a 600 sq m public square in front of the building that was developed jointly with Bendigo City Council.
Under Floor Air Conditioning / Temperature Control
The design of the building called for services to be installed beneath the floors and above the ceilings, requiring a different construction system to be adopted.
The use of the under-floor air highway system is unusual in Australia, because most buildings do not have the raised floor required for the ductwork.
The under-floor air conditioning provides fresh, clean air at low pressure, and the number of outlets enables areas to be controlled locally to suit individual needs.
There are also operable roller blinds, which are controlled by the sun’s position to reduce heat transfer and glare.
Both these features add to the comfort levels of the building’s occupants and minimise the energy required to control the internal ambient temperature.
Shade Screens / Glazing / Lighting
Shading screens on the western and northern façades of the building reduce glare and their installation was extremely interesting.
There was substantial window tunnel testing undertaken to ensure that the pierced shades would not whistle in the wind.
The tests at Monash University identified a whistling problem with the initial prototypes, so the diameter of the holes in each shade and the positioning of the shades to the facades were modified to ensure that no whistling noise would be created.
Installation time was reduced because Probuild, with its sub-contractor Permasteelisa, devised a method of prefabricating whereby the shades were mounted to the window panels, so both windows and shades were fitted in one installation.
High-performance double-glazing is used throughout the building and provides views for most of the people working there and also reduces the need for artificial lighting.
Another feature is the solar panels located on the roof, which complement the building’s hot water services.
Like so many areas of Australia, Bendigo’s water supply is drought-vulnerable and extreme water restrictions have been in place for some time.
Without the implementation of water-saving technologies, the Bendigo Bank development would have become one of the largest users of water in the City of Bendigo, placing additional load on the already stressed reticulation system.
Reducing reliance on reticulated water was therefore a key design consideration. A recycling water treatment plant was installed to treat both black and grey water and to provide water for use in toilet flushing throughout the building.
Rainwater is collected from the 960 sq m roof area, filtered, then stored in a 10,000 litre rainwater storage tank. This is used to drip-feed the irrigation system supplying the landscaped gardens at the front of the building.
Landscaping contributes to the passive thermal comfort of the building while also providing an attractive and natural context for the development.
At least 60 per cent of the planting stock is from indigenous sources. As part of the landscaping, the degraded Bendigo Creek was restored and a green boardwalk link was created from the city centre to Rosalind Park.
The new Bendigo Bank headquarters was opened by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on December 11, 2008.
Probuild was the head contractor, responsible for construction of the development.
Andrew Zinni is Construction Manager, Probuild.