ISIS fitout in St Leonards Sydney, aiming for a green and productive environment

By Michael Barnes – ISIS projects

FAVOURITES – 16 JULY 2009 – “Green” remains the key building focus for the first decade of the 21st century. It is certainly front-of-mind for many of the owners of Australia’s buildings. And so it should be – The International Energy Agency estimates that buildings are responsible for more than 40 per cent of the world’s total primary energy consumption and contribute 24 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Between 2006 and 2008 there was a 700 per cent increase in the number of buildings achieving green star certification from the Green Building Council of Australia – the country’s first comprehensive certification system to cover energy and water efficiency, indoor environment quality and resource conservation.

By the end of last year, 154 buildings had achieved Green Star certification and a further 300 had registered to attain a certification. Of the 154, only 11 have achieved an Office Interiors rating. This momentum will only increase.

Five years ago green fitouts were virtually non-existent but today nearly all the fitouts we do at ISIS are influenced by green thinking and incorporate elements of green design and construction.

The trend towards green tenancy fit outs – including fresher air, the monitoring of carbon dioxide levels, reductions in power and water via more efficient lighting, user-adjustable heating and cooling, and the recycling of waste, water and materials – will continue to gather pace.

Two of ISIS’ more challenging green fitouts have been the Salvation Army Southern Territory Headquarters in the Melbourne suburb of Blackburn, and ISIS’ own offices in the Sydney suburb of St Leonards.

Salvation Army headquarters in Melbourne with a 4 Star Green Star accreditation involved many challenges

Salvation Army Southern Territory Headquarters – Blackburn, Melbourne

This two-stage commercial fitout of a 7000 square metres new office building has targeted 4 Star Green Star accreditation. It provided challenges because it involved many stakeholders and several specialist areas in the same facility, including a commercial kitchen, computer room, band rehearsal room, chapel, media studio and shop.

The feature areas involved contemporary design including feature timber and high use of colour. An added challenge was that the client wanted a graphic timeline – covering the Salvation Army’s achievements over more than a century – applied to all internal glazed partitions on laser-cut vinyl film.

The project was completed in two stages. The first stage – 5000 sq m – was finished while the base building was under construction. Once the second stage was completed, an opening was created to link the two stages.

Key green initiatives were:

Use of “green” and recycled timber – We identified long lead time and problematic materials early in the process, so they could be ordered in advance. We used timber that had Forest Stewardship Certification,  a rigorous worldwide accreditation concentrating on sustainable forestry practices. We also used post-consumer recycled and remilled timber, working with our contractors and designers to source quality local product.

Use of non-PVC alternative products – When the original product selected for the tambour door storage units was not available within the project timeframe we worked closely with the designers and suppliers to source and install a non-PVC alternative.

Low Volatile Organic Compound clear sealers – Feature timber panels are used extensively in the project and ISIS applied low VOC clear sealers to these panels.
Lengthy curing times for the selected sealers required careful programing and site coordination to allow timely installation within the project timeframe.

Education of sub-contractors – The construction market is still on a learning curve in relation to understanding and applying Green Star principles. The ISIS team, experienced in the delivery of Green Star projects, undertook extensive due diligence to make sure we had the best and most advanced contractors.

On-site monitoring and control of Green Star construction – Controlling risk is crucial. It is important during the fit out process to verify that everything being installed complies with the Green Star aim. ISIS’s specialised risk management procedures combined with Quality Assurance (ISO 9001) and Environmental Management (ISO14001) provided the frameworks required to successfully deliver a Green Star project.

The ISIS fitout: CO2 monitors were installed in return air ducts, counteracting excessive carbon dioxide build up by increasing the fresh air flow. PVC and VOC were also minimised

ISIS offices – St Leonards, Sydney

In this fitout we aimed to provide a green and productive office work environment which included retro-fitting more efficient fixtures and fittings to the base building.

Six months before the fit out we designed, specified and sourced products. Through a good understanding of the Green Star rating tools, we sourced new “green” products to gain 5 Green Star certification for the office interior. Design workshops allowed us to collaborate with all the stakeholders.

Key initiatives were:

Energy Efficiency – Green Star’s energy requirements were met by achieving a 4.5 Australian Building Greenhouse Rating. This translates to a 68kg/CO2 a sq m a year of greenhouse gas emission.

Base building toilets and taps – All were replaced for significant water savings. Cyclist change rooms and showers were installed.

Open plan workstation layout – Offices were located against the building’s core, allowing every employee a view and maximising the penetration of natural light.

Carbon dioxide monitors and indoor air quality – CO2 monitors were installed in return air ducts, counteracting excessive carbon dioxide build up by increasing the fresh air flow. PVC and VOC were also minimised.

A new lighting system – Tenancy areas were upgraded to T5 fittings. Zoning and monitoring of daylight and usage allows lights to be dimmed or switched off when light levels are optimal or areas are unoccupied.

Environmentally sustainable materials and equipment were used, including:

•    Recycled Spotted Gum for the lobby, breakout and terrace, sourced from an old bridge.
•    Substitution of all plasterboard finishes with a recyclable product.
•    Daylight glare controls, monitored by sensors, can activate motorised blinds to reduce glare. Moveable arms on laptops and personal computers allow employees to move their screens in any direction to reduce glare.
•    The majority of desktop computers have been changed to laptops. These are connected to a wireless network, allowing employees to move about offices, meeting rooms and the terrace.

At all times ISIS has communicated openly with staff. Making information readily available has made staff aware of our consumption, and they are keen to assist where possible. Turning off lights, recycling more waste or sharing information about green initiatives has become common place.

ISIS is about to sign up to the CitySwitch Green Office program – a national office energy management program run in partnership between local councils and state government agencies. The program works with tenants to improve office energy efficiency, thereby reducing CO2 emissions. ISIS will join another 93 tenants currently registered in the program.

ISIS is a commercial property solutions provider

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