Perth officer tower Central Park has offset carbon emissions generated by the building’s core services through the purchase of greenhouse friendly carbon credits, the owners of the building, Perron Group and Frasers Centrepoint, say in the following case study:
The building’s Carbon Neutral Program, which excludes areas occupied by the tenants, involved three facets.
Firstly, the carbon footprint of the buildings operations was determined. A task force was established and consultants engaged to assist Central Park Management with this and guide us through the process. As no clear “carbon neutral” guidelines are available for existing commercial buildings the task force set out to define the boundaries of the building operations.
After some deliberations, it was agreed that all carbon emissions generated from the base building areas including the lighting and airconditioning of common areas and operation of the lifts was to be included, but that all energy expended in the tenanted areas and car park was to be excluded. Embodied energy was also excluded as it would be practically impossible to determine this for an existing building.
The carbon emissions generated by these services, including the fuel oil used by the generators was calculated for the previous year based on recorded data. The waste generated by the building management and maintenance staff was also weighed over a four week period and the data recorder extrapolated over the year.
Travel records were obtained from the accounting system of all business related travel, both by air and locally by taxi. An estimate was also made of other local trips for which costs were not recovered. Based on the above data the carbon footprint of the building was quantified.
Secondly, as a result of an active energy management program, energy consumption of the base building services is continually being reduced. Over the past 12 months, savings of 9 per cent have been achieved and further substantial savings are being targeted over the next two years.
The building was well built and incorporates energy efficient plant which through careful management and numerous minor improvements has outperformed its peers over numerous years.
In conjunction with the low energy consumption of the system, carbon emissions were further minimised by the purchase of approximately 20 per cent Green Power. As a consequence Central Park was the first commercial building in Australia to achieve a 4 ½ star ABGR rating and has maintained this rating for over five years. With the ongoing improvements proposed, Central Park is poised to elevate this to a 5 Star NABERS rating by 2010.
Lastly, offsets were purchased to negate the effects of the carbon emitted. The carbon credits purchased are being generated in Western Australia by Auscarbon through the re-vegetation of marginal farmland. The program will return farm land that is no longer economically viable to farm and in danger of being lost to salinity to its original forested state. In the process or re-vegetating the land, carbon is captured in the growth.
A major further benefit of this project will be on the environment through the increase in vegetative biomass and subsequent reduction in salt degradation, water logging and wind and water erosion. New habitats for flora and fauna will also be created. The offsets purchased are certified by the Federal Government under the Greenhouse Friendly program. The Greenhouse Friendly verification program is run by the Commonwealth Government’s Australian Greenhouse Office to certify Australian generated Verified Emission Reductions.
The credits are generated here in Western Australia by the reforestation of marginal farmland that is no longer viable to farm by AusCarbon, a regulated market operator and West Australian company. AusCarbon provides high quality Greenhouse Friendly accredited carbon offsets from it’s Canna biosequestration project, on land it owns.
Degraded farmland, seen here in the foreground, is replanted with vegetation native to the area and allowed to recover. Water quality and the reduction of salt within the area are also expected.
Native species of plants compatible with the local climate and soil conditions are used to mimic the original flora found in the area.
A range of endemic mixed species are used to create substantial biodiversity to maximise growth and enhance long term resilience. The biodiversity also results in an increase in habitat for native animals.
A high quality management and project team with decades of experience in broadacre planting of trees and management of forests has assembled. Planting is carried out in degraded parcels of land between areas that are still viable to farm. This reduces the stress on the farmed areas and minimises the risk of it also becoming degraded.
The re-vegetated area must not be cropped and must be guaranteed to remain undisturbed for a period of at least 70 years.
Once the plants mature and a variety of vegetation is established as shown above, native fauns will re-populate the area further contributing to the return of the land to its original state.
Additional details on AusCarbon group can be found at https://www.Auscarbongroup.com.au/
Building manager is CBRE.
CBRE’s Tim Ward, Central Park’s general manager, added that whilst the project excludes the leased and tenanted areas, the management team has offered to work with its tenants to help them achieve a similar result in the areas that they control.
For more detail, please see https://www.central-park.com.au/public/sustainability/CarbonNeutral.asp