By Lynne Blundell

530 Collins Street Melbourne

6 May 2010 – When GPT’s building at 530 Collins Street was coming up to 20 years old, the property group decided it was time for an upgrade with energy performance a key focus.

Originally completed in 1989, it is a landmark building with approximately 68,335 square metres of office accommodation over 38 floors.

The building was rated at 2.5 Star NABERS energy efficiency in 2004  – an industry average. Prior to the upgrade GPT purchased 25 per cent Green Power for the building, a contract that commenced in 2007. This brought it up to 4 Star NABERS.

Preliminary studies began in early 2008 along with the procurement process. Honeywell was selected as the main contractor and GPT negotiated an Energy Performance Contract, something that is more common in government projects but more unusual in commercial projects.

If Honeywell fails to deliver, particularly on energy performance of the building, it is required to compensate GPT. This covers a five year period following project completion.

The project is aiming for a 5 Star NABERS energy efficiency rating.

Simon James, general manager – energy and environment for Honeywell Building Solutions, told The Fifth Estate, that while the average payback period (in terms of savings on energy bills) for an energy performance contract was seven years, for this project it was more like 20 years. But that was because the bar had been set so high.

“There were fairly significant capital costs on the project but GPT was future proofing the building and ensuring it would continue to attract high quality tenants. If you factor in the increased value of rent and of the value of the building itself, the payback period is more like two years,” says James.

Project aims

  • Improve the building’s energy performance and 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
  • Aiming for 5 Star NABERS energy rating
  • Maintenance of income from existing tenants during refurbishment
  • Future-proof the building and consolidate its premium grade position
  • Increase the value of the building and rent potential
  • Maintain or increase comfort and amenity while improving sustainability

Big ticket items and sustainability initiatives

  • Co-generation plant
  • New cooling towers
  • New chiller
  • Variable speed drives
  • New building management system (BMS) with ‘energy manager’ database
  • Refurbishment of building entrances at ground level and introduction of cafes

Outcomes

  • on track to save $360,000 a year in energy costs and 40% reduction in emissions
  • building leased and income maintained throughout project
  • new entrances are now warmer and more inviting and cafes and new food choices have been introduced
  • implementation of co-generation plant achieved through engaging specialists

Department of Transport, Energy & Infrastructure South Australia

Szencorp’s, energy services arm, Energy Conservation Systems, achieved significant energy and water savings complex during a complex services upgrade of the South Australian Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure’s head office building in Walkerville.

The project was the first energy and water effciency upgrade in South Australia to be delivered through an Energy Performance Contract. It was conducted in two stages, first involving a substantial refit of all lighting, followed by a comprehensive upgrade of the heating, ventilation airconditioning systems and the implementation of significant water saving initiatives.

The first stage of the project involved an overhaul of the lighting that delivered major savings on electricity bills while also reducing greenhouse emissions and improving lighting levels for occupants.

All of the existing fluorescent light fittings were removed from the building and new high ef?ciency T5 fluorescent fittings were installed, complete with electronic dimmable ballasts.

In addition to the light fittings an intelligent lighting control system was installed incorporating automatic dimming and integrated occupancy detector control.

The heating, cooling and ventilation system was completely replaced. Rather than generating conditioned air in the plant room, eight fan/coil units were installed on each level (four per wing), accompanied by dual
speed fans that run mostly at low speed. Hot and chilled water is pumped to each fan coil unit incorporating its own heating and cooling coil.

A co-generation unit is one of the key features of the new system. It is basically a natural gas-fired internal combustion engine that produces electricity and heat from the same primary energy source.

The rooftop cooling towers have been replaced with new energy ef?cient units with variable speed fans and a new, computerised chemical dosing system.

Key initiatives

  • T5 lighting retrofit
  • Intelligent occupany based lighting control system
  • Co-generation and absorption chiller
  • Digital building management system
  • Water flow control
  • Monitoring and verification

Key Outcomes

  • Energy savings – $390,000 per year
  • Greenhouse gas emissions savings – 2400 tonnes per year
  • Water savings – 2000 kilolitres per year

lblundell@thefifthestate.com.au