CARBON NEUTRAL BUILDINGS: UPDATED 22 January 2020 – GPT has made a good start to 2020 with two of its office investments joining the elite world of just 12 buildings in Australia certified carbon neutral.
One of the buildings, Workplace 6 at Pyrmont, is headquarters for Google and the move will play well into the tech giant’s strongly publicised commitments to sustainability.
The second building is at 8 Exhibition Street in Melbourne. Both are owned by GPT Wholesale Office Fund, which has flagged it wants to be fully carbon neutral by year’s end, while the broader group has named 2030 as its carbon-neutral deadline.
The Melbourne and Sydney buildings were certified under NABERS and Climate Active, the new name of the federal Department of Environment and Energy, both of which align with the international Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
The company said the unified certification approach will now be implemented across the remainder of the group’s portfolio.
GPT’s head of sustainability and energy, Steve Ford, said the fund felt it needed a credible validation pathway to achieve its aims, “so we worked with the Property Council of Australia and broader industry to pilot an aligned certification with NABERS, Climate Active and the international Greenhouse Gas Protocol.”
GWOF fund manager Martin Ritchie said: “Moving towards a net zero carbon target is a great achievement for our fund, and it is also delivering benefits to our tenants through savings and assisting them achieve their own targets to reduce emissions.”
Google was pleased with the announcement. Its director of real estate and construction Joe Borrett said: “At Google, we strive to build sustainability into everything we do.”
A spokesman from GPT said: “Normally most building emissions come from electricity. The most credible way of dealing with this is eliminating these emissions by buying 100 per cent renewable energy.
“To ensure that renewable energy is only accounted for once, the GHG protocols outline accounting practices whereby each renewable energy certificate can only by retired once.
“GWOF follows this by ensuring that 100 per cent of its electricity purchases have appropriate renewable energy certificates associated with them and retired. So we are actually eliminating emissions, not buying offsets for our electricity.
“We only buy offsets where emissions can’t be eliminated. This is the case for emissions from burning gas, waste to landfill, water consumption, diesel backup generators and occasional fugitive emissions like refrigerants.”
For Workplace 6, GPT used the NABERS ratings for Energy, Water and Waste to ensure the most robust data went into the emissions calculation. It was the first time a carbon neutral certification derived its final data from all three industry standard NABERS ratings.
Workplace 6 was now 25 per cent more energy-efficient, with a solar array set to be included this year.
Carlos Flores, director of NABERS, said GWOF had a strong track record of industry leadership, including achieving one of the first NABERS Waste ratings and the first use of the Materials Recovery Score.
“We congratulate GPT for being the first to incorporate data from their certified NABERS Energy, Water and Waste ratings, setting a new bar for robustness in carbon-neutral claims,” Mr Flores said.
The NABERS website lists just 12 other buildings in Australia certified carbon neutral:
- 20 Lee Street, HAYMARKET NSW 2000 (the Henry Deane Building)
- 76 Berry Street, NORTH SYDNEY NSW 2060
- 28 Margaret Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000
- 2-4 Lyonpark Road, MACQUARIE PARK NSW 2113
- 120 Sussex Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000 (Carnegie Morgan Hill House)
- 8 Exhibition Street, MELBOURNE VIC 3000 (Ernst and Young Building)
- 48 Pirrama Road, PYRMONT NSW 2009 (Workplace6)
- 1 Perry Street, BATEMANS BAY NSW 2536 (The Village Centre Batemans Bay Shopping Centre)
- 122-138 Flood Street, LEICHHARDT NSW 2040 (MarketPlace Leichhardt Shopping Centre)
- 1c Homebush Bay Drive, RHODES NSW 2138 (Building C)
- 1B Homebush Bay Drive, RHODES NSW 2138 (Building B)
- 69 Robertson Street, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006 (Floth)