Six stars HQ

17 August 2011 – Case study: The time has come when tenants want to know how many bicycle racks there are in a building, rather than car spaces.

At least that is the view of Leighton Properties national head of commercial Andrew Borger,  after introducing to the property industry the company’s eighth “as built”  Green Star certification in Queensland.

The latest rating proof that the company delivered what it promised in the design phase is for HQ, the new headquarters for Leighton Leighton Properties and builder Leighton Contractors.

The building achieved a six star Green Star – Office As Built v2 rating.

“We felt it was critical to back up a 6 star Green Star Office Design v2 rating with the Office As Built rating. HQ is now the largest 6 Star Green Star Office As Built certified development in Australia,” Mr Borger said.

“HQ is reflective of generational change in occupant’s needs. Tenants, when making a leasing decision, were more focused on how many bicycle racks they could be allocated rather than the number of car parks.”

Darren Weir, general manager of Leighton Contractors’ Construction Division – Northern Region, said: “During the construction of HQ, we were committed to re-using or recycling 80 per cent of construction waste, and we achieved that.”

The building also recently won the National Development of the Year Award from Urban Taskforce Australia.

Architect for the $177 million HQ was Bligh Voiler Nield.

HQ, at 512 Wickham Street,Brisbane, comprises two office towers (of eight and 12 storeys) delivering 44,000 square metres of premium commercial office and retail space, restaurants, cafés, wine bars and a public plaza.

Major commercial tenants include Leighton Contractors, Leighton Properties, AECOM, Technology One, CS Energy, Bechtel; restaurants Siana Valley, Agave, Meat and Wine Co; and convenience retail IGA, Subway and Pizza Capers.

HQ’s bicycle centre is operated by local company 99 Bikes. The centre offers over 260 bike racks and facilities such as  showers, lockers, towel and dry cleaning services.

As part of Brisbane City Council’s future planning for Fortitude Valley, the HQ precinct area of 225 hectares has received a major overhaul with the creation of subtropical streets with open public space, trees and street shading.

The profile:

HQ will deliver a reduction of 559,580 tonnes per year in emissions.

Key sustainability measuresinclude:

  • Co-generation plant onsite that produces 95 per cent of HQ’s electricity needs276,000 litre rainwater harvesting tanks installed under the buildings
  • Ninety-four per cent of all onsite construction waste was recycled or re-used


  • HQ has one of Australia’s largest co-generation plant in a commercial building, supplying 95 per cent of the building’s energy needs, Leightons claims. The technology works by recycling waste heat from power generation to chill water for the building’s airconditioning system.
  • Localised electricity generation both reduces the demand on the power grid, and eliminates energy losses in the transmission of power to the site.
  • Single tube lighting installed on large grids reduces office lighting power density.
  • Separate switching zones per floor create flexibility in lighting and reduce glare while saving energy.
  • Movement censors for common area lights activate lighting only as required.

Water saving measures

  • Rainwater harvesting and water-efficient fittings and fixtures reduce potable water use by 9300 litres per day or 3.4 million litres per year.
  • 276,000 litre rainwater harvesting tanks located under the north and south towers are used to supply toilets and irrigation for landscaping.

Sustainable construction methods

Ninety-four per cent of all onsite construction waste was recycled or re-used, including waste from fit-outs.

Sustainable materials used in construction:

  • Fly ash replaced 45.8 per cent of in-situ and 43.4 per cent precast cement
  • Forest Stewardship Council certified plantation timber used
  • Reinforcing steel with at least 50 per cent recycled content used
  • Use of PVC reduced by 60 per cent by using copper pipes for plumbing, and non-PVC electrical cabling

Interior environment and precinct

  • Fifty per cent more fresh air inside compared to a typical office building.
  • Low volatile organic compound products and finishes for adhesives, sealant, paints, and carpet.
  • Natural light maximised through glazing technologies

Recognition for HQ

  • 6 Star Green Star – Office Design v2 rating, Green Building Council of Australia
  • 6 Star Green Star – Office As Built v2 rating, Green Building Council of Australia
  • Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 Award for Sustainability in the Built Environment
  • Top energy ranking from the National Australian Built Environment Rating System
  • Development of the Year, Urban Taskforce Australia

– Lyn Drummond and Tina Perinotto

The Fifth Estate – sustainable property news and forum

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