Pixel

4 June 2013 – So much for the naysayers on green buildings. In Melbourne an Australian company with sustainable building technology to spruik has paid $6 million for Grocon’s uber green Pixel building because well… it’s going to make their brand sing.

That’s about nearly $1 million more than they needed to pay if they wanted a regular A Grade building in the location, the city fringe suburb of Carlton in Melbourne.

The identity of the buyer is undisclosed for now but a number of industry sources contacted by The Fifth Estate said the buyer would use it as premises for their business.

According to David Waldren, Grocon’s national executive design manager, the price was strong and it was a vindication for green buildings.

“It’s a positive reinforcement of the vale of Green Star and the value of sustainability in Green Star,” Mr Waldren said.

“If that building were in Carlton and it was typical commercial office; if it was good quality premium grade it would fetch five [million dollars], maybe five and a bit, certainly not the sort of numbers achieved here.

“It vindicates the thought that went into it in the first instance and [counters the thinking] that a green building is well and good but it’s a bit like putting money down the drain and not a good investment.

“Pixel shows it’s a good investment.”

Overall cost to build Pixel with 850 square metres net lettable area, was just over $5 million, land value excluded.

But its most valuable contribution might be by lifting the bar for the green building industry.

Since completion about 3000 people had visited the building, many from overseas, Mr Waldren said. And that’s just by way of formal tours.

“There have been lots of international visitors who have come to see what the Australian industry can produce and at the open house days we’ve had queues of an hour. Also lots of academics and practioners and lots of prospective tenants for our buildings.

“People come to see it and to understand a bit more about it, and as a consequence of seeing all of Pixel they might pick out what they’re most interested in

“I don’t think there are many people who will try to emulate all of Pixel but we’ve had people who say they’ve come to see the under floor airconditioning and, ask ‘how can we use that in our retrofit or in a new building’.”

It’s not so much that it’s new technology, but technology as “part of a suite.”

Pixel achieved a six star Green Star rating from the Green Building Council and  a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating from the US Green Building Council, of 105 points from a possible 110.

The four level building on the corner of Bouverie and Queensberry Streets outranked 44,000 buildings in 120 countries that have used the LEED rating, Grocon chief executive officer Daniel Grollo claimed at the time of the rating in March last year.

“Pixel has now surpassed all of them,” he said.

Shane Esmore, director of Umow Lai which was sustainability consultant on the building said the impact of Pixel would be felt on the design of other office buildings in Australia and globally.

Sustainability features include a building that is carbon neutral and water balanced,  wind turbines on the roof and fixed and tracking solar panels.

Architects were directors Dylan Brady and Dirk Zimmermann of studio505.

The Pixel sale was handled by CBRE agents Mark Wizel, Josh ­Rutman and Tom Tuxworth.