The Ark – Investa’s first 6 star Green Star building

CASE STUDY – 19 October 2009 – If there has been a softening of commitment to high quality green buildings during the recent financial crisis, there is no evidence of this happening with Investa’s latest green showcase, The Ark, in North Sydney.

The building is the first six star Green Star building Investa has developed and leased.  Construction will be complete in early 2010.

Located at 40 Mount Street, The Ark will soon become a striking new landmark on the North Sydney skyline, on the site of what was one of Sydney’s earliest telephone exchanges, adjacent to North Sydney post office.

Over the next few months the Rice Daubney designed building will be revealed. Delicate glass wings will jut out from the façade, but the design is not just for looks.  The windows on three sides and a side-located service core offer maximum floorplate flexibility.

General manager developments for Investa, Tina Tang, says “The design will make this a great working space, with outdoor areas and a grand welcoming foyer.  We will also be unveiling some highly original public art at street level, which we have been working on with a curator for some time. This will engage tenants and pedestrians alike and create a strong connection to the history of the area.”

North Sydney is a prime fringe CBD location in a vibrant business district, and The Ark adds 28,500 square metres of lettable commercial space to the precinct.

Achieving Six star Green Star for Design

The Ark has been awarded a 6 Star Green Star – Office Design v2 Certified Rating, which represents “World Leadership” in environmentally sustainable design.  It has also been designed to achieve a 5 Star NABERS energy rating.

Cundall was the ESD consultant appointed to deliver the green star rating. It also conducted the energy modelling for the 5 star NABERS rating, the  facade thermal analysis and a number of other elements of the design.

Cundall also developed the energy efficiency guidelines to the tenancies.

Sustainable features include:

  • Water – a grey water recycling system which collects water from the facades and balconies to a 20,000 litre tank for flushing toilets.
  • Energy – a tri-generation plant has been installed.  This works with a 750kva gas-fired generator system for the production of building power supply. The system is also an integral part of the building services where the tri-generation plant output heating cooling loads provide energy to the mechanical system.
  • Lighting – T5 lighting is standard.  This is a smaller than usual fluorescent tube which reduces energy use and provides a natural day-like light.  The lighting is designed to meet a 400 lux level. Floors are zoned into small areas, with lighting activated by the sophisticated DALI lighting control system ensuring unoccupied space remains unlit.
  • Windows – on three sides and a side core also allow maximum natural light penetration to the workspace.
  • Cars – in the car park there are charging bays for hybrid/electric cars, which means these cars can be charged using energy generated by the tri-generation plant, and be fully charged while the driver is in the building. This reduces petrol consumption for hybrid cars and reduces reliance on the grid for electric charging. A building-based car pooling scheme is planned, so tenants can book and use cars from the basement, thus reducing the requirement for individual cars.
  • Bikes – facilities for bicycle commuting and exercisers will be installed including racks for 228 bikes, 196 half lockers and 20 showers in the change rooms, plus a shower on each office level.
  • Building Management – a 3D Building Information Model (BIM) which combines all of the design as-built information about the architecture, services and fit outs in the building. This allows for both efficient construction and operation and is leading technology in the industry.


In one of Sydney’s largest leasing deals this year, Vodafone Hutchison Australia signed for 11,000 sq m in The Ark, for Floors 2-7 for 10 years with option periods.  Coca Cola Australia also leased 10,500 sq m.

According to Tina Tang, these leasing deals are a stand out achievement in the economic climate of the past 12 months and reinforces Investa’s belief that there will always be a market for quality product.

“Because the Ark will be the only large new commercial space in North Sydney until at least 2012 we made sure it ticked all the boxes for a bluechip company,” Tang said.

“The flexibility and amenity on each working floor were designed to attract the best tenants.

“It’s the details which make the difference. Not immediately obvious are the environmental features and advanced technology only available in the most contemporary of buildings”.

The Green Lease
Investa recently launched The Green Lease which was available to tenants of the Ark.

This product allows a tenant to choose a sustainable workplace and to manage and monitor and report on their own property greenhouse emissions.

Tenants and their employees can run energy and water efficiency programs, they can implement waste management programs and they can use the Green Lease as an employee engagement tool.

A Green Lease prompts workplace behaviour change as well as applying technical solutions to enable companies to reduce their carbon footprint and enjoy a high quality work environment, according to Investa.

Investa believes the Green Lease is unique in Australia and can be offered because of the large range of commercial accommodation types Investa manages.  Additionally, Investa’s property management systems means it has forensic knowledge about the performance of each asset down to the smallest of variables.

Investa believes that companies that succeed in creating an environmentally friendly workplace gain a brand edge and a smaller carbon footprint.

Public Art

On completion, the Ark will unveil some highly original public art which Investa has been working on with curator Barbara Flynn for some time. A dramatic painted entrance ceiling by indigenous artist Freddie Timms will welcome people to the building.

At street level a sculpture by Hany Armanious in collaboration with Mary Teague at street level, is intended to engage tenants and pedestrians alike and create a strong connection to the history of the area.

On the site of the old North Sydney telephone exchange, this specially commissioned work will reflect the site’s history in an imaginative way.

Developer: Investa Property Group
Rice Daubney
Theiss Constructions
ESD consultant:
Structural design:
Taylor Thompson Whiting
Life design:
Norman Disney Young
28,500 sq mA Grade office space
Construction Start: July 2008
Completion: May 2010
Workers on Site:
300 at peak

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