UPDATED 23 December 2015: Specialist engineering firm Floth Sustainable Building Consultants is believed to be the first company is Australia to meet the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council’s zero carbon building standard definition for its head office at Fortitude Valley in Brisbane.

The 1000 square metre building, designed by Mondo Architects,  has also achieved 83.3 points to achieve a 6 star Green Star Design & As Built v1.1 certified rating, the highest awarded by GBCA and representing world leadership in sustainable design and construction, Floth said in a statement.

Features in the building include:

  • roof-mounted solar
  • green trellis walls
  • rainwater harvesting
  • occupancy- and daylight-controlled direct-indirect LED lighting systems
  • heat recovery variable refrigerant flow airconditioning systems
  • variable air volume systems

Anthony Marklund, principal at Floth Environmentally Sustainable Design, said a number of sustainable features were integrated into the build that contributed to Floth’s high score.

He said: “Our modelling shows that a 53 per cent reduction in operational carbon emissions is predicted from façade and building services improvements, with a roof-mounted solar photovoltaic system achieving a further 13 per cent reduction.

“To ensure the building’s zero carbon requirements are met, 100 per cent accredited green power has been purchased from Origin, which will also effectively see the building tenant’s fitouts be zero carbon in operation.

“The electricity generated by the solar photovoltaic system will more than offset the additional operational costs of the green power, making this an exceptionally cost-effective design solution.”

ASBEC executive officer Suzanne Toumbourou commended Floth for having “the first project that has formally and publicly adopted this standard”.

UPDATE: She told The Fifth Estate the standard definition was produced in a report in 2011, Defining Zero Emissions Buildings in response to industry confusion over the meaning of the term and its application, and she stressed it was not a rating.

The GBCA announced at the COP21 Buildings Day in Paris that it was working on a new standard for buildings that achieve net zero impact in energy, carbon and water.

Romilly Madew, chief executive officer of GBCA, added: “Achieving the first 6 Star Green Star – Design & As Built v1.1 rating in Australia paves the way for the rest of the industry.

“We congratulate the Floth team for its green leadership.”

Floth said it would now seek to gain a US Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating for the project.