Federation Square in Melbourne’s CBD is on track to be carbon neutral by the end of the year, its managers have announced.

The 3.2 hectare mixed-use development, which features galleries, restaurants, public space and event space, has reduced carbon output from 9456 tonnes in 2010 to just 804 tonnes in 2013, with the 2014 figure expected to be zero.

Fed Square chief executive Chris Brooks said it hadn’t been an easy achievement.

“Fed Square has faced a unique set of environmental challenges because it is a multifaceted precinct with major public events, complex infrastructure, cultural institutions, a range of commercial operations and an average of ten million visits a year,” he said.

However, the original design had helped the cause, particularly a 1.4 kilometre concrete labyrinth beneath the square that provides passive cooling to the Atrium, Deakin Edge and some public areas during summer, and helps supplement heating during winter. The system uses a tenth of the energy of a conventional HVAC system.

Other design features include double glazing, a sleep mode for escalators, variable speed drives on airconditioner pumps and a hermetic seal in The Ian Potter Centre that reduces airconditioning requirements by more than 50 per cent.

Since 2008, Fed Square’s environmental management plan has seen around 89 million litres of water saved, an increase in recycling of 73 per cent, 4.1 million kilowatts-hours of electricity saved and gas consumption reduced by over 12,000 gigajoules.

Sustainability initiatives enacted include:

  • Installation of water tanks
  • Upgrade works to the Cooling Towers to improve water efficiency
  • Installation of a rainwater filtration system in the Fed Square Car Park
  • Installation of waterless urinals and AAA showerheads
  • Implementation of commingle and paper recycling across the site
  • Introduction of organic recycling across the site with a bio-gas plant
  • Installation of thermal energy meters to monitor air conditioning usage
  • Installation of sensor lighting in key areas
  • Purchase of Green Energy for all events in The Square, Fed Square offices and the Fed Square Car Park
  • Tenant education and awareness of water efficient devices