Walker Corporation has swallowed the cost of going all-electric in its new Adelaide office building, but as always the Master Chefs are holding us back from turning the gas off for good

While the new 27-storey building, due to start construction in October, will be Adelaide’s “tallest all-electric office”, down below retail tenants will still be able to use gas for cooking, if they want.

It may be a small price to pay, however, with the rest of the office tower plugging into Adelaide’s nation-leading supply of renewable energy for all its heating, cooling, hot water and other power needs. 

This week the company appointed construction giant Built, to deliver the new $1 billion Festival Tower, located in Adelaide’s city centre overlooking the River Torrens. The companies recently co-delivered four acclaimed commercial buildings at Sydney’s Parramatta Square.

“We’ve fine tuned Festival Tower with our customers front of mind and we are excited to award Built the building contract to begin construction of what is set to become a landmark tower,” Walker Corporation executive chairman Lang Walker said in an official statement.

The building is targeting ratings of 6 Star Green Star and 5.5 Star NABERs as well as Gold WELL certification. 

Instead of the typical gas-power, it will use a heat pump hot water system and reverse cycle chillers with heat recovery capabilities for extra efficiency, to warm the building during winter. 

The heat pumps in particular come at a higher upfront cost than gas systems, the company says, but it expects the investment to pay off not only for the environment, but as “the price of fossil fuel power inevitably increases”.

Retaining gas for tenants on the ground floor retail space was a strategic decision intended to attract interest from Adelaide’s most renowned local bars and restaurants. 

Built managing director and chief executive officer Brett Mason said the project would further promote Adelaide as a leader in green buildings.

“We’re excited to…continue our commitment to green building practices to deliver a project which sets the standard for sustainable and future-thinking buildings that take advantage of renewable energy, to be carbon neutral from day one and address the growing impact of climate change,” he said. 

Construction will continue throughout the pandemic and beyond, with major tenant fit-outs expected to commence in August 2022 with the building set for completion in November 2023.

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  1. So Adelaide is still building commercial office buildings in the parklands? When all the commercial demand is around Grenfell Street? Madness, however sustainable it claims to be – and how full glazing facing east and west can ever be “sustainable” in Adelaide’s climate is beyond me.