171 Collins Street

A commercial property in Melbourne has become the first “triple-crowned” building in Australia, achieving simultaneous 6-Star NABERS ratings for Energy, Indoor Environment and Waste.

The 171 Collins Street building, which is co-owned by Charter Hall Group and Cbus Property, had previously been widely recognised for its achievements in sustainability and waste management.

While the seven-year-old building was already 6-Star certified by NABERS for Waste and Indoor Environment, and its Energy rating only this year ticked up from a 5.5 to 6-Star, rounding out the Australian-first achievement. 

In 2019, it became the first office tower in Australia to achieve a 6-Star NABERS Waste rating, and it has since maintained at least a 75 per cent recycling rate.

The building holds a 5-Star NABERS Water rating and a 5-Star Green Star performance rating.

According to Cbus Property’s chief executive officer, Adrian Pozzo, the building which is the global headquarters of mining giant, BHP Billiton, was originally designed to meet a 5-Star Energy rating, however, recent developments had proven that performance could be continually improved over time. 

Charter Hall’s regional portfolio manager, Nicole Ward told The Fifth Estate that some of the ways 171 Collins Street achieved a higher NABERS rating were:

  • Getting the buildings cogeneration plant working reliably
  • Reviewing and optimising programming of the building automation systems
  • Proactively working with tenants regarding any mechanical leakage in the UFAD (Under Floor Air Distribution) that may be occurring due to fitouts – this was wasting energy as the plant was not operating effectively
  • Undertaking a super-clean of the buildings cooling towers, which has provided an estimated 12-15 per cent increase in efficiency and had a knock-on effect on energy consumption
Inside 171 Collins Street

The entire 33,000 square metre building is powered by renewable electricity through the City of Melbourne’s second Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP2).

The power purchase agreement brought together seven large energy users, including Cbus, to which Tango Energy committed to provide 110 GWh of renewable energy per year from wind farms in Victoria.

NABERS director, Carlos Flores said 171 Collins Street was leading the way for the commercial property industry.

“I had the fortune to visit 171 Collins in 2019, where I witnessed first-hand all the work the team was doing to simultaneously reach three different 6-Star NABERS ratings,” Mr Flores said.

“This raises the bar on how sustainable buildings can perform today, setting the tone for the kind of change we need to make progress on our climate goals throughout the next decade.”

3 replies on “Melbourne office building lands Aussie-first hat-trick of sustainability”

  1. Thrilling to read of this achievement thanks to the power of the performance benchmarks that are the heart of NABERS.

    Hearty congratulations indeed to all involved with this outcome at 171 Collins Street. At its inception it was decided that if Green Power was used the Green Power % was to be shown on the rating. Initially its use was very rare because efficiency made better financial sense.

  2. I think it is fabulous when buildings push the boundaries to the highest environmental standards that they can. So congratulations on the good work that has been done. However, I am wondering why the building claim is to be powered entirely on renewable energy but the NABERS rating states 0% GreenPower. Is it the case that the building isn’t powered on renewables and instead they are trading the renewables for someone else to retire the LGCs and be the genuine user? Or is it the case that the NABERS rating is letting the building down by not recognising the building’s renewables because it does not hold a GreenPower brand associated with the LGC generation and reitrement?
    I am also assuming that the renewable energy claim extends to the electricity only not the gas for heating and the cogen which is more like fossil fuel derived and carbon emitting… but I’d be keen for that to be clarified as well what percentage of energy comes from the gas vs electricity.
    Personally I’d be keen to see this information included in Fifth Estate articles so that we can better educate the readers and understand when a claim is Green or Greenwash.

    1. thank you Steve! As you know we rely on the industry to inform us as to what’s relevant so, let’s ask! And let’s hope there are more people asking questions.

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