Wollongong City Council’s administration building

15 April 2014 — Wollongong City Council’s Administration Building will become one of the first existing buildings to receive a Green Star – Performance rating.

It was announced last week that the 13-storey office had registered for the new Performance rating, which allows existing buildings to assess performance against best-practice benchmarks on energy, water and resource efficiency, and structure a path towards more sustainable operation.

The building joins Chatswood Chase, which was recently announced as the first Performance shopping centre, and, according to the Green Star project directory, the HSBC Centre in Sydney and NAB’s offices at Docklands, Melbourne.

“It is important that Council aims high for its first community aspiration: we value and protect our environment,” said Wollongong City Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery.

“We recognise that Council needs to set the benchmark. If we are able to have the ecological footprint of Council’s main building assessed then we can help other businesses and retailers also chart a course for sustainability.”

The council has already implemented a range of building upgrades over the past 10 years, including the installation of rainwater harvesting, dual flush toilets, low water urinals, low flow taps and sensor taps in public areas, a new heating ventilation and airconditioning system, heat reflective blinds and lighting upgrades.

These initiatives have reduced energy consumption by around 35 per cent and water consumption by around 50 per cent over the 2008/09 baseline year.

According to Wollongong Council’s environmental sustainability officer Dr Carl Hopley, benchmarks have not previously been able to be set, though, due to council assets’ “unique operations”.

“However, the new Green Star – Performance rating tool will enable Council to establish a holistic understanding of the building’s operational and environmental performance,” Dr Hopley said.

Green Building Council of Australia chief executive Romilly Madew said local governments had a financial responsibility to ensure their assets represented value for money for ratepayers.

“A Green Star – Performance rating sends a clear message to the community that Wollongong City Council is committed to ensuring its buildings are efficient, productive and sustainable.”