ACT leads way in green infrastructure

ANU's Frank Fenner Building and the Abode Woden hotel were recognised as advanced green building projects.

The Australian Capital Territory is scoring points in green infrastructure and development, with recognition given to the ACT’s most advanced green building and the territory’s first ever Green Star rated hotel.

The Frank Fenner Building at the Australian National University (ANU) is the first building in the ACT to achieve both 6 Star Green Star Office Design and As-Built v3 ratings from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

The university building, completed by property and construction company Hindmarsh in 2011, was officially marked at a special ceremony last month, attended by ACT Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development Simon Corbell, ANU vice-chancellor professor Ian Young AO, as well as Hindmarsh and GBCA representatives.

GBCA’s chief executive, Romilly Madew, added that “a Green Star ‘Design’ rating requires a commitment to innovation and a holistic approach to green building design.”

“Hindmarsh is to be congratulated for being the first project team to achieve World Leadership status for construction in Round one of the Green Star submission process,” Ms Madew added.

World leadership

Housing the Fenner School of Environment and Society, a school dedicated to integrated environmental research and training, the project is part of the $240 million ANU College of Sciences Precinct completed in 2013.

A photovoltaic system installed on the roof generates up to 43,800kWh of electricity annually; motion sensors and daylight dimming reduces the lighting energy consumption, while a black-water recycling system captures all waste water.

In a statement released by Hindmarsh, the 6 Star Green Star As Built rating achievement represents ‘World Leadership’ in sustainable construction, and Hindmarsh state manager construction ACT David Colbertaldo said Hindmarsh has forged a long term partnership with the ANU.

“Hindmarsh is proud to have delivered a project that stands at the forefront of environmental performance in a national and international context. Our long term partnership with the ANU has seen the creation of numerous innovative educational and research facilities that help position the university among the world’s leading institutions,” said Colbertaldo.

First Green Star hotel

Abode Woden, an adaptive reuse project developed by Canberra-based company GEOCON, is on track to achieve Australia’s first Green Star rating for a hotel.

The project has registered to achieve a Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) after opening its doors in September 2013.

The GBCA described the hotel as “an inspiring example of how older buildings can be updated into modern, sustainable spaces,” when referring to GEOCON’s work transforming the deserted 1970s commercial building into a fresh, modern hotel.

“Many hotels make claims of being green, but Abode – The Apartment Hotel is on track to be the first brand – and Abode Woden the first hotel – to achieve the third-party tick of approval for its sustainability,” said Nick Georgalis, managing director of GEOCON.

“We understand that truly sustainable practices can deliver dividends – from reduced operating costs and higher profit margins, to improved staff productivity and brand equity. Achieving a Green Star rating just makes good business sense.”

GEOCON collaborated with the GBCA to identify best practice benchmarks for sustainable hotel developments, resulting in a new Green Star – Custom rating tool exclusively used by GEOCON.

“Hotels previously fell outside the scope of the Green Star rating system, so we worked together to create a custom-built Green Star rating tool which enables Abode… to join the league of Green Star leaders,” said the GBCA’s chief executive, Romilly Madew.

“We applaud GEOCON’s leadership in creating higher benchmarks for sustainability in the hotel industry, and we look forward to seeing more hotels following this lead,” she added.

The GBCA has recently released a scoping paper for the new Green Star Design & As Built rating tool in an effort to reduce the cost of certification while encouraging innovation and leadership in delivering sustainable built environment outcomes. The paper will involve a feedback period, open until 31 July 2014.