Wollongong City Council’s Administration Building has become the first building in Australia to achieve a 5 Star Green Star – Performance rating.
Over the past 10 years, Council has introduced a range of building upgrades and management practices to improve the building’s sustainability performance, replacing ageing equipment to meet modern building compliance standards.
The building has seen energy efficiency gains of 55% and water efficiency gains of 85% thanks to a project started in 2014 to improve the building’s operational performance using the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star – Performance rating tool.
Council estimates that the energy efficiency gains alone in the building are saving $200,000 in electricity costs each year when compared to 2007-2008 consumption.
“This is not just about gaining financial sustainability but ensuring that we have an efficient building that will consume less water and electricity, reduce the waste it generates and emissions it releases and also provide an enjoyable and healthy workplace for our staff,” says Wollongong City Lord Mayor, Councillor Gordon Bradbery OAM.
The 13-story building has been occupied since June 1987 and houses 660 Council staff. Cr Bradberry notes the results demonstrate that it’s possible to gain a 5 Star Green Star rating with an ageing building if you use the right retrofit methods and programs.
“We have shown that this pathway to sustainability could be used by other local governments or government agencies. We have also shown that we can gain a rating comparable to brand spanking new buildings that are purpose-designed to achieve 5 or 6 Star Green Star ratings.”
Chief executive officer of GBCA, Romilly Madew, said: “This 5 Star Green Star rating represents ‘Australian Excellence’ in building performance. We applaud [Wollongong] Council for taking the lead to demonstrate that investing in older buildings can deliver dividends – both in terms of environmental sustainability and efficiency.
The Council is now developing a Sustainable Building Strategy which will guide how it improves the operational sustainability of existing buildings, in addition to how new buildings will be designed, constructed and operated.