Industrial projects show why it’s getting easier to be green

Monday, 05 November, 2012

The first two Green Star - As Built ratings for industrial facilities are proof that industrial facilities can be truly sustainable, according to the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

The Metcash Distribution Centre in NSW, developed by Goodman Group, is the first distribution centre to be awarded a 4 Star rating under the Green Star - Industrial As Built v1 rating tool.

The Sherwood Road Bus Depot, developed by Commercial & Industrial Property (CIP), championed by the Brisbane City Council and owned by Telstra Super, has been awarded a 5 Star Green Star - Industrial As Built v1 rating, and is also the first of its kind to be granted this rating.

“Both the Metcash Distribution Centre and Sherwood Road Bus Depot are landmark Green Star projects, with their certification proving that sustainable construction in the industrial market is achievable,” said Chief Executive of the GBCA Romilly Madew.

“Sustainability can be a simple way to deliver cost savings in the industrial sector. Operating from a Green Star-rated industrial facility has the potential to increase efficiencies, cut costs and reduce carbon emissions, not to mention reduce worker injuries and boost employee satisfaction and performance,” Madew added.

The Metcash Distribution Centre incorporates more than 77,000 m2 of ambient and temperature-controlled warehouse storage areas and 5500 m2 of A-grade corporate office space.

The building features energy-efficient lighting which will reduce energy consumption by around 30% and save more than 2800 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Up to 300,000 litres of rainwater per year will be captured from the warehouse’s roof before being recycled for landscape irrigation, toilet flushing, cooling towers and truck washing. A Green Star ‘Innovation’ point was awarded for the materials efficiencies achieved through using a jointless steel fibre reinforced concrete in for the warehouse floor slab, which reduced the amount of concrete needed by 16% and the amount of steel needed by 40%.

“The building’s energy-efficiency initiatives alone are generating ongoing operational cost savings of 30% when compared to a standard warehouse facility,” said James Vesper, Head of Sustainability at Goodman Group.

Goodman Group was the Platinum Sponsor of the Green Star - Industrial rating tool, and has achieved three certified Green Star - Design ratings for industrial facilities, with a number of other projects registered to achieve ratings.

“We believe this project is representative of a shift in thinking about the value proposition of sustainability and certification within the industrial sector. Sustainability was a top consideration across all aspects of the Metcash development. The delivered outcome is commercially competitive and aims to provide Metcash with a market advantage,” Vesper said.

Silvestro Morabito, Chief Operating Officer of Metcash, said, “The Metcash grocery distribution centre in Western Sydney achieves four key measures of sustainability - benefits in running costs, individual employee benefits, improved organisational culture and environmental benefits. We are really pleased with the Green Star rating, which signifies that the distribution centre represents best practice in environmentally sustainable design. It will offer ongoing environmental and cost efficiencies, while also fostering a sense of pride and a culture of innovation.”

The Sherwood Road Bus Depot achieved its 5 Star Green Star - Industrial As Built v1 rating for a range of initiatives, including light-filled offices, breakout areas and workshops and excellent passive design, as well as natural ventilation that makes the most of the Queensland climate. The project was also recognised for its site water collection, re-use and management strategy that treats stormwater through a biofiltration system which then provides most of the depot’s non-potable water demand.

The Brisbane City Council was committed to capturing the benefits of a Green Star-rated building when engaging development, design and construction company CIP to develop “a low-impact and environmentally sustainable facility employing the latest technology and design innovations” at Sherwood. CIP Managing Director Paul McKenna said, “Sustainability is a core focus of our team and a significant point of difference in our market sector. We are committed to achieving the best environmental outcome for our clients, and in doing so we have found more often than not a sustainable outcome will also deliver a commercial edge due to the cost savings afforded by energy efficiency.”

“Telstra Super was attracted to this development because it supports a progressive and sustainable approach to transport infrastructure and offers long-term value for all parties involved,” said Telstra Super Chairman David Leggo, who also chairs the fund’s investment committee. “We are proud to align ourselves with this state-of-the-art facility, which is not only a quality addition to our property portfolio but also an important part of the city’s growing infrastructure.”

Particularly notable achievements include the recycling of more than 90% of waste generated throughout construction and demolition, a 50% abatement in greenhouse gas emissions as compared to benchmark projects, a 35% net reduction (by mass) of structural steel while conserving structural integrity and the use of concrete with an overall average cement reduction of 46% through the replacement of Portland cement with industrial by-products such as fly ash and granulated blast furnace slag.

“Achieving a Green Star - As Built rating requires a project team to physically deliver what was promised during the design phase,” said the sustainability consultant on the project, Umow Lai’s Lizzie Adams. “We needed to be incredibly diligent and demonstrate that everything, right down to the last can of paint, was sustainable.”

“Both the Metcash Distribution Centre and the Sherwood Road Bus Depot are examples of high-performance industrial facilities that are comfortable, cost-effective, productive and environmentally sustainable. These projects demonstrate that it is getting easier to be green,” Madew said.

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