New sustainability standard set for heritage buildings

Friday, 08 February, 2008

A NSW government project has set a benchmark for environmental sustainability in heritage buildings, according to Planning Minister Frank Sartor.

The former Bushells warehouse at 88 George Street has been rated Australia’s most sustainably designed state heritage-listed office building, following a $7 million NSW government refurbishment project.

The Green Building Council of Australia has awarded the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority project a 5-star Green Star Office Design rating.

“The Rocks is the birthplace of Sydney with a rich and important history, so it is fitting that the precinct should also lead the way to a healthy, environmentally sustainable future,” Sartor said.

“This project sets an important benchmark for the adaptive re-use of heritage buildings across the country. It demonstrates that it is possible to retain heritage significance, but also deliver a contemporary and highly sustainable building.

“When the project began, the NSW government set out to achieve an Australian excellence rating by combining the best in green building design with an innovative approach to features such as air conditioning.

“We have achieved this and delivered what will be a healthy workplace which maximises daylight and fresh air and reduces energy and water use, as well as cuts greenhouse gas emissions.”

The key sustainable design features of the building include:

  • Air conditioning which will use the harbour to cool the building, eliminating the need for conventional rooftop cooling towers and cutting water use and greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Windows that open to let in the sea breeze and allow the air conditioning to be turned off;
  • Water- and energy-efficient fixtures and individual metering on every floor to let occupants better manage consumption; and
  • Cycling facilities with showers, change rooms and storage.

These measures are expected to annually cut carbon dioxide emissions by around 136 tonnes — equal to taking at least 30 cars off the road — and achieve water savings of more than 3.8 million litres — or one and a half olympic-sized swimming pools.

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