In the first part of this article, I looked at the Australian pipe manufacturer Vinidex. In this portion, part 2 of 3, the focus is on the 60L Green Building in Melbourne. Using a combination of unique utility tactics, the project set a precedent not only for building ventures Down Under, but the world over. Read on to find out how the 60L Building was completed and what environmental and empolyee benefits were gained. Perhaps it will give you some green building ideas of your own.
Case Study #1: the 60L Green Building
Australia’s most sustainable commercial building launched in Melbourne in the spring of 2002. Several companies, including the Australian Conservation Foundation, operated with the Green Building Partnership to create the 60L Green Building. The project involved the conversion of an existing three-storey brick, timber and concrete office building. The resulting structure is expected to use only one-third of the power needed to run a traditional office building of the same size.
How was this achieved?
- Lighting – The company is designed around a central atrium that brings sunlight right down through the middle of the building which reduces the need for electricity lights. The building can also be actively ventilated. The system changes from passive to active mode when the outdoor temperature goes below 19 degrees or above 26 degree Celsius.
- Water – The water used in the building is collected from rain on the roof which then gets filtered and treated on-site. The rest of the water then gets recycled by the building’s own biological operations, before being used to flush toilets and irrigate the rooftop garden and landscape features. The water system works even when the sun doesn’t shine. The company also has electrical backup which guarantees that hot water is always available to its staff members and employees.
- Power – All electricity used in the Green Building is generated by natural energy such as wind or solar. Sixty-four solar photovoltaic modules on the roof catch the sun’s rays to supply the building’s electricity needs. At times when the electricity is not in use, the photovoltaic array releases green power back into the electricity grid for others to use.
- Building materials – The construction of the building was carefully selected to minimise the amount of energy embedded within the building. Materials from the existed building consisted of bricks, glass, panels, timber and doors were re-used and most of the pipes are made from high density polyethylene.
What are the benefits for employees?
The Australian Conservation Foundation relocated its national headquarters to the building in 2002. Since their relocation, their employees have benefited from the light, airy and healthy working environment. In addition to the building design, the new location also provides for better access to public transport increasing its environmental value.
Come back soon for the third and final part of this series.
Thanh Loan Nguyen is an Australasian with Bachelor’s degree in communications, though she majored in politics. Her interests include all aspects of the entertainment industries, society and culture, reading and writing, international relations and politics.