11 months ago

Climate Action 2012-2013

Left: 500 Collins

Left: 500 Collins Street, the first office building in Australia to achieve a Green Star rating THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT Below: Council House 2, a six Green Star certified office building for ecologically sustainable design in Melbourne seven years. “Retrofitting London is a winwin,” Johnson has said. “Not only does it make perfect economic and common sense by cutting energy costs, but it also reduces carbon emissions and stimulates the capital’s burgeoning low carbon economy, creating jobs and boosting skills.” In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency is running a ‘Battle of the Buildings’ in which 245 facilities compete to save the most on their utility bills through energy efficiency improvements. Over the border in Canada, the Better Buildings Partnership in Toronto has brought together building owners, managers and tenants to work on 1,896 energy efficiency projects. The combined energy saving is estimated at C$55 million annually. Impressively, the City of Toronto estimates the programme has created more than 80,000 jobs. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a consortium of some “WBCSD has laid out a roadmap for a transformation of the sector to reduce energy use.” of the world’s leading companies, has laid out a roadmap for a transformation of the sector to reduce energy use in buildings by 80 per cent by 2050. The WorldGBC is partnering with the WBCSD on the next phase of this Energy Efficiency in Buildings initiative, which will harness the knowledge of the private sector to create a replicable process for widespread implementation of energy efficiency. A GREEN GOLD RUSH In Australia, two-thirds of Melbourne’s commercial buildings are receiving sustainable 104

THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT makeovers, with the ‘1200 Buildings’ programme aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 380,000 tonnes a year. Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has said the programme would bring a “green gold rush” by generating around A$1.3 billion in economic activity and around 800 ‘green collar’ jobs. The 16 corporations who are signatories to the programme manage 30 buildings between them, and have committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 38 per cent. They plan to introduce a range of energy-saving technologies, from easy options such as lighting and natural ventilation, through to energy cogeneration systems, cooling towers and computerised building monitoring systems. One of the signatories of the 1200 Buildings programme, Kador Group, has achieved an impressive result with its green retrofit of 500 Collins Street in Melbourne. Built in 1970, 500 Collins Street was the first refurbishment of a central business district commercial building to achieve a Green Star certification. The Kador Group commenced the progressive green renovation in 2006, achieving a 5 Star Green Star – Office v1 rating from the Green Building Council of Australia. A range of environmental features were integrated into the renovation, including chilled beam air conditioning, energy efficient T5 light fittings and solar panels. As a result, the retrofit has delivered a 30 per cent saving in air-conditioning energy, a 50 per cent saving in energy from lighting and a further 15 per cent saving in energy from hot water. A pre- and post-occupancy study found that the refurbished office delivered a 39 per cent reduction in average sick leave and a 44 per cent reduction in the monthly average cost of sick leave. Even more surprising, the new green office boosted typing speeds of secretaries by nine per cent and lawyers’ billing ratios by seven per cent, despite a 12 per cent decline in the average monthly hours worked. The evidence clearly suggests that, alongside the direct utility savings and job creation, green buildings can improve the health and well-being of occupants, enhance productivity, reduce staff turnover, reduce patient hospitalisation time, and even enhance student achievement in green schools. Both the direct and indirect cost savings “Alongside the direct utility savings and job creation, green buildings can improve the health and well-being of occupants.” of integrated green building strategies are real and significant. So, what can local governments do to capitalise on the green retrofit movement? While not every city can be part of the C40 initiative, governments at the city level can take a leadership position by implementing green retrofitting programmes for their own buildings, and achieving green ratings for every project. Communicating successes and challenges, and providing case studies, can help the business and broader community to understand why investing in their own buildings can deliver the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. “The direct and indirect cost savings of integrated green building strategies are real and significant.” Jane Henley is the Chief Executive Officer of the World Green Building Council, a role she assumed in February 2010. Jane is committed to driving market transformation that is underpinned by sound economic practices that simultaneously deliver financial, social and environmental benefits. The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) is a coalition of more than 90 national green building councils, making it the largest international organisation influencing the green building marketplace. The WorldGBC’s mission is to facilitate the global transformation of the building industry towards sustainability through market driven mechanisms. 105