Comparison Of Two Green Office Buildings In Melbourne Construction Essay

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Council house (CH2) building is found on found on Little Collins Street, Melbourne in Victoria 3000. It has 10 storeys which accommodate about 540 staff from the City of Melbourne. There is underground parking at 218-242 Little Collins Street. The gross floor area is 12536 square meters. Out of this there is typical floor of 1064m2 within the ground floor area, 500m2 of net letable area 9373m2 of total letable area and 1955m2 of ground floor area basement areas. In addition bike spaces, 9 showers for cyclists and 20 car spaces.The car park is easily convertible into office space or for any other use. Its doors were opened in August 2006.

Figure 1:A picture of the CH2 building Figure2:The green roof of the building

The cost of the building is estimated to be $51 045 but inclusive of other expenses like professional fees, upgrade to other buildings, road work, art costs, landscaping, relocation, fit out among others in the whole project it comes to $77.14.

The building brings about benefits like increase in its productivity; reduced staff turn over rates and reduced absenteeism among the staff. A 4.9 productivity increase is can be attained by the air conditioning in the building by reducing sick leave. This can enable Melbourne city to spare $1.12 million every year. Estimations further state that within 10 years the sustainability features could pay for themselves. Infrastructure and public domain will incur lesser costs; there will be effectiveness in work and healthier staff. The building was awarded six green stars for it being a world leader in the design of office buildings. Some of the things the green star rating system uses for evaluation are water efficiency, energy, conservation of resources and the quality of the inside environment. In 2008, a report for the evaluation of the post occupancy of the first year of operation showed that the building will be able to pay for itself within 7 years. Initially it was planned to do this in 10 years.

Figure 3 above shows air movement in the building

This report was conducted by Adrian Leaman from the UK looks at how the users of the building perceive their surroundings. The evaluation exercise showed that staff was present in good numbers to participate. They gave a rating of above average to 8 of the 10 major variables. These variables were overall comfort, image, health, air in winter and summer, temperature in summer and winter, noise, perceived productivity, design, needs and lighting overall. From the original CH1 results there is a 10.9% increase. The overall performance of the building was at 87th percentile whereas the building was ranked at 78th percentile for satisfaction and 59th percentile for comfort; . The technology employed in the design and construction was aimed at environmental and ecological sustainability. In its entire 10 storey, sustainable technology has been incorporated.

There exists a plant for mining water in the basement, phase change materials used for cooling, night purge windows operating automatically, wavy ceilings made of concrete, a faced of louvers powered by photo-voltaic cells which make use of solar energy and pot plant holders that are newly designed. Nevertheless, many of the principles applied are not new. However, the use of thermal mass in cooling and plants to do light filtration had not been used before in such a smart way in offices.

Figure 4 above shows the energy flow system in CH2 building

Approximately 100,000 liters of black water from the toilets is taken from the little Collins Street sewer each day. The sewage goes through a multi water treatment plant which filters the water and the solids are taken back to the sewer. A micro filtration system is used to treat the water to make clean water for all purposes other than drinking. Part of the water is used in cooling, watering plants and flushing toilets at Council House. More water saving is done from rain water and the fire safety sprinkler system; Saman, W, (1996).

The 60L Building

The Green Building Partnership is behind the development of the 60L building on 60-66 Leicester Street Carlton, in Melbourne. It is a project that is developing an already existing ware house and building. The Australian Conservation Foundation is a major tenant on the building since its headquarters will be there. The project brings together in collaboration the Green projects Pty limited and the ethical investment companies of Surrowee Pty limited. It has feature like brick walls that are exposed among others and it is famous for its social sustainability through involving and empowering its tenants by putting them in its management by an environmental system of information and green leases.

Figure 5: A picture of the 60L building in Melbourne

The materials used to make the building were obtained from the original building which had only a part of it dismantled. Things that were re-used include bricks, planking, floor joists and glazed partitions together with the remaining section of the old structure. Concrete obtained from other buildings was crushed to make the 60% aggregate that served as concrete. Door frames and wooden windows, carpets and reinforcing steel were made from recycled materials. The use of toxic materials such as glues, fillers, sealants and glues were avoided. In case of a need for new materials recycled products such as bricks, steel, timber and copper were preferred.

Figure 6 above shows the annual electrical energy consumption

Yearly energy savings are expected to be 65% and over. Lighting electrical energy has been cut down by over 80% and 60% for cooling and heating, ventilation and equipment. Yearly Carbon dioxide emissions have dropped by 100% through utilization of non fossil fuel electricity;. The consumption of water every year has been reduced by over 60% by fixtures that use water efficiently. Collection of rainwater is done and over 500 kilolitres are collected in every average year of rainfall.

Figure 7 above shows the annual average mains water consumption in kilolitres

This water is meant for taps and showers. Sewage and waste water is treated on the site by organic means and re used in flashing toilets and irrigation. Total average savings in water use annually are expected to be over 90%. The 60L provides 3375 m2 of floor space to let having 960m2 of floor plans. Retail tenants and commercial enterprises occupy this space. The present technology was combined in many different new ways in order to lessen the negative impact of the building on the environment. However technology with current commercial viability has been emphasized to increase the working environment’s productivity through minimization of the production of unwanted organic compounds.

Figure 8 above shows office natural ventilation and natural lighting.

Conclusion

Both the 60L and Council House buildings are termed as green city buildings whose design and operation is conscious of environmental and ecological sustainability. The materials and technology used ensure that there is little or no negative impact on the environment. This is achieved through conservation activities of water, energy, air and recycling of wastes. 60L is made principally of recycled materials like timber and bricks. Huge savings for the building and the city as a whole are already being realized from these designs.

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