Aurecon’s Melbourne fit-out showcases leading sustainability design and innovation
The building is situated at 850 Collins Street, Docklands, and houses approximately 600 of the company’s Melbourne staff. It has been hailed as a celebration of green-minded design and planning.
The fit-out project received a 6 Star Green Star Office – Interiors v1.1 rating during just one round of assessment from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), achieving 100% of its 77 targeted points.
It is one of only a handful country-wide (two of which the Aurecon Melbourne Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) team has delivered) to achieve a 6 star rating in just one round of assessment. In addition, this is also the first interiors project to achieve 100% of targeted points in a round one assessment.
The project was initially targeting a high 5 star rating, however the design team realised that they could target a 6 star rating at no additional capital cost. A 6 Star Green Star rating represents ‘World Leadership’ in environmentally sustainable building practices.
“Aurecon is a member of the Green Building Council of Australia, an organisation that promotes, encourages and facilitates green building in the Australian property and construction industries. We are committed to growing a sustainable business and this starts with making a concerted effort to ensure our own offices respond to the challenges that the world faces such as climate change and resource constraints.
The Melbourne office’s fit-out confirms our support of the Green Building Council of Australia’s efforts of transforming industry and confirms our commitment to promoting sustainable development within our clients’ industries as well as within our own buildings,” comments Peter Greaves, Aurecon Project Director.
Optimising electricity and water consumption
He goes on to say that sustainable buildings have operational benefits, including spending less on resources such as water and electricity as well as improved productivity and staff engagement.
Aurecon’s team provided base building and fit-out engineering services, including building services and structural, as well as civil, façades, acoustics and fire engineering design services. In 2012, the base building achieved a 5 Star Green Star Office v3 – Design rating, which was followed by a 5 Star Green Star Office v3 – As Built rating mid-2014. Some of the green building initiatives that lead to these achievements included reducing electricity as well as water consumption.
Reducing electricity consumption
Aurecon’s team designed an energy efficient façade that incorporates extensive external shading, high performance glazing, insulated wall panels and grey, double-glazed, low-e windows that trap heat on the surface and prevent it from radiating into the office. Electricity consumption is further reduced by maximising the amount of natural daylight that is brought into the building, thereby reducing the need for artificial lighting. Energy efficient cooling is being used in the building’s office centre thanks to in-row cooling with a hot-aisle and cold-aisle containment system.
Reducing water consumption
The amount of fresh water that the building consumes has been reduced through a number of measures including a rainwater harvesting system that collects, stores, treats and re-uses large quantities of rain from the roof of the building and surrounding surfaces. Fire test water is also used for toilet flushing. Efficient fixtures and fittings were also selected.
Delivering on enhanced occupant well-being
A core aspect of the new tenancy brief that lead to the 6 Star Green Star Office – Interiors v1.1 rating was to be able to realise a building with a great working environment and also deliver enhanced occupant well-being.
This has been recognised through the award of 1 point for a GBCA Innovation Challenge – ‘Market Intelligence and Research’.
This point recognises project teams that undertake a pre- and post-occupancy evaluation study of staff to measure overall impact on health, satisfaction and productivity between the old and new tenancy.
The fit-out comprises of 4.5 levels of office space spanning over levels 4 to 8 of the building. The 4.5 levels of office space equate to approximately 9 440 m2 Net Lettable Area. Aurecon’s fit-out achieved its goal of bringing to life the brand and business objectives – Leading. Vibrant. Global.
To ensure an engaging and interactive environment, all floors and communal spaces are centralised around the stairs, with a number of meeting environments. The different regions that Aurecon works in inspired the design and architecture of each floor, culminating in the global design of the client floor.
The fire engineered solution also allowed the installation of an open, interconnecting stair through the height of the building over five floors. The stairs and void lands within the communal and collaboration hubs on all floors to reinforce the company’s ‘One Aurecon’ values.
“The team put a lot of thought and planning into creating an engaging a culturally rich office space that both our staff and clients will enjoy working in. The layout and interior design enables interaction and collaboration across our various business units and areas of expertise. The smart technology and communal meeting spaces make it easy to brainstorm and foster an open, inviting work culture,” says Greaves.
Some of the key interior features include:
- An external terrace and outdoor working spaces
An external terrace overlooks one of Docklands’ parklands. The terrace is equipped with outdoor furniture and barbeque for staff enjoyment. The area has also been Wi-Fi enabled so that the terrace can be used as an outdoor working space.
- Natural ventilation and innovative air-conditioning
A ‘once-past-the-face’ air conditioning system was implemented in the building. This system eliminates the mixing of pollutants from office equipment, furniture and people that is common in traditional heating and cooling systems, thereby improving the indoor air quality. It also provides outdoor air ventilation at twice the code requirement and each person in the building has a floor grille located near their desk, which they can use to control their airflow and local climate.
Natural ventilation is also optimised thanks to perimeter opening windows in meeting rooms and open office areas. Larger meeting rooms have been equipped with energy efficient, multi-zone inverter type tenancy air conditioning systems.
- Smart technology
A range of smart technology has been incorporated into the interior design, including integrated security access and a lift call system where staff can use access cards to call lifts (which then predicts their desired destination); a meeting room booking system with interface screens at the entrance to all meeting rooms as well as user-friendly audio-visual and conference call technology – provided by a single cable solution – to all meeting rooms.
A range of AV and VC technologies have also been integrated into the environment enabling a collaborative approach through greater connectivity across the business to share expertise, knowledge and storytelling.
- Acoustic solutions
The Melbourne office has been fitted with extensive acoustic treatment and insulation in order to enhance aural privacy and occupant amenity.
- Sustainable furnishings
Office furniture and workstation materials with sustainable attributes and/or accreditations were selected.
“Sustainable design and development is a long-term commitment and it includes far more than choosing sustainable building materials, reducing electricity costs and high tech engineering. People flourish when they are placed in a comfortable and stimulating environment, so focusing on green-minded design and enhancing the lives of building occupants needs to be planned for in order to achieve truly sustainable buildings,” comments Greaves.