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Darling Quarter

Sydney’s Darling Quarter embodies a new era of sustainable development. As the designer and developer of Darling Quarter, Lend Lease has leveraged the Green Star knowledge gained from its work on more than 50 Green Star certified projects to transform a forgotten corner of the CBD into a thriving mixed-use development, with the 6 Star Green Star – Office Design v2 and 6 Star Green Star – Office As Built v3-certified Commonwealth Bank Place as its striking centrepiece.

In a demonstration of how valued green building is becoming, Lend Lease’s Australian Chief Executive, Mark Menhinnitt, explains how collaboration between the property sector, government, and corporate Australia has resulted in the delivery of this ‘World Leadership’ sustainable project.

Through a shared vision, Australian Prime Property Fund (APPF) Commercial, Lend Lease, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority have added 58,000 square metres of Green Star-rated office space to the city, in addition to 3,000 square metres of retail area, a popular illuminated children’s playground with water features, youth theatre, interactive digital facade and community green.

“Lend Lease has transformed a previously under-utilised fringe CBD site into a dynamic destination for Sydney-siders and the broader community to enjoy, with access to valuable public amenities and iconic new spaces that will leave a powerful legacy for future generations,” says Menhinnitt.

From the very beginning, Green Star sustainability was the goal towards which all Darling Quarter stakeholders agreed to strive, and Green Star has added value to all involved by providing a recognised set of benchmarks and a method of measurement to underpin the design and delivery of the project, and increasing the value and demand for sustainable building assets in general.

“Achieving high environmental ratings reduces exposure to commercial risk and asset obsolescence by ensuring assets are ‘future-ready’. Without the ability to benchmark the sustainability performance of a new development, the value proposition for investment into sustainable practices is less attractive. Green Star has allowed us to articulate the sustainable performance of developments like Darling Quarter in a concise and transparent manner. This in turn, allows stakeholders to be confident that the finished building is of the highest possible environmental standards,” says John Dillon, Fund Manager of APPF Commercial, the owner of Darling Quarter.

Jennifer Saiz, Head of Group Property for the Commonwealth Bank couldn’t be happier with the bank’s new Green Star-certified headquarters, and says that the high-quality internal environment at Commonwealth Bank Place has supported her organisation’s transition to healthier and more efficient ways of working.

“It’s has been great to be able to provide a workplace that reinforces Commonwealth Bank’s commitment to our people, innovation and sustainability. Implementing activity-based working at Commonwealth Bank not only enhances our people’s ability to deliver great outcomes for our customers, but it is also a more sustainable way of working that reduces our impact on the environment and supports greater work life balance,” she says. “Our move to Commonwealth Bank Place has not only reduced our carbon footprint, but has also improved collaboration and productivity in our teams.”

What Darling Quarter Achieved 


Darling Quarter was awarded a Green Star ‘Innovation’ point after the project became the first to achieve a 6 Star Green Star – Office As Built certification under version 3 of the rating tool; after securing a 6 Star Design rating under version 2, the project team upgraded the As Built target rating to 6 Star Green Star under version 3. The decision was risky, as construction had already commenced, but worthwhile according to Cate Harris, Head of Sustainability at Lend Lease Australia.

“We considered that a version 3 rating would recognise the additional steps that we had already taken in the design phase to ‘future-proof’ the building, and would serve as a clear sign to the wider market that a 6 Star Green Star – As Built v3 rating could be achieved on a large-scale building,” she says. “As a result, Darling Quarter is the first building to achieve such a rating in Australia.”


Energy-efficient lighting and air conditioning, onsite energy production via tri-generation and extensive building tuning, have combined to ensure Commonwealth Bank Place produces 40 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a comparable 5 Star NABERS Energy-rated building. This equates to a 72 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when compared to a typical non-Green Star-rated office building in Australia.  

Now that the building is fully occupied, Lend Lease notes that the energy consumption for some uses, such as vertical transportation, is even lower than the original modelling anticipated. Lend Lease attributes this to the large floor plates of the building, coupled with the building’s occupancy by a single tenant and the interconnecting stairs which have reduced reliance on lifts. “The high-performance façade is also providing a significant benefit in minimising the energy consumption associated with the air conditioning systems,” says Harris.


The implementation of rainwater harvesting and onsite recycling systems at Darling Quarter will result in a 92 per cent reduction in annual potable water consumption - 52 million litres of water annually. This equates to more than 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools each year. Onsite blackwater treatment facilities are designed to treat and recycle 100 per cent of blackwater generated by Commonwealth Bank Place, and treats additional effluent from mains systems through sewer mining.

Designed by Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies, the blackwater system at Darling Quarter uses a dual fixed-film biological treatment process, involving a moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) in combination with a membrane bio reactor (MBR).

“As a means of future-proofing the development, it was important to increase the levels of water efficiency as much as possible,” says Jean-Christophe Schrotter, Technology & Innovation Manager at Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies. “The water systems at Commonwealth Bank Place improve upon the technological and efficiency achievements realised by any product or system on the market to date and will hedge the Commonwealth Bank of Australia against projected spikes in the price of water in the near future.”


The close relationship between Lend Lease, APPF Commercial and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia enabled a fully integrated fitout to be delivered in tandem with the base building works. “This allowed for the base building to be adapted prior to construction to satisfy tenant requirements and design aspirations. The integrated approach prevented significant amounts of material wastage that would normally occur in a traditional construction with a separate fitout,” Harris explains.

Harris believes that delivering Green Star-certified assets is becoming easier for developers, as the choice of ‘sustainable’ materials is increasingly synonymous with the selection of ‘quality’ materials. In the case of Darling Quarter, many of the materials required to meet the architectural and aesthetic aspirations of the development were directly aligned with those needed to achieve Green Star ‘Materials’ and ‘IEQ’ credit benchmarks. “An example of this is Darling Quarter’s façade, which was required for design purposes to have a very high visible light transparency (VLT). The high VLT of the façade allowed us to gain Green Star sustainability benefits through daylight availability to building occupants.”