Australia's largest green CBD commercial refurbishment

A 30-year-old 28-level multi-tenanted building in Melbourne's CBD has achieved a 5 Star Green Star Certified Rating for the design of its staged refurbishment - making it the first refurbishment of a CBD commercial building to achieve Green Star certification.

Kador Group's 500 Collins Street office building is being progressively upgraded over a number of years while the building remains tenanted - posing a major challenge for the whole project team.

But the preliminary results of a productivity study of the building's occupants pre- and post- refurbishment indicate a real green dividend is already being paid through productivity gains.

"The Green Building Council of Australia congratulates the Kador Group on achieving a 5 Star Green Star - Office Design v1 Certified Rating for its refurbishment of 500 Collins Street," said Green Building Council Chief Executive, Romilly Madew.

"This project is the first refurbishment of a CBD commercial building to achieve Green Star certification, and we hope it will pave the way for the green refurbishment of many more commercial office buildings around the country. And it is the first time a green refurbishment of this nature has been undertaken with tenants in place.

"We also congratulate the Kador Group and Sustainability Victoria for undertaking a productivity study which will provide valuable research on productivity gains in an Australian context."

Kador Group Managing Director, Carolyn Parker, said the company was committed to an environmental upgrade of the building from the time the property was purchased in 2002.

"Our refurbishment plans for 500 Collins Street demonstrate to the marketplace that old building stock can be refurbished to achieve a standard of Australian Excellence, as recognised through the 5 Star Green Star Certified Rating," Ms Parker said.

"In fact most of our 'green' initiatives are ideally suited to refurbishment projects. For instance, the chilled beam air conditioning not only increases fresh air quantities, reduces energy consumption and improves occupant health and comfort, but it is also ideal for existing buildings with limited ceiling space."

The productivity study, co-funded by Sustainability Victoria involves monitoring existing tenants who have moved into upgraded space.

Preliminary results indicate significant improvement in air quality, temperature, and office ambience.

Staff have self assessed their productivity increase at 11.7%, and have reported significant falls in the frequency of headaches, sore throats, sore eyes, colds and flu, and feeling "off colour". 40% of the surveyed staff found their new offices to be "invigorating".

The refurbishment includes replacing or upgrading major plant & equipment; upgrading the ground floor entrance, lifts, retail areas and facade; and the progressive upgrading of the office floors.

'Green' features of the staged refurbishment include:
o waterless urinals and water efficient bathroom fittings;
o water submeters and a leak detection system;
o chilled beam air conditioning;
o paints, carpets and adhesives with low levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs);
o organic waste is recycled in a worm farm housed in the basement;
o solar panels supply 25% of domestic hot water; and
o energy efficient T5 light fittings.

Harry Hullin has worked in the building since 1978 and has been the Building Manager since 1992.

"The building was a typical 1970s A Grade building - lots of marble, dark timber lifts, black bean panelling, and little focus on energy consumption," Mr Hullin said.

"The change is incredible - the foyer now has so much light in it, the newly refurbished floors are taking advantage of more natural light and views, and the chilled beam system is operating well."

"The refurbishment has turned an aging landmark into a modern icon."