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Adelaide’s newest office gets the Green Star tick of approval

Australia’s first building to achieve a Green Star – Design & As Built Design Review now has an early opportunity to promote its sustainability credentials, while the project team has insights to share with the industry.


Paul Davy, dsquared Consulting, gives his perspective on the benefits of Green Star – Design & As Built.

Adelaide’s newest office, 185 Pirie Street in the thriving Hindmarsh Square Precinct, ticks all the boxes for A Grade buildings.

Designed using computer simulation modelling, the building’s design is energy- and water-efficient and provides a high performance working environment without relying on complex technologies or over-complicated façade treatments.

This dynamic new design has also gained another tick of approval, after achieving Australia’s first Green Star – Design & As Built optional Design Review.

Registering a project for Green Star – Design & As Built is a commitment to certify a completed building. However, the voluntary Design Review gives projects the confidence they are on the right track and provides an early opportunity to promote a building’s Green Star promise.

A marketing must

According to Paul Davy, Director of dsquared and the ESD consultant on the project, the developer, Palumbo, was keen for Green Star to be a central pillar of its marketing campaign for new tenants.

“Early discussions with the Green Star team determined that the assessment timeline for the project would be significantly shorter if we registered for Design & As Built over Office v3,” says Paul.

This suited Palumbo’s design and marketing program, as “certifying the design using Office v3 would have occurred at least six months later – far too late to have provided any marketing benefit,” Paul explains.

Palumbo is expecting the Green Star rating will translate into a broader tenancy base, particularly from interstate companies with high expectations of sustainable office space. Outgoings will be lower and the operating expenditure is expected to be more favourable, with a fast payback period on the sustainability features delivering a quality asset.

Fast and efficient certification

Paul was impressed with the Green Star team’s commitment to fast and efficient certification, and says communication throughout the process was excellent. 

“As this was our first project using the new rating tool we had a number of queries, including a couple of Credit Interpretation Requests that were responded to very quickly and in a very constructive manner. We felt that the relationship worked very much like a partnership,” he says.

dsquared is now applying Design & As Built to a diverse range of building projects, including an adaptive re-use of an industrial building which will transform it into a new marketplace, a brand spanking university campus building, and perhaps most exciting of all, a new medical retrieval helicopter base.

“The new rating tool, which provides a much more holistic approach to the environmental impact of buildings than the legacy rating tools, has proven to be readily usable on many different building types,” Paul explains.

Cost-effective certification

The GBCA always aimed to deliver a streamlined, holistic approach to design and rating of buildings with Green Star – Design & As Built. So, have we achieved it?

“Definitely,” is Paul’s response.

“Green Star – Design & As Built provides a much more holistic approach to rating, particularly if the modelled and performance options are followed. The ‘tick-box’ approaches common in the legacy rating tools have largely been removed. The submission process has been significantly streamlined allowing a design-stage certified result to be achieved six months earlier than using a legacy rating tool,” Paul adds.

In fact, Paul says there was “no cost impost” in moving to the new rating tool.

“It’s actually been a bit cheaper. Certification fees are significantly down, and as we are able to spend less time preparing a submission, we can keep our consultancy fees down too,” Paul says.

Hints and tips for project teams

Paul has a few hints and tips for other project teams embarking on a Green Star – Design & As Built rating.

“Green Star Design & As Built recognises the results of good design, so start by focussing on the key outcomes required – energy efficiency, water efficiency, low carbon transport, and low carbon construction techniques – and the rating tool will recognise the results achieved,” Paul explains.

Paul notes that, while there are many similarities between the new rating tool and its predecessors, “Green Star – Design & As Built works quite differently, so teams should carefully read the guidelines provided by the GBCA to understand the differences.”

A key variance is found in submission templates, which replace cover sheets and short reports. “These need to be completed and submitted exactly in the template format – they can’t be modified as they are the key pieces of documentation that Green Star assessors will review,” Paul warns.

In fact, the new tiered approach to assessment means that the templates may be the only documents that are assessed, so Paul’s tip is to “make sure that they are clear and comprehensively completed”.

“For Design Review certification, the design documentation needs only be at DA stage quality, rather than 100 per cent tender quality as required with the legacy rating tools. This is where the significant savings in time and effort come into play. It is now possible for teams to submit for Design Review at the DA stage, and achieve their Design Review certification in time for leasing marketing.”

And 185 Pirie Street certainly provides this point.

To find out more about leasing space in 185 Pirie Street, please contact:

Project Contact

Daniel Palumbo, Managing Director, Palumbo
[email protected]
08 8209 6100

Property Agent

Michael Pfitzner, Director, CBRE
[email protected]
08 8110 3314