MINTER ELLISON acted for the City of Melbourne during the construction of its new headquarters, which has been ranked as one of the world’s greenest office towers.
In 2005, the 10-storey Council House 2 (CH2) was the first office building in Australia to be awarded a six-Green Star rating (the highest rating) by the Green Building Council of Australia, a year before it opened at the end of last year.
Minters’ lead partner on the deal, Phillip Greenham, said environmentally sustainable building was being led by private enterprise.
“Since the Sydney 2000 Olympics there has been a gathering of momentum in the area of sustainable construction, with the market rather than government and regulators setting the pace,” he said.
“Being part of an Australian-first project … gives you a real sense of achievement. The building was delivered successfully through intensive collaboration between all parties involved in the project.
Minters’ task included assisting the parties involved to “efficiently and effectively overcome points of tension” and maintaining a “collaborative spirit within the project team”.
Among the building’s energy saving measures is a cooling system that uses water sprayed down the inside of its walls to chill air drawn in from vents, which is then ducted into the offices from reservoirs between the floors, and released via floor ducts.
These are also replenished every evening when the vents are opened for four hours, saving a further 20 per cent of the energy normally consumed to artificially cool the building.
Most of the heating for the building is provided by capturing the heat given off by office equipment and human activity. The north side of the building also draws in warmth from the sun in winter, and is painted black to maximize heat absorption.
The west façade of the building is covered in louvers made from recycled timber that move according to the position of the sun. They are also powered by the sun from solar panels on the roof.
Up to 30 per cent of the CH2’s power requirements are provided by a co-generation gas-fired power plant on the roof of the building.
Six purpose-built wind turbines on the roof also help to maintain air circulation.
The east and north façades are also shaded, with perforated metal on the east, and a vertical garden running the height of the building on the north side.
Artificial lighting is kept to a minimum by reflecting sunlight into the offices, and using larger windows on the lower levels where there is less sunlight.