Balwin Headquarters achieves both Net Zero and 6-star certifications
The new Balwin Headquarters on 105 Corlett Drive has achieved a Green Star Net Zero Carbon-Level 1 certification. The project, a refurbishment of the iconic Creative Council building on the M1 highway near Melrose Arch, also received a 6-star certification last year.7
The refurbishment of the building, which comprises four basement levels and five office floors, was undertaken by Paragon, architects on the original design. The process involved the removal of the three iconic cone-shaped elements from the building and the creation of two new floors under the elevated concrete box. An additional roof space accommodates a gym, meeting areas and a canteen. These changes increased the lettable area from 2200m2 to more than 6000m2.
“In order to achieve the stringent Net Zero Carbon certification, a project must focus on energy efficiency first,” Alex Varughese, Modelling and Simulations Consultant at Solid Green, explains.
It is necessary to achieve a higher level of energy efficiency than that of a standard green building. And converting to a fully renewable supply also makes the project financially attractive to the developer.
The building is targeting an energy consumption of 101kWh/m2/year, far less than the 218kWh/m2/year required by SANS10400 XA for a building of equal size and specification. Energy modelling was carried out in the design stages to compare the building to a notional building model. Greenhouse gas emissions associated with operational energy consumption were reduced by 103%. This was achieved through sub-metering and effective monitoring of energy systems; through the provision of motion sensors to designated zones; and by improving the lighting power density through efficient lighting design.
Because the behaviour of building occupants and users is critical to reduce building energy consumption, a learning resource has been provided that communicates energy and water data as well as educational material on sustainability initiatives implemented in the building.
As a refurbishment, one of the key strategies was that of reuse. Says Kim Newell, Associate at Paragon Architects, “In today’s global socio-economic environment, we need to consider resources more carefully. The importance of upcycling existing buildings cannot be overstated. We were able to reuse the entire structure of the building and adapt it to meet the requirements of the brief.”
100% of the building structure was reused, while materials that are typically replaced during a refurb – such as mechanical ducts, fire water piping, balustrades and sanitary fittings and fixtures – were also reused. In addition, the architects managed to keep the concrete structure and the quintessential elevated concrete box, and added the additional level on top, without having to strengthen the foundation.
A new steel roof structure houses a 183kW photovoltaic system installation, which has an annual energy production of 285.7MWh, allowing the base building demand to ultimately achieve Net Zero carbon emissions. The existing MV/LV supply infrastructure and metering was reused, including the main LV distribution board. Existing DB boards and electrical installation to the basement parking floors were retained, with only the new parking levels receiving new lighting.
Commenting on the importance of this redevelopment, Steve Brookes, CEO of Balwin Properties, says
Targeting a Net Zero carbon certification for Balwin’s head office presented both a challenge and an opportunity. With our vision of better building practices for people and planet in mind, it’s a challenge that we eagerly embraced. The Green Star and Net Zero Carbon certifications for this project have reinforced Balwin as a sustainability leader in the property sector.
Owner: Balwin Properties
Accredited professional: Solid Green Consulting
Electrical engineer: Sutherland
Fire engineer: Sutherland
Lift specialist: Kone
Mechanical engineer: Sutherland
Quantity surveyors: JMHT Quantity Surveyors
Structural engineers: Sotiralis Engineers
Sustainable building consultant: Solid Green Consulting
Wet services: Sutherland
Main contractor: Onsite Solutions
Project manager: Onsite Solutions
Environmental consultant : LEAP
Interior designer : Paragon Interface
Commissioning agent: Cardinal Commissioning Services