Shades of green for ratings

Written on the 19 October 2009

OCCUPYING office space with a five-star green rating can work wonders for a tenant’s environmental credentials but there’s variation in the ‘types’ of ratings granted.

According to Pradella Developments project manager Nicholas Hinton, an increasing number of builders spruik the fact that they have five star green ratings, but there’s a subtle difference between ‘design’ and ‘as built’ ratings.

“To get a ‘design’ rating you need a holistic approach towards building green with accountability in the building, however ‘as built’ means following through with those plans and actually implementing them. It’d have to be about 92 per cent of ratings that are given out for ‘design’ only,” he says.

Pradella’s recently-built office space at 154 Melbourne Street looks set to become the fourth office building in Queensland to be given a five-star green rating of ‘as built’ by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), with Green Square’s towers and Synergy’s office in Kelvin Grove its predecessors.

Hinton says the office uses chilled beam air conditioning and also includes features like water harvesting, zoned lighting, maximum use of natural light and ventilation, as well as water efficient fittings and fixtures.

“There were other factors as well — we recycled 80 per cent of waste generated on the site and built using recyclable content in all our steel and concreting in the building. It’s really from the ground up,” he says.

Hinton says builders need to have a point of difference in a tight market, so building along the guidelines of green star ratings is a way to future-proof property.

“Does it cost a lot? Yes it does, but you have to think about the value of the return – it’s not immediate but it can help you get better tenants in the future,” he says.

“But due to the current market we’re not considering any future green-star developments. We do apartments mostly, but we were able to lock onto the market when it was good and we could deliver 154 Melbourne St just in the nick of time.

“The other thing that made us go along was the sustainability grant from the Brisbane City Council, which you don’t get it if it’s just design.”

A grant for a project such as Pradella’s could be in the range of around $600,000 – a sizeable grant that doesn’t cover the entire cost of impost, but is nonetheless a significant boost.

Pradella occupies the tenth floor of 154 Melbourne Street, which it developed in a joint venture partnership with South Brisbane Commercial.

Snowy Mountain Engineering Corporation (SMEC) also tenants the building.


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