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CEFC puts $68m into regional Victoria’s greenest office building

SOPHIE VORRATH
REVIEW ECONOMY
28 JUNE 2016

A $120 million project to convert a heritage building in Geelong into Victoria’s greenest multi-storey commercial office outside of the Melbourne CBD will receive $68 million in finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The massive project, which is being developed by property fund manager Quintessential Equity, will transform the original heritage Dalgety & Co. building at 1 Malop St in Geelong into a 14-storey property of approximately 15,500 square metres of office space.

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But most importantly – and the reason for the CEFC backing – it will be built to an energy rating of 5.5 stars on the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) base – improving on the planned 5 star rating and making it the first Victorian multi-storey commercial office building outside of the Melbourne CBD to do so.

The CEFC finance will allow Quintessential Equity to implement additional energy efficiency initiatives at the building – which will ultimately house the HQ for WorkSafe Victoria – locking in a further 25 per cent cut in its energy consumption.

These additional measures will include the installation of a “significantly” larger and higher efficiency rooftop solar PV system; the replacement of standard water heaters with two high efficiency water heaters; and upgrading the building’s façade to include thermally broken mullions and higher performance glazing.

The new building, which is being designed by architects peckvonhartel, will also include on-site parking, a ground-floor café, rooftop exercise areas, and 100+ bike racks.

The CEFC’s Paul McCartney said ensuring the building was constructed to a higher NABERS standard than otherwise planned reflected the green bank’s strategy to drive Australia’s commercial property sector towards carbon neutral buildings.

“This exemplar building will demonstrate the considerable attractions of energy efficient and more liveable work environments,” McCartney said.

“Higher rated properties consistently outperform their lower rated counterparts with a range of ongoing benefits, including the ability to command higher returns and attract long-term quality tenants, while operating with lower energy use costs and lower emissions outputs. It is also a great demonstration of how clean energy solutions can work to give an historic landmark a new lease on life as a low carbon building.”

The financing is part of a broader CEFC focus on working with building owners and developers to provide financing solutions across a range of property sub sectors to help drive higher industry-wide energy efficiency standards.

“High quality urban design will become increasingly important as the population densities of our cities grow. Building innovation undertaken now immediately benefits today’s workforce and helps develop a smarter working environment for the cities of tomorrow,” McCartney said.

“This is especially important since many commercial buildings can have a lifespan of more than 40 years.”

Quintessential Equity’s head of development, Guy French-Wright said there was a growing demand for affordable high-quality green office space in Geelong.

“Our 1 Malop Street development will set a new gold standard for near city office accommodation, providing a high quality, bespoke workspace designed around the ethos of Live, Work, Play. It will be a legacy project which will shape the next phase of development in Geelong,” he said.

“Through the support of CEFC we are in a position to improve the building’s energy efficiency from 5 star to a 5.5 star NABERS base building energy rating… to achieve an additional 25 per cent reduction in the building’s energy consumption and provide additional cost savings for all tenants.”

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