WA gets its first 6 Star Green Star public building

Sets new benchmark for local governments around Australia

Credit: Mike Edwards - 2013

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Western Australia has its first 6 Star Green Star public building.

The Western Australian City of Gosnells’ Mills Park community facility was assessed with the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA’s) Green Star – Public Building v1 rating design tool.

“We applaud the City of Gosnells’ leadership, which sets a new benchmark for local governments around Australia, and showcases the economic, social and environmental benefits of green building,” said the GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew.

AECOM’s sustainability lead for the project, Michael Thompson, said a practical approach to sustainability was pivotal to the rating, with the City incorporating a large number of low-cost initiatives into the building.

“This is a publicly funded project, so everything we did needed to represent good value,” Mr Thompson said.

“Rather than trying to force expensive and over-engineered systems into the design, we went for initiatives with synergy, initiatives that work well in a building like this one. There’s a lot to be said for getting the basics right.”

The facility uses low-energy LED lighting and will have a smart, responsive air conditioning system. In addition, the building will have a 30 kilowatt solar array, capable of generating up to 15 percent of the building’s electricity requirement annually.

“Without going over the top, AECOM’s design team has come up with a building with efficiencies that could save the City of Gosnells up to $145,000 a year in running costs,” Mr Thompson said.

Responding to public demand, the City has focused on improving the ecological state of Mills Park. The degraded wetland area will be rehabilitated, habitat will be regenerated, endangered or threatened species will be encouraged back, and contaminated areas will be remediated.

Additionally, local watercourses such as the Canning River and Yule Brook will be protected by an extensive stormwater treatment system.

“The parkland around the building used to be of high ecological value; we’re hopeful that we can elevate the park to a better ecological state than it has ever been.” Mr Thompson said.

Native, drought-resistant plantings will form the basis for all landscaping, protecting Mills Park from the dry Western Australian climate. The City has also selected toilets, taps and showers with very high water efficiencies and combined the irrigation and toilet flushing systems with a 50,000 litre rainwater reuse system, reducing annual water consumption by up to 70 percent.

Existing site resources will be used to reduce the consumption of new materials in the construction, and locally manufactured materials and products will be used wherever possible to reduce transport-to-site emissions and promote local economic stimulus.

Construction is set to begin this month.