How sustainable buildings lead the way in Australia 

In recent years, sustainability has become a cornerstone of the real estate industry worldwide, and Australia is no exception. The demand for environmentally friendly buildings is on the rise. In response, innovative retrofit projects and sustainable building designs are emerging across the Australian real estate landscape, showcasing the potential for a greener future. Let’s explore some remarkable examples located in Melbourne and Sydney that stand out for their commitment to sustainability.

Barangaroo South, Sydney 

Part of Sydney’s revitalized Barangaroo waterfront area, Barangaroo South has achieved a 6-Star Green Star Communities rating. It is a water positive building and Australia’s first carbon-neutral community. This has been achieved through: 

  • 6,000 square meters of solar panels, generating enough to power 137 homes. 
  • Reducing 20% of embodied carbon by replacing carbon-intensive materials such as concrete, steel, and glass with less carbon-intensive alternatives – 95% of timber used is sourced from certified sources.   
  • The largest central chilled water plant which cools the precinct using harbour water. This is more efficient than traditional tower-based cooling systems.  
  • Extensive green public spaces and parks, including high levels of biodiversity. 
  • Pedestrian and public transit connections to reduce emissions. 

Barangaroo South is home to 1,800 residents and 23,000 office workers, and more than 50% of the site is still dedicated to public open space. It attracts around 18 million visitors per year. It demonstrates sustainable precinct-level design through its renewable energy, water management, green space provisioning, and integration with public transportation networks. Bangaroo South’s Sustainability Plan provides more information about its holistic approach to sustainability.

Pixel Building, Melbourne

The Pixel Building in Carlton, Melbourne, is a striking example of sustainable architecture and engineering. This multi-unit residential development incorporates an array of eco-friendly features: 

  • The building generates its own power and water through onsite wind turbines and a green roof that uses evapotranspiration of greywater. 
  • If required, the building can disconnect from the main water supply and be self-sufficient for all its amenity needs, excluding drinking water. 
  • It has an anaerobic digester system to reduce organic waste. 
  • “Pixelcrete” has been used – a low-carbon concrete alternative with 50% less embodied emissions. 

The Pixel Building has been LEED Platinum certified in its assessment and scored a perfect 6-Star Green Star rating. Beyond its sustainable elements, the Pixel Building’s bold geometric design and use of cross-laminated timber make it an architectural standout. It demonstrates that green buildings can be both environmentally conscious and visually impressive.   

Photo credits: John Gollings

Council House 2 Building, Melbourne 

Opened in 2005, the Council House 2 building (CH2) in Melbourne achieved Australia’s first 6-Star Green Star certification for office design. Its sustainable features allow for: 

  • 80% reduction in energy consumption compared to conventional buildings. 
  • Green vertical planting on the north façade and rooftop assists with shading, glare, and air quality. It’s access to nature also enhances productivity by relieving stress.  
  • The western façade holds timber shutters, which are operable, vertical, shutters providing full summer shading while still allowing filtered daylight and views. This maximizes the use of natural lighting. 
  • 75% less water usage through rainwater harvesting and recycling systems. This is largely achieved through water collection and a multi-water treatment plant under the building, harvesting water from the Little Collins Street sewer.   
  • Green roofs and walls with plants at a 1:1 ratio to staff numbers. 
  • 100% filtered outdoor air intake instead of recycled air. 

CH2 showcases how retrofitting an existing property with cutting-edge green design can dramatically improve environmental performance while creating a healthier, more productive workplace for occupants. Learn more about how CH2 in its ‘CH2 how it works’ report.

Council House 2, Melbourne
Photo credits: City of Melbourne

One Central Park, Sydney

One of Australia’s most iconic green buildings, One Central Park, uses 25% less energy than a conventional building of comparable size. The vertical garden covers 50% of the building’s facade and includes 250 species of native Australian flowers and plants.

One Central Park’s key sustainable features include: 

  • Reducing its cooling energy load with a five-kilometre-long system of linear slab-edge planters that function like permanent shading shelves reduces the apartments’ thermal impact by about 20%. Additional shading from the plant foliage itself can diminish heat gains by an additional 20%.  
  • An on-site tri-generation plant that reduces emissions by 190,000 tons over 10 years.  
  • The vertical gardens, a rooftop garden and rainwater harvesting systems.  
  • It has achieved 5-star Green Star rating.  

With its striking living facade, renewable energy generation, and emissions reduction initiatives, One Central Park is a perfect example of how sustainable design can be seamlessly integrated into architectural icons. 

Melbourne Quarter, Melbourne

Melbourne Quarter in the heart of the CBD was completed in 2020 and is home to leading businesses, such as EnergyAustralia, Datacom and the Productivity Commission. It has been awarded the highest sustainability rating for precincts in Australia through the 6 Star Green Star Communities award (representing ‘world leadership in sustainable design’).  

Melbourne Quarter sets new standards for sustainable design. The outstanding features of this construction include: 

  • A focus on adding value and reducing costs for customers, which has led to leading energy efficiency outcomes, including low-energy commercial buildings with high-efficiency PV panels. 
  • A smart LED public lighting and wayfinding system, which will be woven throughout the precinct’s ground plane.  
  • In building Melbourne Quarter, up to 90 per cent of all construction waste will be recycled as part of our Sustainability Action Plan. 95 per cent of all timber used in building and construction works will be procured from sources that undertake sustainable land and management practices or reused timber.  
  • Captured stormwater will be recycled at Melbourne Quarter for irrigation throughout the precinct.  

Melbourne Quarter showcases sustainability through comprehensive waste management, sustainable material sourcing, water recycling, and high green building certification targets across its commercial components. Find out more about Melbourne Quarter’s sustainability view.

Sustainable buildings Australia
Photo credits: Ricky Ricardo

Rising tenant and community demand for green living and workplaces

The examples above pave the way for a more sustainable built environment. As the impacts of climate change intensify and regulations tighten around energy efficiency and emissions, leadership in sustainable real estate development is becoming a key competitive differentiator. These pioneering buildings demonstrate that prioritizing environmental sustainability not only reduces ecological footprints, but can also create healthier, more productive spaces that meet rising tenant and community demand for green living and workplaces.  With its commitment to sustainable practices, the Australian real estate industry is well-positioned to capitalize on the transition towards an eco-friendly, low-carbon future. 

Making your real estate more sustainable 

The examples above demonstrate excellent sustainability practices. However, for a holistic approach, these practices must be applied on both large and small scales. Are you interested in making your building or portfolio greener in Australia? Reach out to CFP Green Buildings for expert assistance. We are here to help you gain insights into your real estate’s energy efficiency and achieve your sustainability goals through the Green Buildings Tool.

Contact Apeldoorn

CFP Green Buildings
J.C. Wilslaan 29
7313 HK Apeldoorn
The Netherlands
+31 (0)55 355 5199

Contact Naarden

CFP Green Buildings
Onderwal 16
1411 LV Naarden
The Netherlands
+31 (0)55 355 5199

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