29 Apr 2011

1 Bligh St: Clayton Utz's new energy-efficient Sydney home

by Julie Levis

There's a greater awareness that a move into energy-efficient buildings can neatly combine several interests of a business – the financial, the human, and the community.

As of winter 2011, Clayton Utz will have a new home in Sydney in 1 Bligh St. As it is designed to achieve a 5 Star NABERS Energy rating and has been awarded a 6 Star Green Star Office Design v2 Certified rating, the first such high-rise in Sydney, we think this is a move which will do exactly that.

The green features of 1 Bligh Street

Our new home in 1 Bligh Street is built from sustainable construction materials:

  • 90% of the steel used comprises more than 50% recycled content
  • the use of green concrete has meant that nearly 6,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide have not been released into the atmosphere;
  • 80% of the parts usually made from PVC have been replaced with non-PVC materials; and
  • over 90% of the construction waste has been recycled.

Minimising the energy consumption through a double glass façade

For the first time on a high-rise building in Australia, 1 Bligh Street will have a double glass façade – a skin that not only lets in soft natural light, but also minimises the building's energy consumption.

It does this by stopping direct sunlight from hitting the internal glass. Between the inner and outer windows, computer-controlled sun shades track the sun and automatically adjust themselves. Air is also drawn in through natural convection from lower vents, which further cools down the façade.

A better way to generate electricity

1 Bligh St uses an innovative tri-generation system. Gas and solar energy will generate cooling, heating and electricity, which could reduce our dependence on the electricity grid by up to 25%.

On top of the building, 500 square metres of roof-mounted solar panels will capture solar energy to directly power an absorption chiller to drive the cooling systems, an advanced hybrid of VAV and chilled beam air conditioning technology.

… and to save water

The blackwater recycling technology uses waste water mined from nearby sewer mains and the base building itself, and treats it to a standard allowing it be used in toilets, cooling towers, and plant irrigation.

This means that around 90% of the water demand will come from recycled water, saving one Olympic size swimming pool of water every two weeks.

What sorts of benefits do we think we'll gain?

The first is the benefit to our people from having a healthier, brighter environment:

  • a more efficient air-conditioning system will give up to 150% improvement in air flow over the code requirement, giving our people more fresh air
  • 60% of the floor plate is within 6 metres of the glass façade and daylight, meaning we'll have more natural light and be able to see more of the world outside; and
  • there are 300 bike spaces.
The second is the benefit to our community. Clayton Utz takes our responsibility to our community seriously, so this is a major incentive for us to work in green buildings. Moving 60% of our staff to an energy-efficient building will have a significant impact on our carbon footprint.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.