567 Collins Street, Melbourne, Australia

A smart building focuses on maximising the occupant experience

  • Aurecon's role: Building services engineering, sustainability consulting
  • Client: Leighton Properties
  • Project team: Cox Architects, Spowers Architects

Aurecon provided intelligent building design to create a smart building of the future that focuses on maximising the occupant experience by minimising water usage, improving air quality and efficiency and promoting sustainable transport initiatives.

Building designs are moving from singular functional spaces to ecosystems – synthesising technology, design and facilities into one seamless living and working environment, to enhance the end-user experience. 567 Collins Street, Melbourne, is no exception. Located at the heart of the city, the client’s vision was for the building to be “a new centrepiece for Melbourne, where business is moving forward”. 

At the time of its completion in 2015, 567 Collins was the largest premium-grade services building constructed in Melbourne over the previous 25 years. The building incorporates ground floor retail, 22 levels of office tenancy, two levels of gymnasium and lower ground end-of-trip facilities.

Aurecon was engaged by Leighton Properties to kick-start the building design process. Following these initial building stages, Aurecon remained on the project to navigate the client through the critical stages of building compliance. 567 Collins was one of the first projects to trial a Building Information Management (BIM) Platform to centralise the building’s systems and assist in post-occupancy maintenance. BIM was also used during construction for risk mitigation purposes. 

Aurecon’s commitment to energy efficiency led to an intelligent design that includes:

  • A 5-Star Green Star office design v3 rating and 5-Star NABERS energy and water rating
  • Energy-efficient HVAC lighting providing tangible savings in energy costs
  • Real-time monitoring of energy and water usage
  • Significant daylight through high-performance, double-glazed Low-E glass facade
  • Property Council of Australia (PCA) premium-grade requirements, as articulated in the document “A Guide to Office Building Quality 2012, 2nd Edition” (PCA 2012)

Elements of intelligent design pervade 567 Collins Street, including:

Energy efficiency through cogeneration and diesel generators

Central to the building’s concept design are an electrical gas cogeneration plant and two diesel generators in the building’s overall energy system. These technologies are used to power lighting, air conditioning, heating, ventilation, cooling, power, and hydraulic services. The gas cogeneration plant provides a major energy saving component feature that is relatively uncommon in the commercial property sector in Australia.

Cogeneration reduces energy demand/use during peak periods from within the building, by using heat that has been generated elsewhere in the process. Recognised as one of the most energy-efficient methods of transforming energy from fossil fuels or biomass into electric power, the cogeneration unit is a highly-effective means of saving energy.

The diesel generators have been designed into the building to provide backup of 50 per cent of the tenancy load during times of power failure. This is enough to ensure all essential electrical requirements are functioning, while retaining the PCA premium-grade building rating.

Intelligent generator controlled system

An intelligent generator controlled system contributes to 567 Collins Street’s energy-efficient portfolio. The current model is a result of a painstaking series of predictive energy-related scenarios that necessitated alterations and adaptations to its original design.

Today, the final product brings together the best of engineering and design to offer tenants value-for-money. The generator control system empowers owners and tenants to keep running costs low and maintenance levels high, with real-time energy and water monitoring available 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Variable air volume (VAV) air distribution for increased user comfort and lower energy consumption

The commercial office area is air conditioned by the use of a low temperature variable air volume system (referred to as VAV). Unlike constant air volume (CAV) systems that supply constant airflow at a variable temperature, VAV systems vary the airflow at a constant temperature. The advantages unfold as more precise temperatures to the tenants, reduced wear on the cooling equipment, and lower overall energy consumption.

Through this intelligent system, air is controlled and distributed through a VAV box to a designated area. It then completes its cycle by returning to the mechanical room through the mounted light fittings above the ceiling. The air volume is optimally low, so as to attain energy efficient outputs, while creating comfortable working spaces for employees. Each employee has his/ her own air vent that can be adjusted to change the amount of air and the direction of airflow to suit individual comfort needs.

Energy-efficient water technology

567 Collins Street incorporates masterful innovations in energy-efficient water plant technology. The building derives its primary domestic hot water from heat that is wasted in the cogeneration system. This wasted heat, along with the generator exhaust, is dumped from a storage vessel on the rooftop to the podium level plant room.

Water chillers are also sized and selected to carry 120 per cent of the building load, while ensuring top energy-efficient operations – both during and outside of working hours. Condenser water flows at 50 per cent with variable speed pumps and pressures, all with the aim of optimising energy efficiency throughout the overall design.

567 was brought to life due to a committed client, modern thinking philosophies and a vision for excellence. Altogether, it is a dynamic, connected building that showcases the best of innovative craftsmanship and people-centric design.

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