Good bones for green
Despite its heritage design, 100 Harris Street possesses all the hallmarks of cutting-edge sustainable design: solid brick walls, high ceilings and natural materials – the perfect foundation to leading sustainability performance
The building’s old-world charm is preserved in the massive original ironbark columns – carefully positioned to accommodate the standard dimensions of wool bales – while a new atrium floods the building with natural light.
The sawtooth roof, typical of design and manufacturing buildings of its time, features a series of ridges with glass panels that diffuse natural light over a large area. And that sawtooth design is now earning praise as a renewable energy powerhouse, with its distinctive shape ideal for solar panels.
Alexandra Brownlee is portfolio manager at Dexus, the owner of the building. She explains, “When we purchased the building, we knew immediately that the structure and type of building was perfect for solar panels, especially the angles of the sawtooth roof.”
The 606 solar panels which now adorn 100 Harris Street’s roof power the base building services, including lobby lighting, lifts and air-conditioning.
“While we are seeing more and more large solar panel installations on shopping centre roofs or large industrial warehouses, they are much rarer on offices because their roofs aren’t always accommodating,” Alexandra adds.
But with a bit of creative thinking, technical know-how and the support of Dexus customers, 100 Harris Street will generate around 250 kilowatt hours of energy each day – the same amount of energy required to recharge more than 22,500 smart phones.
While Alexandra says there were inherent complexities, “particularly as we were working with a heritage asset”, the solar panel project will pay for itself within around 5 years”.
The solar panels will also contribute to a higher NABERS rating (a national rating system that measures the environmental performance of Australian buildings, tenancies and homes), which not only enhances the asset’s value but also supports the sustainability goals of the building’s customers.