242 Exhibition Street - BEOP

When seeking to improve the energy efficiency of older commercial office buildings, the best first investment owners can make is in a structured building tuning program that seeks to improve the performance of existing systems.

Located toward the north-east corner of Melbourne’s CBD, 242 Exhibition Street has been a prominent fixture on Melbourne’s growing skyline since it was constructed in 1992.

Owned and managed by Investa, the A-grade commercial office building features 65,913m² of space across 43 levels. In 2015, Investa engaged A.G. Coombs Advisory to conduct a Building Energy Optimisation Program (BEOP) that sought to improve the energy performance and carbon footprint of the building.

Following an audit and detailed review of the building’s operations and HVAC systems, A.G. Coombs Advisory proposed a program of initiatives that considered the building’s thermal and operational dynamics.

A constructive and collaborative team approach was taken, with all stakeholders including the building owner, facility manager and proprietary Building Management and Control System (BMCS) provider engaged at each stage of the works to ensure that system integrity was maintained.

Being the largest consumer of energy within a commercial building, the building’s HVAC systems were naturally a focus area for the program. A.G. Coombs Advisory relied on its team’s detailed knowledge of how systems consume and waste energy to apply a suite of proven methodologies.

This led to a structured approach that directly targeted the tuning of energy consuming systems by utilising the existing BMCS as a diagnosis, tuning and reporting tool.

Following enhancement to the BMCS, A.G. Coombs Advisory have also applied leading edge, operational analytics technology to further assist in monitoring and diagnosing the building’s energy consuming systems.

The deployment of the sophisticated SkySpark® analytics software has further assisted with the analysis of building, energy and equipment data to identify opportunities for improved performance and operational savings.

Tuning initiatives ‘airside’ at 242 Exhibition Street have included the alignment of control logic – from the floor sensor, to air distribution, to central plant together with other activities to eliminate energy waste.

To date, these have delivered a reduction in AHU (air handling unit) fan energy, and reduced the reliance on VAV (variable air volume) electric duct heaters during occupancy mode – identified as a major consumer of electricity during cold/mild seasons.

‘Waterside’, a variable flow control energy initiative has resulted in pump energy being reduced on both the high-rise and low-rise secondary chilled water loops. This has also had a positive impact on the primary chilled water system, resulting in a significant reduction in cooling load on the chillers.

A.G. Coombs Advisory’s overall approach also represents a significant advance in control strategy philosophy – moving from simple temperature control to inbuilt, seasonally-adjusted energy conservation logic by working with existing controls systems and building infrastructure.

And the proof is in the results.

To date, a total electricity and gas energy reduction of 14% has been achieved without any major plant upgrades being undertaken. This represented a greenhouse gas emission reduction of 1,555 tonnes CO2-e and a NABERS Energy rating improvement equivalent to 0.28 stars.

242 Exhibition Street is currently performing to a 4.0 star NABERS Energy rating and targeting 4.5 star for the next assessment.

Importantly, the savings achieved will offset any escalations in energy as a result of the major tenant’s adoption of an activity-based workplace model, which will see occupancy density increase from 1:12 to 1:10 person/m².

A.G. Coombs Advisory’s Building Energy Optimisation Program has proven very successful. The energy savings to date are significant and demonstrate the ability of older buildings to operate at good standards of energy efficiency.

Jessica Nicol, Senior Facilities Manager for Investa.

Project Overview

Project Name: 242 Exhibition Street - BEOP

Location: Melbourne, Victoria

Client: Investa Property Group

Year Completed: 2017

Project Type

Advisory - Sustainability, Commercial Buildings

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