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Docklands is the green envy of the world

25 Feb 2010

Docklands is the green envy of  the world Image

Docklands’ growing international reputation as an example of sustainable building excellence is a source of pride for Australian Green Building Council chairman Tony Arnel.

Mr Arnel is also Victoria’s Building and Plumbing Commissioner and late last year moved his 150 staff into Goods Shed North Building in Docklands.

“Docklands has a worldwide reputation,” he said.  “We can talk about Docklands on the world stage because it is one of the most sustainable precincts in the world.”

And Mr Arnel is very placed to do this talking as he is also the chairman of the World Green Building Council, which has its secretariat in Toronto, Canada.

He said Docklands had the largest concentration of green buildings of any precinct anywhere in Australia.

“So that immediately provides a point of difference for Docklands and what it stands for,” he said.

“If you are a resident down here or work down here it is something that you can be justifiably proud of because Docklands is leading the way in Australia by delivering buildings that are energy and water efficient.”

He said his own staff had responded well to working in the renovated Goods Shed North in Bourke St, which was Victoria’s first heritage-listed building to be awarded a 5 Star Green Star rating.

“They can feel good about the fact that they are not only in a high quality working environment, but they know that their building is energy efficient,” Mr Arnel said.

Mr Arnel said younger employees were driving the demand for energy efficient workplaces.

“It’s the Gen X and Gen Y who I think are the drivers for this.  They want to work in buildings of these standards,” he said.

He said consumer demand was also largely responsible for driving the trend towards sustainable apartment building, although he acknowledged that Dockland’s current apartment supply “missed the green wave”.

“When Mirvac and MAB were doing their stuff on the drawing boards in the mid-90s the Green Building Council of Australia hadn’t been established,” he said.

“I don’t want to make excuses for buildings that probably don’t have the credentials that they would have if they were built today, but I think they were just ahead of the ‘green wave’,” he said.

He said the way developers were currently marketing new apartments was evidence of consumer demand for sustainability.

“Really people want to buy buildings now that actually say something,” he said.  “What people possibly regarded five years ago as a bit edgy has become mainstream.”

“As Daniel Grollo says, if you’re not building green, you’re building in obsolescence.  These days you just can’t build a serious building without any environmental credentials attached to it.”

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