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Historic former milk factory in Port Adelaide on target to become Australia’s ‘greenest’ building

12 July 2012 32,766 views No Comment

acdev logoThanks to innovative fuel cell technology, a former milk factory in historic Port Adelaide is aiming to become the nation’s greenest commercial office building.

BlueGen ceramic fuel cell unitsDeveloped by boutique property development group Acdev, the St Vincent Street property – built in 1921 – has been converted into a premium quality office building featuring five ‘BlueGen’ ceramic fuel cell units, which convert natural gas to electricity and heat. It is the single largest commercial fuel cell installation in Australia.

Combined with a 22kW, 90-panel photovoltaic solar cell installation, the two storey, 1,100 square metre property has been designed to be carbon negative, with the solar power system generating enough energy to more than offset emissions from the natural gas used to operate the fuel cells. The predicted operational greenhouse gas emissions savings associated with this project is 55 tonnes of CO2 emitted per annum – the equivalent of taking 50 cars off the road for a year.

The property, which was recently sold to an industry superannuation fund, is targeting a 6-star NABERS energy rating after its first year of operation, with the aim of becoming one of only a handful of commercial properties to achieve the top rating.

Building frontageAcdev Managing Director Tim Schaefer said retaining the heritage features of the property while delivering world leading environmentally sustainable design was a challenge he was particularly proud of.

“It wasn’t just about developing an energy efficient property, we wanted to push the boundaries and set a new standard in sustainable design, while creating a great space to work in,” Mr Schaefer said. “We have found that there is increasing emphasis on green workplaces so we set out to meet that demand, despite a difficult economic climate to work in.”

Paul Davy, the COO of the project’s ESD consultants, Cundall, said the Port Adelaide project sets a new benchmark for environmentally sustainable design in commercial property.

“While many businesses are striving for energy efficiency, this redevelopment goes much further, feeding excess low carbon energy back into the grid, thereby offsetting its own emissions and contributing to the reduction in emissions of neighbouring sites, this sets a new precedent for commercial property of this kind,” Mr Davy said.

FoyerAmong the other environmental and design features are: Schott ASI Glass panels (2kW) to act as skylights while generating solar energy, a 20,000 litre rainwater tank ensuring the property is self sufficient water-wise, a low energy mixed mode air-conditioning system and louvre windows for natural air flow, and sensor-activated low energy lighting eliminating the need for light switches. Existing features of the building utilised to reflect its history, including rusted Corten Steel, Ironbark floors and exposed clay brick walls.

Mr Schaefer said the success of the Port Adelaide project had helped attract further investment to the Acdev group of companies.

“Just recently we were successful in acquiring one of four parcels of land in Adelaide’s Bowden Village, Bowden which will be developed into 12-­‐16 apartments featuring the best in green design,”he said.

The project partners for the redevelopment at 87–91 St Vincent Street, Port Adelaide – which was owned and occupied for many years by the Quin’s marine business – also included Sarah Constructions and Hames Sharley.

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