Kingspan Insulation’s manufacturing facility in Somerton, Victoria has been awarded a 6 Star – Green Star – Performance v1.2 certified rating.
The building was constructed using low environmental impact materials – including steel, concrete, timber, plumbing piping, carpets and furniture – that include recycled, reclaimed and low-carbon impact raw materials that can be reused or recycled at the end of their life cycles. It includes an energy-saving smart lighting system and high-performance insulation products throughout. The HVAC systems installed in the main office area utilise 100 percent external air, with energy recovered from the exhaust used to prepare the intake air. Rainwater is harvested into 75,000-litre storage for bathroom and landscape use. Hot water is produced by high-efficiency air source heat pumps.
A 750-kilowatt (kW) solar system was designed into the roof structure and installed in 2018, and still provides most of the facility’s daytime energy requirements. It has the potential to reduce the facility’s carbon dioxide emissions by 600 tonnes per year and is a significant step towards Kingspan’s target of net zero carbon manufacturing by 2030.
The Green Star rating aims showcase sustainability, encourage innovation and promote more energy-efficient building stock in Australia.
“What sets this project apart,” says Davina Rooney, CEO of the Green Building Council of Australia, “is that it is the first manufacturer to pursue and deliver performance certification, representing world leadership in sustainable building practices.”
The Somerton facility offices were designed by architect Tone Wheeler, director and principal architect at Environa Studios. Wheeler, a well-known advocate of environmentally sustainable design in Australia, says: “The main passion behind our work is that it’s very human focused, so pursuing a 6 Star certification on this project, for us, was a way to improve the working conditions of the occupants. That often gets lost, that the whole point of the 6 Star building is not that the building is awarded, but that the working conditions for the people in the building are enhanced and improved over business-as-usual.”
“Our facility in Somerton proves that with some effort, and using the right products, we can build better manufacturing buildings in Australia, not just offices and residential,” says Kingspan Australia managing director Scott Gibson. “I hope that more manufacturers decide to take this challenge on in the future.”