Canberra’s first net zero carbon office building is currently under construction.

Designed by Bates Smart, the 13,200sqm ACT Government Office is part of the DKSN precinct in Dickson and will be completed in 2020.

“The ACT Government’s commitment to climate change leadership will see 100 per cent of the ACT’s electricity sourced from renewable electricity from 2020. We have worked with the ACT Government, as the anchor tenant for 20 years, and our consulting engineers, Rudds, to design the building with an all-electric heating, cooling and ventilation system rather than a gas fired system,” says Doma Development general manager Gavin Edgar.

The Dickson office building will be the first in the ACT to use an all-electric system for its heating and cooling.

“Traditionally, chillers have only been capable of providing chilled water which helps cool the building and then a gas boiler is required to provide heating,” says Edgar.

“The solution being adopted for Dickson provides both heating and cooling for the building using a combination of water cooled and air-cooled heat pump chillers which have the capability to reverse their mode of operation and provide either chilled water of heating hot water.”

While the all-electric technology has been implemented in other countries it has not been substantially tested in climates like Canberra’s.

“Temperatures in the ACT vary significantly over the year from season to season, so we have had to cater for this,” says Edgar.

“The chiller arrangements have been optimised to manage the peak heating loads in winter and cooling in summer, as well as handle the shoulder seasons where simultaneous heating and cooling is required.

“To help improve thermal comfort, radiant slab heating has been adopted in the ground level entrance lobby and atrium. Additionally, a large array of solar roof panels is being installed to generate power and help keep electricity bills down.

“The building’s innovations will not only produce an environmentally friendly, zero emissions building in line with ACT Government policy of having 100 per cent of the Territory’s electricity sourced from renewable electricity, it will demonstrate the feasibility of this technology to industry in Canberra and to the wider community.”

The building is due for completion in 2020.