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GHDWoodhead recently refurbished Barwon Water’s 50-year-old Geelong office, transforming it into the greenest office in Geelong – Ryrie HQ. The upgrade transformed the building from 0.5 Star Green Star equivalent to 5 Star Green Star, and is an exemplar of how sustainable outcomes can be achieved through building redesign and refurbishment.

Historically, Barwon Water’s Geelong staff were split across two major office locations located 3km apart. The physical separation of 300 staff was a challenge to staff effectiveness, efficiency and collaboration, as well as an inefficient use of resources. The consolidation of office spaces presented an excellent opportunity to build an iconic, state-of-the-art sustainable building and contribute to the revitalisation of Geelong. 

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The result is a modern office building with outstanding sustainability credentials and staff health and wellbeing features. Ryrie HQ will be 80 percent more energy efficient than the previous buildings combined.  It features a high performance fa├žade that eliminates 95 percent of direct sun penetration and has a state of the art heating, ventilation and cooling system.

The building has spectacular north-facing views over Corio Bay and a 300sqm roof garden that provides urban greening and an exceptional outdoor space for staff. Other key green infrastructure features include two green walls and a rain garden at street level providing water treatment and aquatic biodiversity. The building will re-use rainwater for toilet flushing and irrigating the rain garden and green roof and walls. The building also reconnects all ability access between Ryrie Street and the Arts and Library hub in Little Malop Street.

Staff wellbeing has been greatly enhanced through open plan office layout, extensive natural lighting and views, multiple private and communal break out and meeting spaces, extensive bike parking and end of trip facilities.

A key design feature of Ryrie HQ was to reuse the original building structure. This alone has saved in more than one million kilograms of CO2 (equivalent) through minimising the use of new construction materials. In addition to this more than 80 percent of material removed from the site during demolition was recycled.   

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The commissioning of the building over the next two years will ensure the operational energy, water and waste processes are tuned to well beyond industry standards. This will also involve air leakage testing to achieve a performance standard of international best practice levels of air tightness. This is unique for the Australian construction industry and is a significant step towards securing building sustainability performance in operation, a result many buildings fail to achieve. 

About the Awards

The Sustainability Awards is Australia’s longest running and most prestigious awards program dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating excellence in sustainable design and architecture. Nominations received are shortlisted and then winners for each category are announced at a five-star Gala evening hosted this year at the Star, Sydney on 11 October 2018. The daytime event Sustainability Live is a CPD-endorsed education event where industry experts present a range of topics to educate, inform and ignite learning. Buy tickets