Sustainability may conjure images of alternative lifestyles, but it “doesn’t have to be about tree-hugging, it’s actually a sound business decision”, says Australian Legal Sector Alliance (AusLSA) general manager Emily Wilson.
“There are some people who get involved in sustainability because it’s the ‘right thing’ to do but the bottom line is that if you’re using less electricity, if you’re using less paper, you’re saving money. Sustainability is about efficiency, and efficiency is always good business practice because it’s profitable,” says Emily Wilson, AusLSA general manager.
The property at 85 Castlereagh Street is one of the latest high-profile green buildings to go up in Sydney. Achieving a coveted 6-star GreenStar rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, the office tower forms part of the larger Westfield development and uses a system of sensor lights (attuned to the availability of natural light), automated blinds (that respond to seasonal variations in sunlight) and active chilled beams (pipes of cooled water run through a beam integrated into the ceiling to lower the temperature of the surrounding air) to deliver a 50 per cent gain in energy efficiency.
Use of advanced water-recycling technology results in a further 93 per cent saving in water for the tower compared to an ordinary office build according to our building guide for the day, Stuart Murray, the Sydney CBD commercial properties manager for Westfield.
While the strategic decision about whether or not to pursue sustainability is made at the senior partner level, particularly in terms of big-picture moves to GreenStar rated buildings or expensive fit-outs, the practical decision-makers tend to be administrators, or facilities and office managers.
It’s these people who can integrate ongoing (less glamorous but essential) processes into company culture, such as recycling programs or increasing awareness of things like the need to turn off computers or minimise paper use.