As a multifaceted precinct with major public events, complex infrastructure, cultural institutions and a range of commercial operations, Federation Square faces a unique set of environmental challenges.
In seven years, through close collaboration with tenancies, partners and public stakeholders, Federation Square has reduced its carbon consumption by around 25% and with green energy and carbon offsets purchased is close to carbon neutral. Federation Square is aiming to complete the remaining works associated with its Energy Performance program in late 2014. With the completion of these works, combined with efficiency reductions to date and green energy and carbon offsets, Federation Square will achieve the target of carbon neutrality.
From the start of 2008 through to June 2013 Federation Square has saved approximately 89 million litres of water, increased the amount of recycling by 73%, reduced electricity consumption by over 4.1 million kilowatts and reduced gas consumption by over 12,000 gigajoules.
Long before phrases like carbon footprint became front of mind Federation Square was laying the foundations for environmental sustainability. Beneath the Square for example, lies a concrete labyrinth; a 1.4km passive cooling system, designed to cool The Atrium, Deakin Edge and some public areas during summer and to supplement heating during winter.
Utilising the specific climatic qualities of Melbourne, cool air is pumped through the Labyrinth’s cells at night, cooling the concrete walls. By day, air is gently pumped through the cells, the air cooled in turn by the concrete walls. In winter the Labyrinth’s thermal mass maintains an inherent warming potential that can be supplemented as required. The system directs air to The Atrium, dispersed by use of a low-velocity displacement system at floor level. In peak summer conditions, the Labyrinth is capable of delivering air to The Atrium at up to 12°C below the external temperature. This system uses one tenth of the energy used by conventional air conditioning and drastically reduces carbon emissions.
Further design features include: double glazing on all external windows, a sleep mode for escalators, variable speed drives on A/C pumps and a hermetic seal in The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, which reduces air conditioning requirements by over 50%.
Fed Square Pty Ltd has a comprehensive environmental management plan that underpins daily operations. This plan focuses on the delivery of environmental sustainability measures across six categories: water, waste, energy, air, noise and landscaping.
As a result of this plan Federation Square has implemented a range of initiatives including:
- Installation of water tanks
- Upgrade works to the Cooling Towers to improve water efficiency
- Installation of a rainwater filtration system in the Fed Square Car Park
- Installation of waterless urinals and AAA showerheads
- Implementation of commingle and paper recycling across the site
- Introduction of organic recycling across the site
- Installation of thermal energy meters to monitor air conditioning usage
- Installation of sensor lighting in key areas
- Purchase of Green Energy for all events in the Square, FSPL offices and the Fed Square Car Park
- Tenant education and awareness of water efficient devices
Federation Square is also taking part in the Greener Government Building program which is aimed at implementing improvements and efficiencies across the site to reduce water consumption and carbon emissions.
Federation Square takes a lead role in sustainable partnerships with the community and environmental groups. Each year, Federation Square hosts the Sustainable Living Festival, Earth Hour, Fair@Square and many other promotional activities including clothing exchanges, sustainable architecture forums and environmental exhibitions.
Federation Square is also using its diverse program of events and activations to promote sustainable living to the public. In 2012, the Fed Square Pop Up Patch was established in partnership with Little Veggie Patch Co. The vegetable garden on the car park roof that houses 176 garden plots, which are available for lease. Subscribers thus far are mostly city dwellers who wish to grow their own fresh vegetables but don’t have space in their apartments. Now they can access their plot seven days a week and are given expert guidance by Little Veggie Patch Co. The aim of the Fed Square Pop Up Patch is to promote sustainable living and, with the precinct receiving close to 10 million visits last financial year, it is the best location in Melbourne to do so. Each restaurant and café in the precinct has been allocated a patch and the produce grown will be used in their daily specials. The garden will also be used as a venue space for activities such as Patch to Plate, Federation Square’s event for the 2013 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
Federation Square is also working with Melbourne City Rooftop Bees on the establishment of 10 beehives on the roof of the Alfred Deakin Building (ACMI). Of all the food we eat, 65 per cent is dependent on honey bee pollination, yet honey bees in Australia are at high threat from Asian honey bees, varroa mite and colony collapse disorder. Federation Square’s rooftop apiary will produce in excess of 35 kilograms of honey, which will be used in the restaurants and cafés on site and be a feature of public events within Fed Square’s ongoing program of food and wine events.