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Iconic Sydney Opera House becomes a Green Star

One of Australia’s most recognisable landmarks, the Sydney Opera House, has been awarded a 4 Star Green Star – Performance rating by the Green Building Council of Australia.

The announcement was made this morning by NSW deputy premier and minister for the arts Troy Grant, along with GBCA chief executive Romilly Madew and Sydney Opera House buildings director Greg McTaggart.

The Opera House now joins a small handful of World Heritage buildings that have achieved green certification globally.

“This is an amazing achievement,” Ms Madew said on the stage of the Concert Hall, which was bathed in green LED light for the occasion. “If you think about this project most buildings in Australia that have achieved a Green Star rating – we’ve had 970 achieve a Green Star rating – 860 of those have been new buildings. So only 100 have achieved a Performance rating. This would really have to be the most challenging of all those buildings that have achieved a rating.

“They have laid down the gauntlet to the whole industry in Australia to say, ‘We can achieve a Green Star rating on performance… which mean you can for your buildings too.’

She said that there was a view that it was “too hard” to upgrade existing buildings, but the Opera House had shown that is was possible.

“If you can green the Opera House, you can green anything,” Ms Madew said.

Mr Grant said the rating had “set the standard for all buildings across the state”.

“The Opera House is an icon of Sydney and a symbol of modern Australia so it’s vital that it sets the standard,” he said. “The endorsement of the Opera House by the GBCA sends a clear message that green buildings don’t have to be new – even the most recognisable and historic landmarks can earn a place among the most celebrated sustainable buildings in the world.”

Sustainability projects implemented to help achieve the Performance rating include:

  • a seawater cooling system for HVAC
  • a “chilled ceiling” design to help control temperature
  • lighting control system
  • LED upgrades with a “heritage lighting” setting that has led to a 75 per cent reduction in electricity consumption and the saving of $70,000 a year
  • development of a range of eco-friendly cleaning methods
  • staff sustainability training
  • an operational waste management plan in line with the Better Buildings Partnership best practice guidelines
  • end of trip facilities
  • a Reconciliation Action Plan

This story was republished with permission from The Fifth Estate and was originally published here.

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