EY Centre: A new era in smart building design

One of Australia's most environmentally-friendly skyscrapers, EY Centre at 200 George Street, has not only changed Sydney’s skyline but also the behaviour of its occupants thanks to a slew of sustainability features and activity based working environments.

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Located in the heart of the city’s financial and cultural districts, EY Centre’s cost and operating efficiencies coupled with a collaborative and high performing workplace culture, heralds a new era in smart building design.

Spanning 37 storeys and showcasing 38,650 square metres of premium grade office space, the $625 million skyscraper has set a new global benchmark in smart building construction. Featuring interactive technologies that monitor air quality, power and water usage, and design features that adjust to the needs and nuances of its occupants, EY Centre’s 6 Star Green Star – Office Design (v3) rating, 6 Star Green Star As-Built rating and 5 Star NABERS Energy rating makes it one of Australia’s most environmentally-friendly buildings. Mirvac’s headquarters is also the first to achieve a GOLD WELL Certification in Australia.

Designed by architectural firm Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT) and opened in June 2016, the jointly owned Mirvac Property Trust and AMP Capital Wholesale Office Fund high-rise features a high-tech “environmental skin” courtesy of automated timber blinds, vertical timber shading elements and three layers of performance glazing. This closed cavity façade system is the first time it has been used in Australia. It’s also entirely lit by eco-friendly light emitting diodes (LED) – the first in Australia – resulting in reduced power consumption costs, improved lighting efficiency, lower maintenance cycles, and a reduction of landfill during the life of the fitting.

The sustainably sourced timber blinds, which rotate 180-degrees, have been treated to prevent fading or warping in the sun.

Additional sustainability features include high levels of natural light, high volumes of fresh air intake, a combination of active chilled beams and variable air volume (VAV) systems, improved air quality via use of low volatile organic compounds (VOC), world-class end of trip facilities, electric vehicle charging sockets, water recycling facilities, and intelligent monitoring and control systems.

To encourage tenants to leave their cars at home, the building includes 257 secure bicycle spaces, including an additional 50 for visitors.

Mirvac’s General Manager, Workplace Experiences, Paul Edwards, said a Living Lab housing a slew of interactive technologies is used to measure air quality, power and water usage, enabling adjustment according to the demands of the building and its occupants.

“We have eight dashboards that distil all of the building’s technical data for Mirvac’s tenancy including things like temperatures, lift use and water consumption, which are then displayed on giant screens in the lift lobbies and on level 28,” explains Paul.

Mirvac’s headquarters also utilises and leverages technology to connect and collaborate staff, including Smart Tenancy, a smartphone application that uses location based services to create an engaging user experience.

“The app includes a tour that blips each time you walk close to a beacon and tells you information about that space,” explains Paul. “There’s also a sustainability tour, which looks at all the headquarters’ features, including the different materials and plants we’ve used, information about the lighting, and what we’ve done with the space.”

Mirvac’s Smart Tenancy app includes a sustainability tour that highlights the building’s green credentials, including information about materials and LED lighting.

In addition to providing information about the local amenities, the digital building user guide also has a map feature that not only lists transport options should building users and visitors have a meeting in the city but how much carbon they’ll save if they walk there or use other forms of transport.

“It’s really about providing the right information so people can make informed decisions,” says Paul.

Transforming the way we work

Mirvac’s new headquarters in the EY Centre occupies six levels and, from the interconnected network of internal staircases to the ability to leverage informal, casual spaces for catch ups, its progressive workspace is designed to encourage day-today behavioural change in employees.

A central network of stairs connects Mirvac’s headquarters encouraging collaboration and communication, and boosting incidental exercise for the building’s office workers.

Mirvac’s Program Manager, James Harvey, says he has already seen numerous benefits thanks to Mirvac’s headquarters activity based working environment.

“Mirvac has become more efficient with space, reduced our carbon footprint, instantly become a highly mobile organisation, formalised flexibility into policy, and produced a happier and more engaged workforce,” he explains. “It’s also given staff a stronger sense of productivity as line of sight management is a thing of the past. Outcome based roles are now in line with a cultural shift but they still need to be managed correctly with constant communication.

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