A new benchmark for sustainable and socially responsible design in Brisbane

Queensland, Australia

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Image credit: Woods Bagot

Brisbane’s Heritage Lanes is a 35-storey premium commercial tower with 74,000m2 of Gross Floor Area. Completed earlier this year, the building at 80 Ann Street is a celebration of place and heritage through the retention of the original Brisbane Market and the development of an inclusive and vibrant community which includes a new cross-block public laneway known as ‘Market Lane’, an urban garden, arbour, and reflection pool. 

AECOM provided sustainability and wellness consultancy services, BIM, and structural and civil engineering on this iconic project which is set to become an Australian benchmark for sustainable and socially responsible design. In its design, we targeted carbon neutrality, 6 Star Green Star rating through the Green Building Council of Australia (World Excellence), 5.5 Star NABERS Energy rating, 4.5 Star NABERS Water rating, and WELL Platinum. We are also managing the WELL Interior Gold rating submission for Mirvac’s office fit-out located on level 14 of the building.    

The Heritage Lanes Climate and Operational Adaptation Plan ensures that its design and construction is resilient to natural disasters due to climate change events. The building has been designed with supplementary passive cooling devices such as awnings, louvres, and sliding doors on open-air levels, as well as a design allowance for additional mechanical capacity, and the use of solar energy.  

‘This Changes Everything’ 

Developed by Mirvac, Heritage Lanes is aligned with the organisation’s ‘This Changes Everything’ strategy which sets out a clear sustainability vision with targets including achieving net positive carbon, net positive water, and sending zero waste to landfill – all by 2030. In addition, Mirvac aims to leave a net positive legacy that would see strong community investment and social impact.  

Heritage Lanes is fully electrified with an energy intensity of 54.4 kWh/sqm per year. In comparison, an average minimum compliance office building in this part of Australia might consume over 139.9 kWh/sqm per year. This approach gives Mirvac the ability to source renewable energy via commercial arrangements such as energy supply agreements (ESAs). 

For 25 percent of the year, multiple floors of the building will maintain comfortable working conditions using mechanically assisted natural ventilation – no small feat in Brisbane’s subtropical climate. To limit the need for heating and cooling, the building’s façade limits the transfer of solar radiation and automatically opens panels under the right conditions. Light-filled spaces with Australian native plant species also offer users and visitors a breathable space to interact with nature, encouraging health and wellbeing benefits. Greenery continues up the rise of the tower through planting along vertical spines. 

Driving better sustainability and wellness outcomes across the operation of the building 

Tenants were engaged to ensure that Heritage Lanes minimises its environmental impact across the full operation of the building, with outcomes including: 

  • Integration of the Suncorp fit-out and brief requirements within the ESD strategy and the WELL strategy, which required a high level of collaboration and investigation into equivalent pathways. These equivalencies need to satisfy contractual obligations between Mirvac and Suncorp as well as the technical requirements of the Green Star and WELL ratings. 
  • Ten percent of all parking spaces have Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers, with the capacity to increase this to forty percent with future upgrades to electrical infrastructure. All tenants have been offered the necessary EV infrastructure provision at no additional cost. 
  • 80 Ann Street will be a fully electrified base building, targeting net zero carbon in operation through the adoption of a Zero Carbon Action Plan. Through consultation and education initiatives, Mirvac has decommissioned gas supplementary systems to all office tenants, reduced the amount of gas in retail spaces and offered incentive schemes for retail tenants to opt-out or phase-out gas cooking.   
  • Collaboration with suppliers was undertaken to assess their products in terms of both sustainable procurement initiatives and circularity, and the positive impacts their products have had on the greater circular economy outcomes of the project. Materials for the structure, systems, and finishes within the building were extensively analysed and given a Responsible Product Value Score. Through thorough engagement and consultation, several suppliers committed to investigating and adopting initiatives to increase the sustainability of their products.    
  • Selection of the best available sustainable concrete mix with up to 50 percent reduction in Portland cement through the structure, with enhanced material precaution through stringent selection reducing overall upfront or embodied carbon emissions.  
  • All finishes within the base building have been scrutinised to ensure air quality meets the highest WELL thresholds for occupants.   
  • Often forgotten basement spaces for facilities staff have been designed with circadian lighting, air quality monitoring, and other wellness features such as ergonomic desks and chairs and personal thermal comfort devices.