Department of Social Services Headquarters

Northrop was engaged for sustainability services on the $172 million Department of Social Services (DSS) headquarters project in the ACT for Cromwell Property Group. Completed in September 2017, it was a joint venture by FDC Construction & Fitout and Richard Crookes Constructions. The DSS remained in its existing office while it was extended and then relocated to a new office on the same site.
Northrop sustainability services included 5 Star Green Star for offices, v3 Design and As Built ratings, a 5 Star Green Star Office Interiors v1.1 rating, and a 4.5 star NABERS for the offices energy commitment agreement. This included modelling and independent design review, section J modelling, general ESD advice as well as the production of water, energy and indoor environment management plans to ensure compliance with government efficiency standards. 
The major sustainability features of the DSS project included a large central atrium to bring light into the centre of the building; efficient lighting coupled with motion sensors and a DALI lighting control system; a multi-stage series chiller configuration designed to very efficiently cool the building; and a lower than standard window to wall ratio to minimise heat gains and losses.
Other sustainability features included low volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde materials to improve the indoor environment and minimise internal irritants. There was a strong focus on commissioning and tuning, with the project implementing the CIBSE Soft Landings Framework, and the integration of End of Trip facilities and public transport links to support sustainable transport options. 
Monitoring of energy, water and waste consumption rates and provision 
of education around these measures was also a major feature along with future integration of onsite renewable energy – a 200kW solar array; use of sustainable steel, and 40% reduction in Portland cement in concrete.
The project has been very successful, performing with an energy use of about 30% lower than required under the lease agreement. This has led to significant operational cost savings and significantly improves the project yield. As such, the asset is more valuable and provides a greater return to the real estate trust it is held within.
Photography: Fretwell Photography and Cathy Taylor Photography
Construction Value
$172 million

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