Melbourne Convention Center going for the green


As part of achieving a ‘6 Star Green Star’ certification for the new Melbourne Convention Center, Plenary Group and its construction contractor Brookfield Multiplex, needed to source a forest that was able to supply sustainable Australian native timber to cover 8,500 square meters of ceiling and wall paneling.

The timber had to be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and the designers, together with industry experts, found themselves heading north, just inland from Newcastle, northern New South Wales, where Eucalyptus Maculata, otherwise known as spotted gum, is grown more prevalently in conditions which comply with FSC standards.

FSC is an international not-for-profit organization devoted to guarantee the responsible management of the world’s forests. Its stringent chain-of-custody regulations ensure that from the raw materials in the forest, all the way to the consumer – the entire supply chain – is involved in the certification process.

Brookfield Multiplex design manager Simeon Lloyd has been working on the project for the past 18 months. One of his tasks was to source the FSC certified timber. “The FSC logo guarantees that the timber you’re buying is from the sustainable, well-managed forest that it’s supposed to be from,” said Simeon.

“Eighteen months ago there was very little FSC certified timber in Australia, so one of the challenges was to source the timber within Australia and not have to import it from overseas. We used a very small number of trees in the end, with a total of 56 native trees being made into veneer panels to cover 8,500 square meters of finished product,” Simeon added.

Plenary Group’s Peter Endall has been leading the multidisciplinary team from Plenary, Brookfield Multiplex and Advanced Environmental, that achieved the 6 Star Green Star rating.

“We needed to achieve a total of 75 points from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) to have the new Melbourne Convention Center rated as 6 Star Green Star,” said Peter. “Part of those points needed to be generated by using FSC certified timber.

“The tender brief specified that we must achieve a GBCA 4 Star Green Star rating which represents ‘Best Practice’. Plenary wanted to do better than this and while a 5 Star Green Star certification acknowledges ‘Australian Excellence’, we made a commitment from the outset to achieve a 6 Star Green Star certified rating which recognizes a ‘World Leader’,” Peter said.

The GBCA developed the Green Star rating tool to measure, recognize and reward environmental leadership in the building industry. Each Green Star covers a number of categories which are divided into credits, with points awarded for each credit obtained. There are nine categories within the Green Star rating including: tools; management; indoor environment quality; energy; transport; water; materials; land use and ecology; emissions and innovation.

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center chief executive Leigh Harry said, “The 6 Star Green Star accreditation reflects the center’s commitment to an environmentally sustainable business and industry.

“The new Melbourne Convention Center will not only be exceptional in its appearance but will be one of the most impressive architectural and environmental buildings in Australia.”

Each year, Industry Capability Network (ICN) Victoria recognizes and awards companies for their outstanding contributions to local industry.

In 2007, Brookfield Multiplex picked up the Victorian Industry Participation Policy (VIPP) Award for maximizing local content in the development of the new Melbourne Convention Center.

As well, the Laminex Group was the winner in the 2007 Large Company category for developing a new FSC certified timber veneer product for the new Melbourne Convention Center to achieve ‘world class’ environmental standards with the assistance of ICN.