Central Park has cemented its position as an industry leader in sustainable operations by achieving its long-held goal of offsetting the carbon emissions generated by its operations.
Perron Group and Frasers Centrepoint, owners of Central Park, have offset the carbon emissions generated by operating the building's core services, excluding those areas occupied by the tenants, through the purchase of Gold Standard carbon credits
Central Park's carbon Neutral Program involved three facets:
Firstly, the carbon footprint of the buildings operations was determined. A task force was established and, Lincoln Scoll consultants engaged to assist Central Park Management with this and guide us through the process. As no clear "carbon neutral" guidelines are available for existing commercial buildings the task force set out to define the boundaries of the building operations.
After some deliberations, it was agreed that all carbon emissions generated from the base building areas including the lighting and air conditioning of common areas and operation of the lifts was to be included, but that all energy expended in the tenanted areas and car park was to be excluded. Embodied energy was also excluded as it would be practically impossible to determine this for an existing building.
The carbon emissions generated by these services, including the fuel oil used by the generators, was calculated for the previous year based on recorded data collected over the period. The waste generated by the building management and maintenance staff was also weighed over a four week period and the data recorder extrapolated over the year.
Travel records were obtained from the accounting system of all business related travel, both by air and locally by taxi. An estimate was also made of other local trips for which costs were not recovered. Based on the above data the carbon footprint of the building was quantified.
Secondly, as a result of an active energy management program, energy consumption of the base building services is continually being reduced. Over the past five years, savings of 29% have been achieved and further substantial savings are being targeted over the next fewyears.
The building was well built and incorporates energy efficient plant which through careful management and numerous minor improvements has outperformed its peers over numerous years.
In conjunction with the low energy consumption of the system, carbon emissions were further minimised by the purchase of approximately 15% Green Power. As a consequence Central Park was the first commercial building in Australia to achieve a 4 ½ star ABGR rating and maintained this rating for over five years. In 2011 Central Park improved their rating to 5 Star NABERS with ½ star of Green Power and in 2012 further improved the rating to 5 stars excluding Green Power.
Lastly, offsets were purchased to negate the effects of the carbon emitted. The carbon credits purchased are being generated in Western Australia by Carbon Neutral, formerly AusCarbon, through the re-vegetation of marginal farmland. The program will return farm land that is no longer economically viable to farm and in danger of being lost to salinity to its original forested state. In the process or re-vegetating the land, carbon is captured in the growth. Carbon Neutral provides high quality Gold Standard carbon offsets from it's Canna biosequestration project, on land it owns.
A further major benefit of this project is the increase in vegetative biomass and subsequent reduction in salt degradation, water logging and wind and water erosion. New habitats for flora and fauna will also be created. The offsets purchased were initially certified by the Federal Government under the Greenhouse Friendly program, but are now Gold Standard certified. The Gold Standard is a globally recognised premium quality carbon
standard that verifies project benefits beyond just carbon abatement
system. Carbon Neutral's Yarra
Yarra Biodiversity Corridor is the first Australian carbon emissions reduction project to receive the prestigious global Gold Standard certification
Degraded farmland, seen here in the foreground, is replanted with vegetation native to the area and allowed to recover.
Native species of plants compatible with the local climate and soil conditions are used to mimic the original flora found in the area.
A range of endemic mixed species are used to create substantial biodiversity to maximise growth and enhance long term resilience. The biodiversity also results in an increase in habitat for native animals.
A high quality management and project team with decades of experience in broadacre planting of trees and management of forests has assembled. Planting is carried out in degraded parcels of land between areas that are still viable to farm. This reduces the stress on the farmed areas and minimises the risk of it also becoming degraded.
The re-vegetated area must not be cropped and must be guaranteed to remain undisturbed for a period of at least 70 years.
Additional details on Carbon Neutral can be found at http://carbonneutral.com.au/
Whilst the project excludes the leased and tenanted areas, we have offered to work with our tenants to help them achieve a similar result in the areas that they control.