When Melbourne decided to create a new building to complement their existing offices, they decided to set an example to the rest of the Australia. Completed in 2006, Melbourne’s Council House 2 building, or CH2, as it is known, is the first building in Australia to achieve a six star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.

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The 10 storey building was designed by DesignInc in conjunction with the City of Melbourne and is located on Little Collins Street. CH2 obtained the six green star in part because of it’s many innovative and technological features including photovoltaic cells, chilled ceilings, blackwater sewage recycling systems, all within a budget of 50 million Australian dollars.

But by far the most striking features of CH2 are its recycled timber louvers controlled by photovoltaic cells and the five shower towers, 1.4 meters in diameter and 13 meters long, that draw air from over 17 meters above street level, in which water droplets evaporate slightly as they use up energy and thus cool the air. Shower towers lower air temperatures to around 21°C (from around 35°C) and lower water temperatures to 12°C.

Other features worthy of notice are wind-powered turbines which will help cool the building at night, internal thermal mass, a gas fired co-generation plan, as well as the recycling of the waste heat generated inside the building for their heating/cooling system.

It is expected that the sustainability features of the building will have paid themselves in a period of about 10 years. All that plus the expected increases in productivity, lower maintenance costs and bragging rights for the city make CH2 one of the finest examples of Australian sustainable architecture. For considerably more information, including a detailed report on the building, visit the City of Melbourne CH2 website.

+ CH2 Melbourne