HQ Development Wins Engineering Excellence Awards

AE Smith’s commitment to excellence in providing sustainable building services and construction solutions that deliver energy efficient results has once again been recognised with three 2011 Queensland Engineering Excellence Awards

6 Jan 2012

Brisbane Construction’s work on HQ Development by Leighton Contractors took out awards in three categories at the prestigious event for Buildings & Structures, Environment; and Sustainability.

The acknowledgement follows recognition by the Green Building Council of Australia of the project as a world leader (6 Green Stars) in environmentally sustainable office design, having attained a 60% reduction in greenhouse emissions and a top energy ranking from the National Australian Built Environmental Rating System (NABERS).

A landmark twin tower development located in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, HQ has set new standards in environmental design and construction.

Other features of the development that heralds sustainability and user comfort include 50 per cent more fresh air than normal office buildings; atriums to maximise natural light and foliage; the use of low volatile organic compound fittings as well as rainwater harvesting and water-efficient fixtures.

According to Steve Jackson, General Manager of Brisbane Construction, the development – which comprises 41,200m2 of commercial office space, 2,800m2 of retail outlets, and a 2,500m2 central public plaza – represents a new approach to smarter, greener buildings.

“In challenging best practice in the built environment, this development achieves significant energy and water efficiencies, emission and waste reductions and demonstrates a high quality indoor environment,” Steve said.

He adds that the AE Smith Brisbane team are particularly proud of their involvement in the installation and integration of a progressive cogeneration plant as part of the development, which is recognised world-wide as an important step forward in the sustainable building design.

Cogeneration is the simultaneous production of electrical energy and thermal energy, also referred to as combined heat and power (CHP). 

Cogeneration and trigeneration power plants have a third of the emissions associated with producing electricity from coal power plants and the increased efficiency resulting from cogeneration means less greenhouse emissions.

Mark Medley, Design Manager – Power Generation in the Brisbane office, says the HQ ‘cogen’ plant (pictured left) uses a 2-stage absorption chiller, utilising reclaimed heat from the gas engines’ exhaust and jacket water.

“The unit installed at HQ uses a gas burner – an optional element – which can directly fire the absorber to either run the absorber while the engine is off, or ‘top-up’ the heat coming from the engine as required,” Mark explains. “This unit, manufactured by Broad, produces chilled water from the heat recovered from the engine for use on site,” he adds.

Next on the list of groundbreaking projects for AE Smith in Brisbane is the billion-dollar Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCH) development, which will see a trigeneration system capable of delivering up to 6MVA of electrical energy to be utilised on site or optionally any excess electrical energy can be supplied and sold back into the network. The trigeneration system will also deliver up to 2.1MVA of recovered thermal energy for use throughout the QCH project.

The QCH project represents the first time AE Smith (or any competitor) have been contracted to delivered a total turnkey cogeneration solution to the market. Past projects required the clients specified scope of works to be split between the mechanical and electrical contractors when delivering a cogeneration solution. AE Smith can supply our clients a “One Stop Shop” for design and delivery of turnkey co/trigeneration projects.

Steve Jackson says AE Smith’s experience and ability to integrate cogeneration into broader systems is crucial in remaining on the front line of construction and service delivery for clients.

“Historically, electrical contractors were typically responsible for delivering the cogeneration elements in a commercial office building project,” he says. “What this and AE Smith’s previous successes involving cogeneration mean, is that we now have the demonstrated capability to design and install cogen as part of our broader mechanical services delivery.”

“While there are undoubtedly other mechanical services companies that share the knowledge around this technology, there is a big difference between knowing and doing when it comes to helping customers achieve their cogeneration commercial objectives,” Steve says. “We are all about the doing – and these Engineering Excellence Awards alongside our other successes show that what we do, we do very well.”