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© Neena Bhandari

The 21-storey ARK building in North Sydney’s Central Business District boasts of cutting-edge environmentally sustainable design, which has earned it a Six Star Green Star  Office v2  Design certification awarded by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

This is the first GBCA-credited Six Star Green Star building design in Australia for Lighting Design Partnership (LDP), which has illuminated the exterior  entry  plaza,  the Aboriginal artwork on the ceiling of the main entrance way and the interior lobby  and lower ground lift lobbies.

While the original office lobby lighting was done by electrical engineers, the contractor Theiss Pty. Ltd. on the recommendation of Rice Daubney architects sought LDP’s expertise to light these special areas. 

“Electrical engineers are generalists whereas the role of independent lighting designers comes into play as specialists. To draw an analogy, for a general advice one goes to a GP (general practitioner), but for more critical areas, one needs a specialist. LDP excels in providing high-level technical solutions to get lighting to work in specific areas,” says Mark Shoolman, Associate Director, Rice Daubney Architects.

“We chose LDP for lighting specialist areas within the building as they have an extra level of expertise. As specialist design consultants, they are sensitive to the design intent, the spatial feel and lighting the finishes in a building,” adds Shoolman.

LDP is one of the few independent lighting design companies, which has invested in the next generation 3D Building Information Modeling (BIM) design process to holistically work with other design teams.  

“We modeled the natural lighting with specific lighting software to calculate how much natural lighting penetrates the building during operational hours and used this information to lower the demand for electric light”, says LDP Senior Associate Kurt Raidy. 

For example, daylight sensors that dynamically adjust light levels were used to conserve energy in the interior lobby. Similarly, the Aboriginal artwork on the ceiling of the main entrance way has been illuminated to reflect the texture of the art work so as to avoid light becoming the object.

While the light fittings are not specifically Green Star rated, limited lamp types (light bulbs) have been used to ease the facility and maintenance engineer’s stocking of different lamp types. 

“In fact, we have used only three lamp types: high efficient linear fluorescent with high CRI (color rendering index), 39W metal halide (a lamp source that is the equal to a 250W incandescent) and a long life cold cathode lamp source”, informs Raidy.

“We have used 33 per cent less energy with 10 watts for every square meter as a maximum base level energy usage. With daylight sensors, the lighting automatically and dynamically changes with the amount of natural light penetrating the building. Therefore, there is an ever greater saving in energy consumption”, adds Raidy.

LDP has been actively engaged in green building designs in other countries that use the United States Global Building Council’s LEED or Leadership and Energy and Environmental Design rating system. LDP Director, Dhruvajyoti Ghose, is one of the few LEED Accredited Professionals in Australia.  

Since its inception in 1998, LEED has grown to encompass more than 14,000 projects in 50 U.S. states and 30 countries covering 1.062 billion square feet (99 km²) of development area.

In Australia, the GBCA promotes green building programs, technologies, design practices and processes, and operates Australia's only national voluntary comprehensive environmental rating system for buildings - Green Star.

At present, there are 151 Certified Green Star Projects in Australia. Here is a state-wise breakdown. (Source: Green Building Council Australia).


The ARK project design incorporates sustainable materials;  a grey water recycling system that captures and stores the rainwater from the roof, stormwater run-off, fire sprinkler test water and air-conditioning condensate water, for re-use; Tri-generation gas turbines have been used to provide energy for electricity, hot water and heating/cooling for the building.

The United Nations highlights buildings as offering the single largest source of cost-effective greenhouse gas abatement. This makes buildings a significant player in the world’s effort to reduce emissions and lighting the green way will go a long way in reducing emissions.

Also see: www.ldp.net

Recommended readings:

Green Building Council Australia:  http://www.gbca.org.au/

United States Green Building Council: http://www.usgbc.org/

Green Globes: http://www.greenglobes.com/
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