Karratha, one of the largest and fastest growing towns in the north of Western Australia, is now home to the first 5-star energy rated green industrial building in Western Australia, and one of only a few in Australia.
Located 1,535km north of Perth, Karratha has emerged as the administration centre for the Pilbara region with Hamersley Iron, Dampier Salt and the petroleum and liquefied natural gas operations of the North West Shelf Venture now a major part of the region’s rapidly growing economy.
To service the expanding demand for industrial supplies, Blackwoods has built one of the most exciting and environmentally friendly industrial buildings in the country. One that sets the standard for others to follow.
Rob Clarke, Blackwoods’ Regional Operations Manager, played a key role in the building’s design and is understandably very proud of the finished building, which was officially opened in March.
“There is no other building like this in the Pilbara. Its state-of-the-art and I’m very proud of what we have achieved. It will see us well into the future.“
We had over 40 of our key suppliers come up for the opening event, as well as many, many customers from the region. Feedback was very positive, with many saying they didn’t believe someone would build a building this size and capacity in a town like Karratha,” Clarke said.
Achieving the 5-Star Green Rating
Clarke explained that the project brief required the building to achieve a 5-Star Green Star Industrial v1 Design and As Built rating.“While 60 points are required to achieve a 5-star rating from the Green Star Industrial V1 technical manual, the building has the potential to accumulate a total of 65 points.
“And being located regionally made accomplishing the required points tougher as certain Green Star points which could have been achieved in metro areas such as points for the availability of public transport, could not be attained,” he said.
To accumulate the rating points: The solar panel system supplying the facility with the majority of its power is the first of its kind in the region. It is believed to be the largest photovoltaic system installed on an industrial building in Western Australia. When combined with the other energy efficiency features of the building, this building will contribute 85% less greenhouse emissions than the standard industrial building. The solar panels use an innovative control system that integrates the building in and out of the power grid according to requirements at a gradual rate so as to not adversely impact on the power supply to the neighbouring buildings and nearby community.
All grey waste water is treated via a water recycling system that treats the water from the building to be reused for toilet flushing. The black-water is treated and then used with a sub-soil dripper system to provide irrigation water required by the site. This water recycling system results in a 50% reduction in the quantity of potable water consumed by the development and eliminates the requirement for municipal treatment of sewerage.
Induction lights are used to reduce the overall energy required for warehouse lighting instead of the metal halide lights generally used for standard warehouses. With the addition of roof lights and daylight sensors, the warehouse lighting load has been reduced by 80% to that of a standard industrial building.
The internal racking layout and warehouse ventilation system has been laid out to encourage best possible air movement through the warehouse.
The offices utilise insulated plasterboard ceilings and walls which are fully vapour sealed to cope with the hot environment, reduce the risk of interstitial condensation and mould and minimise energy usage for cooling and heating. Heavy insulation has been incorporated in the warehouse roofing to prevent heat radiation from the metal cladding.
As part of the Green Star requirements, building tuning will be carried out at various intervals across the first 24 months of operation. The tuning involves checks on all Building Management Systems (BMS) to ensure they are operating at maximum efficiency. A building tuning specialist has been engaged for this process.
Energy and water savings
Clarke says the accreditation of the Karratha facility will be the only 5 Star Green Star Industrial Design rated facility in Western Australia and only the third Australia wide.
“To make this even more impressive, the building is also targeting a 5 Star Green Star ‘As Built’ rating.”
Through its 5 star Green Star specifications (including insulation, sealing, lighting, ventilation and water recycling) Clarke estimates the building will save Blackwoods considerable costs in energy and water over the building’s lifetime.
Clarke explained that the building has over 200 solar panels on the roof, making it the largest system on an industrial building in Western Australia, which produces 20 to 25% of the building’s electricity needs.
“And to reduce electricity consumption, most of the lighting in the building is controlled by sophisticated motion and light sensors.
“In any area of the building, the control system measures what natural lighting is in the building at the time, and it will make the decision to dim the lights or make the lights brighter, but if the area doesn’t need lights, they won’t be on.
“With all the rooms in the building, the lighting comes on automatically, when needed, when someone walks in.
“There are also air lockers between the office and the warehouse so cooled air does not escape as people move from one area to another.