Brisbane’s Forza Capital, a fund manager that elevates the sustainability and efficiency standards of aging buildings, has attained a six star NABERS energy rating for a South Brisbane office building.

The 4081 square metre building at 55 Russell Street was purchased for $23.5 million in early 2019, with 33 per cent vacancy.

The building is leased in full for about $500 a sq m gross to government tenants and can provide a rare (many say only) 6 star NABERS rating for a whole standing structure, and only one of a half dozen buildings in all that can elevate the highest NABERS rating.

Furthermore, the upgrade from 4 to 6 stars has been achieved at a low cost.

Company director Adam Murchie said that the upgrade cost about $100,000, this owing to what he calls “low hanging fruit.”

Was extra value taken into account for the property from a valuation vantage point, given the fact that rentals have not shifted from their initial level? Murchie believes that the building does reap that additional value, as it now supplied efficiency gains and reliable security features. He believes this system works, financially and holistically.

The work was easy, as it involved the rejigging of the 100-kilowatt solar array on the roof, honing the metering, retuning the structure as a whole, says Murchie. It was all about ensuring that the BMS [building management systems] is in proper working order—a process which also involved installing LED lights with sensors and enhanced metering of the space, allowing you to differentiate common from tenant space.

Fellow director Ashley Wain stated that a good number of the sustainability improvements were completed inexpensively, allowing for the repositioning of the asset and the enhancement of operating cash flows.

The work was managed in partnership with K2 Private Property, whose senior facilities manager Aidan Lambeth asserted that it is frequently about guaranteeing that a building operates in the manner it is designed, and about ensuring that the plant is maintained and monitored in an efficient manner.

Forza asserted that other buildings with this rating are 111 Eagle Street, 123 Eagle Street, 1 William Street, – all located in the CBD – and 100 Skyring Terrace, Newstead, and 2 King Street, Bowen Hills.

Murchie stated that the transformative process was an ideal fit for the team, which strives to extend itself to enhance standing assets.

At 420 George Street, Brisbane, the team in charge morphed a 0 NABERS star rated building into a 5 Star rated building.

At 10 Browning Street in South Brisbane, which occupies the same street as the firm’s Russell Street building, also boasting a 100 kW solar array, the company strives to morph the 11,200 sq m office from a NABERS rating of 3 to 5 stars. Purchased for $65.5 million in 2016, extra work includes the addition of trip facilities and the upgrade of lighting in the building’s structure’s parking area via LED lights.

Murchie stressed that the tenet of sustainability formed the core of all these ventures; a tenet that, in his and many other minds, also should form the core of tomorrow’s built environment.