The first net zero carbon office building in Canberra is now under construction.

The 13,200sqm ACT Government Office, designed by Bates Smart, is located in the DKSN precinct in Dickson, and is set for completion in 2020.

According to Doma Development general manager Gavin Edgar, the ACT Government’s commitment to climate change leadership will result in 100 percent of the ACT’s electricity sourced from renewable electricity from the year 2020. Doma is working in collaboration with the ACT Government, as the anchor tenant for 20 years, and consulting engineers Rudds to design the building with an all-electric heating, cooling and ventilation system as opposed to a gas fired system.

The Dickson office building will be the first one in the ACT to turn to an all-electric system for its heating and cooling needs. This solution draws both heating and cooling for the building from a combination of water cooled and air-cooled heat pump chillers, which bear the capability to reverse their mode of operation and produce either chilled water of heating hot water.

While this all-electric form of technology has been implemented in other nations, it has not been extensively tested in climates that liken Canberra’s, where temperatures vary significantly across seasons.

The chiller mechanisms have been optimised to handle the peak heating loads in wintertime and cooling in summertime, as well as manage other seasons where both heating and cooling services are needed.

To help enhance thermal comfort, radiant slab heating is being used in the ground level entrance lobby and atrium. Additionally, a wide variety of solar roof panels is being installed to generate power and reduce utility bills.

The building’s innovative features are intended to create an environmentally friendly, zero emissions building in tune with an ACT Government policy of having 100 percent of the Territory’s electricity sourced from renewable electricity, thus demonstrating the feasibility of this technology to industry in Canberra and beyond.

The building is set for completion in the year 2020.