Freshwater Place makes a splash with top water rating

Brendan Rees

A Southbank residential building which achieved an impressive feat of saving more than 26 million litres of water a year has been recognised with a top water rating.

The 62-storey Freshwater Place residential building has been awarded with a 6-Star NABERS [National Australian Built Environment Rating System] water rating, the first to be achieved by an apartment building in Australia.

It comes after the tower at 1 Freshwater Place became the first residential building in Victoria to disclose its water rating under NABERS in 2019.

At the time, a NABERS water rating identified the building as 4 stars as the building’s management and owners’ corporation (OC) worked to introduce a range of savings across its electricity, gas, and water services.

NABERS is an independent and nationally recognised official rating system which provides a fair reflection on a building’s environmental performance.

Adam Vince, senior facilities manager of Freshwater Place, said the award was “great”, but added “to see many more follow suit would be even better”.

“I implore all OCs within the strata space to perform a NABERS rating ASAP,” he said.

“A NABERS rating can not only highlight possible areas for improvement and deliver utility saving, but can also kickstart conversations within your vertical community about their sustainability credentials.”

The water savings initiative was spearheaded by Mr Vince who, along with his team, were able to have its water consumption drop from 39,000 kilolitres in 2019 to 12,000 kilolitres in 2021.

The figure is the equivalent of residents saving 50,000 litres per apartment every year or refilling its 140,000-litre pool about 192 times.

Peter Renner, the OC chairman of Freshwater Place apartments, said the outcome was a “great achievement.”

“Not only is this water reduction a great story for our owners and potential purchasers in conserving a precious commodity, but it also reduces our operating costs which flows through to owners’ levies,” he said.

The team at Freshwater Place achieved its 6-Star NABERS result after “quickly” learning the primary condenser water system was over cooling and evaporating “far more than what was required for the building’s air conditioning systems”.

“To make matters worse, different systems were fighting each  other,” management said.

“By adressing these issues and allowing the systems to run in harmony with each other, a resilient, effective and efficient system now operates.”

Now 16 years old, Freshwater Place has two pools, two spas, two steam rooms, four cooling towers, a car wash and about half an acre of lawn and landscaped gardens •

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