Council House 2

  • Exterior street facade showing sun shading devices
    Exterior street facade showing sun shading devices
  • Exterior view showing shower towers
    Exterior view showing shower towers
  • Interior view of office showing chilled beam
    Interior view of office showing chilled beam
  • Exterior side showing balconies
    Exterior side showing balconies

The City of Melbourne aims to achieve zero emissions for the municipality by 2020. A major contribution to this strategy is the reduction in energy consumption of commercial buildings by 50%. Council House 2 (CH2), located at 218-240 Little Collins St in Melbourne, was piloted in an effort to provide a working example of sustainable building for the local development market. The brief was for a design that relied on passive energy systems as far as possible, while still producing a premium grade building.

Description of project

DesignInc worked in collaboration with the City of Melbourne to design a commercial space that promotes a more interactive role between the city and nature. The design emphasis was aimed at not only utilising the latest sustainable design concepts, but to meet the stringent requirements of the (then-newly developed) Green Star Rating process. The result exceeded expectation with CH2 being awarded Australia’s First 6 Star Green Star rating for a commercial office building. Initiatives incorporated in the design include 100% fresh air throughout the building, extensive daylight to all floors, heat removal through thermal mass, chilled beam and ceiling units. Innovative waste water harvesting, purification and storage were introduced. Cooling systems such as internal air purging assisted by roof turbines, shower towers to cool water and purify air were also implemented. The economic and environmental benefits achieved exceeded expectations.

Project team
  • City of Melbourne
  • DesignInc
Project cost

$51 million

Health value

Designing a building to work with its occupants and natural surrounds has produced a healthier work environment for the City of Melbourne’s 550 staff. The building provides 100% fresh air to all occupants with one complete air change every half hour. The design also provides extensive daylight to all floors and has used non-toxic building materials where possible.

Economic value

CH2 occupies the same net lettable area as the Council’s previous building but consumes 85% less energy, 87% less gas and 72% less potable mains water. Not only does this provide environmental benefits but also considerable cost savings. Conservative estimates on energy costs see the building paying for all its innovation within five to ten years.

Environmental value

CH2 emits 60% less CO2 than a five star (highest) base building rating under the Australian Building Greenhouse Rating Scheme. The design has achieved these results through a combination of local practices and international design innovation that includes: • The use of recycled concrete and timber • Rooftop energy generation via wind turbines, photovoltaic cells, solar hot water and gas fired co-generation plants • Chilled panels and shower towers to assist with cooling • A ‘night purge’ system where windows automatically open overnight to assist with cooling and ventilation.

Use value

One of the project’s main objectives was to produce high end, sustainable design that could be duplicated in other building projects. CH2 challenges developers and investors to alter priorities from high-energy-use buildings, to those that are sustainable in the long-term. The lessons learnt by CH2 can be shared with the industry to promote successful green building and development in the future.


For further information about CH2 click here.

Type of project
Building, Development Principals
Scale of project
Individual Site