The sector that saves energy and water

6 Apr 2017

The Building sector consumes up to 40% of the world’s energy; it is the same sector that has the knowledge, manpower and resources to change the way we produce and use energy and water.

Approximately three billion people are expected to experience water shortages by 2050. Introduced in 2015, the COP21 Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaption involved almost 290 water basin organisations. The aim of the Pact is build water systems that are more resilient to climate impacts.

Centralised cooling networks are at the forefront of managing water sustainably, and they have been for a long time. In fact, it's believed that ancient civilisations had functional water features, including pumps and hydraulics in underground tunnels that had the capability to move water in AD 889. Today, it’s centralised cooling plants around the world that use chilled water to air-condition buildings.  

Water and climate change adaption have been on the COP21 agenda for many years. It’s also been on Lendlease’s agenda. We innovate so that we can create places that are sustainable for the future. 

At Barangaroo South, we have implemented a system that allows water used and produced to be recycled. The District Cooling Plant (DCP) contributes to achieving carbon neutral, water-positive, zero-waste outcomes in Australia and New Zealand. Using Sydney Harbour, the system injects pre-cooled water and, at the same time, rejects the building’s heat. We source the water from toilets, restaurants, rainwater harvesting, and cooling tower backwash, and filter it through the centralised basement plant. We have installed rainwater tanks in each commercial tower to capture and reuse water within the buildings.
Barangaroo South
Another water-saving feature implemented at the regeneration precinct is the blackwater treatment plant, which allows waste-water to be recycled and reused onsite in place of drinking water for flushing irrigation and other non-drinking purposes.

In one year operating at full capacity, Barangaroo South will contribute the equivalent of 70 Olympic swimming pools of recycled water to the surrounding neighborhood.

Anita Mitchell, Head of Sustainability, Europe, said, “In eliminating the need for multiple plants to service each building, the centralised DCP is set to be one of the largest of its kind in Australia. It could also reduce water usage by 100m litres per year, which was previously taken directly from Sydney’s water mains network.”

Similar systems to the DCP are being used around the world, including in Singapore’s Marina Bay financial district. The network is thought to save customers up to 40% on their energy bills. 

In the Americas region, about five kilometres south of Toronto, Enwave Energy Corporation have reduced electricity usage by 90%, and are eliminating 79,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually. They use Lake Ontario to air-condition the building and achieve these outstanding environmental results.