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FKP Building Solar High-Rise (Brisbane, Australia)

Credits: ©2007 NABERS

When Forrester Kurts Properties was planning the FKP Building, a 21-story high-rise office development in Brisbane’s central business district, eco-efficiency and sustainability principles were incorporated into both construction and operation of the building. The result is a building that set a new benchmark, back in 2002 when it was built, for cost-effective energy and water service delivery in commercial high-rise buildings in Australia. The FKP Building (also known as the William Buck Centre and the Hall Chadwick Building) incorporates an innovative solar power system including 60 kW of photovoltaic panels built into the roof, shading devices and a main atrium. This building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) installation has an uninterruptible power supply which gives around 10–15 minutes worth of emergency power in the event of the loss of electricity supply. Any power not used by the UPS is connected to the grid and goes towards reducing the building's overall power bills. Energy efficient features include movement and light-level sensors and super-efficient lighting. Water-efficient devices include low-flow shower roses, dual-flush toilets, movement-detector urinals, flow limiters on taps, solar hot water collectors and super-efficient domestic water supply pumps with variable speed drives. In this case, cost savings and environmental benefits have gone hand in hand. An initial capital investment of $740,000 has resulted in annual savings of 1,000 MWh of electricity, 1,005 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, 6,500,000 liters of water and $17,000 in operational costs.


FKP Building in Downtown Brisbane

The FKP Building in downtown Brisbane towers over the downtown area on Edward Street. More than 300 photovoltaic panels adorn the top of the building, providing power to the building and the grid. ©2009 Gert Stobbe

This was Australia’s first Four-and-a-Half-Star Energy Rated Building in its National Australian Built Environment Rating System that goes up to five stars as been recognized by both the Federal and Queensland Governments. Partnerships forged with the Australian Greenhouse Office and the Queensland Environmental Protection Authority assisted in the development of the groundbreaking project and subsequently led to changes in government policy.

Designed by Hassell Architects with input from Integrated Energy Services, the building was the first tall building in Australia to incorporate solar panels in its design. It includes 18 levels of office and storage space, six retail stores, a conference facility and 2.5 levels of car park. This type of high-rise building with photovoltaic panels incorporated into its structure was new to Australia in 2002. Subcontractor Interlec installed more than 300 solar panels on the roof. Seca Cranes used a tower crane to lift the solar panels and their steel support structure on to the top of the building. Four large steel structures were prefabricated to support the solar panels at each corner. The manager of the crane company, Denis Tomasel, said lifting the panels was awkward because of the shape of the building and the way the five-ton corner sections cantilever over the walls.

Queensland’s consistent sunshine makes it a viable location to capture this solar energy and then sell the power created. The building’s position in the center of the city is efficiently located for a grid-tied system with minimal transmission losses. To get this project off the ground, funding was provided by the Australian Greenhouse Office along with a seven-year energy purchase agreement with Energex, which meant there was low risk involved. All of the solar energy produced is sold through Energex’s green energy program, Earth’s Choice.

Earth’s Choice has been one of the world’s fastest growing renewable energy programs (per capita) and one of the most effective in facilitating new renewable energy generation. Earth's choice gives customers the option of having Energex purchase a certain amount of electricity they use from renewable energy sources, instead of the traditional fossil fuel-fired sources.

This Building won the following awards:

* National Master Builders Award for Environment and Energy

Building Efficiency Award Commercial over $10 million;

* State Master Builders Award for Commercial High Rise over

$30 million;

* State Master Builders Award Energy Aware;

* South East Queensland Master Builders Award Excellence in

Energy Aware Buildings;

* South East Queensland Master Builders Award for Commercial

High Rise over $10 million;

* Property Council of Australia National Award in recognition of

standards of excellence; and

* Property Council State Winner in recognition of standards of excellence.

Project Info:
Site Address

- Intersection of 120 Edward and Charlotte Streets, Brisbane CBD

Site Area

- 1,823m2

Gross Floor Area

- 24,000m2

Number Of Floors

- 22

Internal Car Parks

- 96

Construction Cost $34,000,000


  Contribution of Photovoltaics to Commercial Loads (252 kb)


National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS)