The Abode Hotel Woden has become Australia’s first Green-Star-rated hotel, highlighting the potential for the adaptive reuse of old office stock throughout Canberra.
The Green Building Council of Australia awarded the hotel a four-star Green Star energy rating for its design, construction and operation.
The council’s director of research, Helen Bell, said the building’s transformation from a vacant office building into a thriving hotel was adaptive reuse at its best.
She said it demonstrated how the most sustainable buildings were those that already existed.
In its former life as Juliana House, the building was home to the Commonwealth Health and Ageing offices. It was vacant for several years before Geocon purchased the building and transformed it into a 152-room hotel.
“As Canberra evolves and as the ACT government continues its ambitious urban renewal agenda, this approach showcases how smart, sustainable thinking can help us revitalise tired parts of our city,” Ms Bell said.
Geocon managing director Nick Georgalis said the company’s decision to commit to an adaptive reuse rather than a knockdown-rebuild set them on the path towards a sustainable product.
“It was a challenging proposition because we were new to the Green Star process and at the time there was no rating tool for hotels,” Mr Georgalis said.
“Because this was an adaptive reuse we were constrained around some of the environmental efficiencies we could achieve, such as optimising the facade, but we nonetheless delivered a standout result which demonstrates best-practice in sustainability.”
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the Green Star rating was a significant result for Canberra.
“It demonstrates not only that you can achieve such sustainable outcomes in a building repurpose, but that there’s confidence to do that and to invest in the tourism product in Canberra,” Mr Barr said.
Mr Barr said there were other buildings throughout the nation’s capital that were suitable for adaptive reuse as a hotel and he believed it was a trend that would pick up pace.
“There’s certainly demand for new hotel product, we’re boosting our tourism promotion activities and you’ve got the direct [international] flights,” Mr Barr said.
“That seems to be a mix of ingredients that lends itself to more adaptive reuse.”