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Retrofit case studies - 1200 Buildings program

Signatories to the 1200 Buildings Program embarked upon challenging retrofit projects to improve the environmental performance, health and value of their buildings.

A tram travels on a North Melbourne street, with CBD high-rise buildings seen in the background.

Smaller buildings

The Legacy House lighting retrofit is a perfect example of how a well-executed lighting design and installation can deliver operational savings and greater amenity resulting in enhanced employee productivity and retention of tenants.

Read the Legacy House case study (PDF 761 KB).

Built in the late 1950s, Praemium House was a challenge to retrofit. The objective was to achieve a 4.0 star NABERS Energy rating. However, early indications show that the building is on track to achieve a 50-65 per cent improvement in energy efficiency. This will result in a rating of 5.0 star NABERS Energy.

Read the Praemium House case study (PDF 884 KB).

Ross House is the only self-managed and community owned not-for-profit building in Australia. The greening of Ross House aligns with both the owners and tenants vision for social and environmental equity and sustainability. Because the building is both heritage listed and owned by a not-for-profit organisation, resourcing the building retrofit is particularly challenging.

View 1200 Buildings Ross House, Melbourne (Video 2.19 MIN)Opens in new tab.

Read the Ross House case study (PDF 759 KB).

Norman Disney and Young, a leading engineering consulting firm, has completely transformed the internal space at 115 Batman Street. Maintaining the existing shell of the building proposed a number of challenges but these were systematically overcome to achieve low levels of energy and water consumption. The aim of the refurbishment was to provide an excellent working environment to enhance the productivity of their staff.

Read the 115 Batman Street case study (PDF 776 KB).

The owners corporation of 131 Queen Street have used retrofitting to ensure the building is competitive in the marketplace. The environmental retrofit work is designed to significantly increase the building's NABERS Energy rating and includes a new high efficiency chiller, digital building management system and an award-winning rooftop garden with a variety of herbs and edible plants including strawberries, olives and lemons.

View 1200 Buildings 131 Queen Street, Melbourne (Video 1.54 MIN)Opens in new tab.

Read the 131 Queen Street case study (PDF 853 KB).

FMSA Architecture offers comprehensive architectural, interior and urban design and professional construction management services. As owner/occupier, FMSA Architecture has applied its expertise in environmentally sustainable design to the retrofit and extension of 182 Capel Street. The objective is to reduce water use and waste to landfill and reduce carbon emissions by at least 50 per cent.

Read the 182 Capel Street case study (PDF 848 KB).

490 Spencer Street is a small office building that packs a big punch when it comes to energy efficiency. The building has undergone an integrated retrofit to reduce building energy consumption and the tenants play an active role in managing operational efficiency. Solar photovoltaic can supply up to 100 per cent of the building's power depending on the amount of sunlight available and energy required.

View 1200 Buildings 490 Spencer Street, West Melbourne (Video 2.34 MIN)Opens in new tab.

Read the 490 Spencer Street case study (PDF 713 KB).

Larger buildings

385 Bourke Street, a 1983 concrete and steel structure, has been taken from zero to a 3.5 star NABERS rating.

Read the case study (PDF 687 KB).

500 Collins Street has been completely transformed during its retrofit, becoming the first CBD building in Australia to gain a 5 Green Star v1 Design rating in the process.

Read the case study (PDF 706 KB).

530 Collins Street is an energy efficient premium grade office tower. The owners GPT Group have dramatically improved the building's efficiency through a range of measures these include new chillers and an on-site cogeneration plant to generate gas fired electricity and use waste heat in the building.

View 1200 Buildings 530 Collins Street, Melbourne (Video 2.16 MIN)Opens in new tab.

Read the case study (PDF 51 KB).

Australia's first 6 star Green Star designed building was commissioned in 2006, trialling many new green technologies to support greater uptake of sustainable building practices in Melbourne. The building is continually used as a model example of green building methods.

Read the CH2 case study (PDF 324 KB)

Read the CH2 case study (DOC 815 KB) 


The heritage listed Alto Hotel on Bourke is Melbourne's first carbon neutral hotel. Formerly the Victorian Railways Union head office, the building was intensively renovated to achieve superior performance in energy, water and waste efficiency. Features include wall, floor and ceiling insulation, a hot water reticulation system and low flow taps and showers.

View 1200 Buildings Alto Hotel on Bourke, Melbourne (Video 2 minutes 2 seconds)Opens in new tab.

Read the case study (PDF 933 KB).

Other case studies

The former Carlton and United Brewery Laboratory is one of the first commercial retrofit buildings in Australia to apply for 6 Star Green Star ratings in Office Design, As Built and Office Interiors. Light-filled and beautifully finished, the site uses a state-of-the-art tri-generation plant, rainwater harvesting and locally manufactured materials.

our acknowledgement

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The City of Melbourne respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land we govern, the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung and Bunurong / Boon Wurrung peoples of the Kulin and pays respect to their Elders past and present. 


We acknowledge and honour the unbroken spiritual, cultural and political connection they have maintained to this unique place for more than 2000 generations.

We accept the invitation in the Uluru Statement from the Heart and are committed to walking together to build a better future.