Council House 2 (CH2) – Australia’s First Six Star Green Star Rating Building

I was walking in Little Collins Street towards Swanston Street, when I found that Council House 2 was part of event because of the Open House Melbourne Flag stands on its ground which a common sign to recognize if the building is participating in the event.


At Little Collins Street towards Swanston Street, CH2 Building at the right

During the Open House Melbourne event, I learned that there is an existing green building located almost at the heart of Melbourne CBD, I am talking about none other than Council House 2 or CH2 building. This stands along Little Collins Street near Swanston Street. Based on history, before CH2 was built, there was a dated building that was nearing its end lifespan. And because of it, the ambitious plan to build a new office building started and that was how the idea of CH2 begun.




Council House 2 (CH2)

One of the great discovery or learning that I had about this building was, CH2 is the first purpose-built office building in Australia to achieve the six star Green Star certified rating, where the minimum is one star and the maximum is six. And the more profound about it was, the building was designed even before the Green Star rating system and Green Star Design office has been launched.





While listening to facilitator that explaining the feature of the building

During the event, the building opens to the public the ground floor foyer, level 6, level 8 offices and roof top terrace. When I visited the building, there were couple of guides at the entrance and near the elevator to inform us that we have to go to the designated floors for the event. I can’t remember anymore which floor I was assigned and attended with other visitors to had our introductions and to listen to the features of the building. One thing that I felt while listening was my adoration that they will spend money to design a building to become a green building.  But, in the explanation of the speaker, I realized, the building is sustainable on its own, as its main feature are reduction on energy and water consumption which actually one of the main expenses of a building. I remembered how the building is flexible because it can adjust to the season of Melbourne, both for summer and winter season where energy is mostly used, and with that said it able to take advantage the season to even save energy and water resources.

While listening to the speaker, one thing that call my attention in the office building were the indoor plants located almost in each table desk and surrounding area, the speaker explained that the plants even help to maintain the good quality of the air inside the office. I was pretty much amazed, I felt like I want to work in similar environment, because I myself contained in an office where no fresh air is circulating because the whole building is closed and the air from human myself and from ventilation are the air that I am breathing, but CH2 allows air from the outside.


Office hallway

After well explanation of the features of the building, we were guided to go to the rooftop of the building, here I got a chance to see the inner view of the city from the top which I haven’t done before while I was in Melbourne. The rooftop has garden and there we saw as well the huge turbines that has the important role in making the building as efficient in its cooling, heating and even in energy conservation.


Rooftop of CH2

While I was in the rooftop, I wish and dream that there was similar building back home in my country, wished if they also consider in creating a green building. In Melbourne, if this kind of building already exist, I can see that it’s already changing the game in developing new buildings, maybe it’s not the same as CH2 but most likely, partial of the design of the building will be inherited as its design has so many benefits to the building and its occupants.



Inner view of the city from CH2 Rooftop

Truly the CH2 building is a green building. A worthwhile visit in one the buildings in Melbourne.


1. Plan to visit Council House 2 or CH2 ?
Address : 240 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
The building is not open to public in a daily basis as the building is an office building, but if you really wanted to see inside of it, the right opportunity is during Open House Melbourne which happens in one weekend of July every year, to check if the building is participating in Open House Melbourne event please check here.

2. Public Transportation Ticket – Use Myki (Melbourne Ticketing System), please check here for more details.

3. Directions

Using tram

Use tramTracker Apps or even just Google Maps (use directions) and there are tram routes available
Route: 1, 3/3a, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67, 72 –> get off at Stop 11 – Town Hall / Collins Street or Stop 10 Bourke Street Mall/Bourke Street
Route: 112, 109, 48 –> get off at Stop 6 –  Town Hall / Collins Street

Using train

Visit the official Public Transport Victoria website to be able to use the Journey Planner for the next train schedule.

Ride from any station and get off at Flinders Street Station or Melbourne Central Station
From Flinders Street Station, get off at St Kilda Road Exit and continue walking along Swanston Street and turned right at Little Collins Street.

From Melbourne Central Station, get off at Swantons Street Exit and continue walking along Swanston Street and turned left at Little Collins Street.

Discovery : Council House 2 (CH2) – Turbines

Discovery (Post#10) : Council House 2 (CH2) – Turbines

If windows of the buildings helps to replace hot air during night purge and concrete ceilings helps to keep the environment cooler for specific time, these turbines that are visible up close at the rooftop of the building helps to withdraw the hot air coming from the inside if too much heat received by the building. These turbines also generates certain amount of energy to be used again by the building. These photos are part of Council House 2 Photo Collection captured last July 2013.


Discovery : Council House 2 (CH2) – Vaulted Concrete Ceilings

Discovery (Post#9) : Council House 2 (CH2) – Vaulted Concrete Ceilings

The vaulted concrete ceilings of each floor in Council House 2 building has its purpose on its own. These concrete ceilings provides cooling ventilation in a specific time of the day to maintain the comfortable temperature inside the offices. How does these concrete ceilings able to do that? As Council House 2 has its night purge which happens at 1AM up to 5AM, where windows are open to cool down the internal air and thick concrete ceilings to release the heat that it received during the day, since concrete ceilings has been cooled during night purge, it keep the cool temperature in the morning until noon which is a natural process of cooling system. A very cheap way to cool the environment. These photos are part of Council House 2 Photo Collection captured last July 2013.


Discovery : Council House 2 (CH2) Windows

Discovery (Post#8) : Council House 2 (CH2) Windows

During my tour within this building, I learned one of the best feature that this building has to offer compared with other regular office building not only in Melbourne but probably in the world is its windows. The building windows has double glaze, it has timber window frames (where timber is known as lower conductor heat to lessen the ‘heat bridge’ effect).

Head Bridge Effect – A thermal bridge, also called a cold bridge or heat bridge, is an area of an object (frequently a building) which has a significantly higher heat transfer than the surrounding materials resulting in an overall reduction in thermal insulation of the object or building. Reference: Wikipedia

There are recycled timber shutters as well that protects the building from the late afternoon sun, enable views out of the building and natural light to enter the building.  Other windows at the other side (no photos available) participates in nightly purge (opens at night until morning) to release the heat inside the building.

The western facade windows (second picture) with plants shown below has been designed as well to able to provide natural lights which participate in conserving the energy cost that the building will pay. What a brilliant idea !!! These photos are part of Council House 2 Photo Collection captured last July 2013.