Feature, Office

Q&A: Rod Martin, Waterfront Place, Brisbane

Rod Martin and his team at Waterfront Place has overseen a $14 million building upgrade, including new LED luminaires. The project is expected to pay for itself in two and a half years.

The facility manager of Waterfront Place tells Lux Review how LED lighting has helped the 40-floor office building attract more tenants.


Tell us about your job

I’m the senior building manager at the Waterfront Place, one of Brisbane’s most desirable business addresses. There are 36 tenanted floors in the building, 40 floors overall and two basement-level car parks – that makes 60,000m2.

We’ve been spending close to $14 million over the last four years on enhancing the building and keeping it to the level that is expected. That comes through lifts and air conditioning and – the most obvious one to people – lighting. 


What have you done with the lighting in the building?

We’ve changed our fittings and incorporated new LED lighting throughout the building. In the offices we’ve replaced the existing 3x14W T5 fittings with 600x600mm LED luminaires from Thorn. They’re now the standard fitting that we offer our tenants.

In the hallways we chose some big panels but they were too bright, so we ended up putting little dimmer units on them just to bring them down a bit – you were coming from this really bright area into a darker hall, and we wanted more uniformity.

In the basement we’ve replaced the CFL recessed downlights with LED. It’s a brighter, more welcoming area and it gives a feeling of security to the people who are walking through that space – after all, it’s down at basement level and it leads out to the car park.


Did anything surprise you during the installation?

In the lobby, we used to have ten 42W recessed compact fluorescent lights. We purchased some flat LED panels to replace like for like, and we actually found that ten in this space is too much, so we dropped it down to six. So we’re reducing energy first of all by using LED, and secondly from reducing the number of fittings.

We’ve also changed the original wall colour that we used in the space to a whiter rather than a creamy colour so you get a better overall effect. Having new LED lights with 6,500K on a creamy wall, it just doesn’t look right.


Has the new lighting scheme helped you sell office space?

There is an app on our website where potential tenants can look at the energy consumption and the operating cost of the space. The T5 fittings that had been in place previously cost over $15,000 and the LED that we’re now offering is down to $9,000 a year, so there is a significant improvement, and that means we’ve got an excellent product that we can sell to potential tenants. They pay for their own electricity, so they get the benefit of that. It’s a great marketing opportunity for us that we use when trying to lease space.


Have there been any other benefits of upgrading the lights?

I’ve been here for three years and during that time we’ve been able to maintain a 4.5 star Nabers rating. And that’s impacted by the occupancy level within the building as well. So despite us having had a few vacancies in the building, we’ve still been able to maintain the rating by conserving energy. It’s been a win-win-win for us.


The details

The management of Waterfront Place has spent nearly $14 million over the last four years on making the building more energy-efficient. One of the objectives was to get an energy efficiency rating of ‘excellent’ in order to obtain a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC), which has now been achieved. Light levels have increased from 320 to 372lx, and energy consumption has been cut by 33 per cent, from around 8.7W/m2 to 5.7W/m2. The upgrade is expected to pay for itself in two and a half years.