MELBOURNE, Australia — The octagonal office tower that sits above a Maserati dealership here has seen a lot of change since it was built for an airline tycoon in the late 1970s.
For one thing, the helipad on the roof has been replaced with a black "plant room." This space houses the mechanical guts of the building's new heating and cooling system — a much more energy-efficient version than its predecessor.
The current owners also installed new elevators that use a regenerative braking system to generate power for the building. These upgrades were part of a retrofit completed earlier this year. The changes cut the building's energy bills by 25 percent, producing energy savings equivalent to removing the carbon emissions of 55 homes a year.
"We wanted to update the plant and the lifts so we effectively had a 'brand new building' with a shell from 1979," says Barry Calnon, chief financial officer at PDG Corporation. PDG is a large developer and manager of commercial and residential buildings in Melbourne. It co-owns the tower at 501 Swanston with Bobby Zagame, who owns the Maserati dealership as well as an Audi dealership downstairs.
By Brendon Bosworth. Published by Citiscope on 9 October 2015.