Szencorp goes green at Camberwell

The developer which retrofitted a 20-year old South Melbourne building into Australia’s greenest refurbished office is turning a hand to the eastern suburbs.

Peter Szental, director of renewable energy technology and construction group Szencorp, will convert a B-grade commercial building near Camberwell Junction as a six-star Green Star rated workplace which would be one of the city’s most efficient.

Among the list of sustainable initiatives, he said, is rainwater catchments, grey water recycling, solar hot water panels and temperature-resistant construction materials.

Szencorp paid a group of private investors $6 million for the part-vacant 124 Camberwell Road asset late last year.

That vendor spent $3.6m for the then-tenanted building seven years earlier.

It is near Shell’s Redfern Road headquarters abutting Fritsch Holzer Park – a former rubbish tip.

Camberwell Junction is also a principal activity centre in the state government’s Melbourne 2030 planning policy.

Andrew Myer, the grandson of entrepreneur and philanthropist Sidney, is behind one of the area’s biggest developments – The Well, estimated to be worth c$80m upon completion.

GormanKelly’s Mario Nobrega is leasing 124 Camberwell Rd.

Rent is believed to be over $350 per sqm – a slight premium to the market rate however because green buildings can key resources like energy and water efficiently, utility bills are often lower.

The South Melbourne office Szencorp created in 2005 produces 30 per cent of its own electricity and uses 72 per cent less energy than it did pre-renovation.

Mr Szental was last month recruited to the board of the Melbourne Football Club by Brownlow medallist Jim Stynes.

The developer is also the Clean Energy Council deputy chairman.

He said his company is on the lookout for opportunities.

Szencorp said one-fifth of energy use in Australia can be attributed to office buildings, and it claims the cost to retrofit offices makes the argument to go green compelling on a financial, as well as an ethical level.

Earlier this year, the group funded a Sydney Institute for Sustainable Futures initiative, which would see Australia’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle able to be charged using renewable energy from a household power point.

Former Colliers International chairman Bill McHarg, who before last year’s election drove a milk truck around John Howard’s seat of Bennelong, also now runs a consultancy, CityMetro, which encourages environmentally sustainable property development.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of