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The Conceptual System Design

Discuss about the Environment Conscious Building.

According to Adams et al. (2014), systems design refers to process that leads to the identification of   system elements, like that of components, interfaces, elements, etc, such that specific requirements of business organization (or a project) are met through a coherent engineering process.

The Green Square North Tower, located in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, is one of the most well known commercial complexes of Queensland that has been designed in environment - conscious manner ( 2016).  This particular report is aimed at shedding some light on this particular project, in the context of systems design.

The following sections of the report provide an insight into the   constructional designs that have been utilized in developing   this   building, which   has   already been awarded   with the prestigious certifications like 6 Star Green Star - Office As Built v2 and 6 Star Green Star - Office Design v2.  The  utilities  of  these  designs  would be discussed, besides   recommending  strategies that can be  utilized to enhance the  manner   in which  the  building uses natural resources. A   discussion on the relevant   theories, as   available from the scholarly papers that have been reviewed, would also be   made so as to support the discussions made in the sections mentioned above.

 Researcher Kibert  (2016) is of  the opinion  that buildings that  are  constructed with  the  help of  green  technologies ( that are  more  conscious  towards the sustainable use  of natural resources), are  considered as  environmentally-conscious buildings. The author has also pointed out   the  fact that  the   use of  green   technologies   not  only ensure  that   the buildings have long lives but also  aimed  at reducing  the   adverse  effects  that  these buildings  have  on the  environment.

The  Green Square North Tower,  as  indicated  by the  information available  at the official w website  of  the Green  Building   Council  of  Australia  (,  was  designed with  the aim of  developing  an  industrial complex  having  the minimum  rate  of   green house gas emission, along with  the  optimum usage of natural  resources and significant reduction in  power consumption.

The Green Square North Tower, as  developed by Leighton Properties ( the construction work  was conducted by  the  Leighton Contractors),  was designed primarily   with the  aim of reducing  the  power consumption and  making an  optimal  usage of  the  ground  water consumed by  the building ( 2016). These system requirements were taken into consideration while developing the project management plan, based on which the technical requirements and the engineering systems requirements of the project were being designed (Buyle, Braet and Audenaert 2013).   The systems engineering management plan, as developed by Floth and Lincohe Scott, lead to the identification of the system specification of the entire project. 

  1. Cogeneration plants located on the roof of the towers: The preliminary designs ensured that the cogeneration plants would ensure  the optimal usage of the electric power consumed by the   building (Yudelson  2013) .
  2. Water storage facility: The water storage facility was designed with the aim of retaining storm water, along the  water being   flushed down the toilets, such that the same can be   utilized for irrigation and other   onsite usage (Zuo and Zhao 2014).

Defining the ‘Need’ of the Concept

The following figure depicts the steps used for identifying the systems requirements and developing the preliminary architectural designs:
 Early system design phase of the project

Figure:   Early system design phase of the project

The final architectural design, based on which the building was constructed, included the following elements:

  1. An efficient power management system: The cogeneration plant located on   the terrace of the building utilizes a gas engine generator   which   facilitates capturing   waste   heat energy from various electrical (and electronic systems).  The heat energy thus captured is utilized for running the absorption chillerwhich is used for cooling the building.  This    particular  power   management  system   thus  allows  the building  to  have “two bites of the one cherry”: the  rate of  green  house  gas emission of  the building  has been   found  to be   at least 85 percent  less than that  of constructions of similar  size (Namkung  and Jang  2013). On the other  hand, the  Carbon monoxide emission of  the  building  has also   been   found to  significantly less   compared to the  total  floor  area of  the building.

Researchers Sharma  and Gupta  (2016)  are  of  the opinion that  the  cogeneration  plant   has been  of  much  help in reducing  the total  energy consumption of the building. The authors are   of the  opinion  that  the said system reduces  the  pressure  on the  power station to quite an extent, minimizing  the power loss that  occurs during  the   transmission process (Buyle, Braet and Audenaert 2013).

 Besides  this,  the installation of   intelligent   power  meters   on  all  the major  electrical   systems  of  the  building facilitates  the   process   of monitoring and recording  the performance  of   the  said systems, thus   encouraging  their optimized   usage (Kobayashi et al. 2014).

  1. Water saving equipments: On the other hand, efficient water  fittings and fixture have been installed  in the building,   which along  with  the ‘water harvesting  system’ facilitates the  process of saving approximately 1.5 million litres  of  water  year . Researches   Yumino et al. (2015)  are   of  the opinion  that the collection of  storm water  so as to  utilize   in  flushing toilets and watering   plants in  the  garden   area are some of the most intelligent  ways of   saving   ground water: Green Square North Tower  utilizes both  these methods    for  saving water. In  fact,  the information available  from the  official  website   of  the Green  Building   Council  of  Australia     states    that   the   architectural  design   of   the building  allows   collection  of  rainwater from  the entire   roof  region,  by  the  utilization    of a “symphonic storm water system” (,. 2016). The  water  thus  collected  is stored  in  a storm water tank located   in the   basement  region  of  the building, which  has a total   capacity of 85,000 litres. The storm water collected in this tank is reused   for several purposes, like that of irrigating the gardens, and flushing toilets. 

Besides this, the following green technological systems have been installed in the Green Square North Tower:

  1. Energy Saving equipments:   Single tubes   of T5 luminaries have been  utilized for lightning  the building, along   with  louvers of low  brightness:    the   power  consumption of  the building  has thus lowered  to less than 5 W/m2 (Domenica et al. 2013).
  2. Energy Management systems: In order to monitor and  control the   water and  power being   consumed by the building,   intelligent   meters  have been  installed  all over  the  building.  These meters ensure the optimal usage of electric power and ground water resources in the building (Srinivasan et al. 2012).

Materials:   Researchers   Hosseinijou, Mansour  and Shirazi  (2014) are of   the opinion   that the materials   used for developing and furnishing buildings act as some of    the major   sources   of    environmental   pollution.  However, the architectural designs of the Green Square North Tower have encouraged the use of   recycled steel and recycled concrete to a significant extent (60 percent and 40 percent respectively). The building  also  utilizes   at  least  60 per cent less PVC  materials as  compared  to other structures of  same size, thus reducing  the total  amount  of   VOC emissions (Wang,  Toppinen  and Juslin  2014).

  1. Water Saving Systems: The Green Square North Tower utilizes tank having a capacity of 160,000 litres for the purpose of rainwater harvesting. It has already been mentioned that the storm water is utilized for flushing toilets and irrigating garden areas, thus ensuring a saving of 1.2 million litres per annum ( 2016). 

In order to understand the basic factors of the environmentally-conscious buildings technologies and the existing projects developed by using the technology, several previous research articles or literatures have been reviewed. The examples of buildings constructed by using this technology and the potential impact of the technology are reviewed in the papers.

The new Research and Development building of NTT Facilities was constructed using the environmentally-conscious building technologies, which was inaugurated in the year of 2014. This building can be taken as one of the best examples of the eco-friendly buildings developed using this technology. The different types of facilities available in the rooms of the building can be controlled according to the presence of people in the rooms (Cabeza et al. 2013). The monitoring facilities, lighting facilities and the air conditioning systems of the building are able to save almost 35 percent of the total energy used for the general systems (Kibert 2016).

The Preliminary System Design

The building has a server room, which uses the maximum amount of energies and produces the maximum heat in the building. This heat is used for heating the cool rooms of the building by exhausting the heat form the server room and cool energy is extracted from the ground level room for cooling the server room (Cabeza et al. 2013). This technique is helping to save the total amount of energy required for marinating the temperature of the whole building.

The similar types of using of the technology were found in many buildings in the Michigan City. This was reported in the review article published by the Urban City Associates. The energy saving facilities of the buildings is almost same as the previous one. Some of these buildings are also using the recycling of the raw materials used in various purposes. In some buildings, the use of VOC free raw materials also found (Buyle, Braet and Audenaert 2013). This is helping to reduce the environmental damage caused to general household activities besides keeping the energy consumptions at the lower level.

As mentioned by Madurwar, Ralegaonkar and Mandavgane (2013), the environmentally-conscious building technology is very efficient for managing all the facilities available in the general buildings. The internal environments of the buildings developed by using this technology are healthier than the general buildings. The main facility provided by the buildings constructed by using this technology is to reduce the amount of energy required for providing the modern facilities in the indoor environment of the building. 

Conclusion and Recommendation

The preceding sections of the report   provide   detailed discussion on   one of the most well known environmentally-conscious buildings of Queensland, the Green Square North Tower.  The  preliminary  system requirements  of  the  project, as  identified  in the  conceptual  designing phase  have been discussed  in section 2.1  of   the report,  whereas  the detailed   architectural  plan  used  for developing  the building   has  been discussed  in section 2.2 of  the report. A discussion on some of some of the literary articles that had been reviewed for developing this report has also been provided in section 3 of   the report.  

In the light of the discussions made in the report, the   following recommendation   is being provided to the owners of the Green Square North Tower:

  1. Cork lining walls: The building currently contains 4 auditoriums and several meeting rooms that utilize efficient system for adjusting sound. Although intelligent  meters   have been installed for  monitoring  and controlling  the  power being consumed by  these systems,  the utilization of  cork lining on the  walls of  these auditoriums and rooms  would  reduce the requirement of using  these   sound  system   facilities.   This in turn would essentially reduce the total power consumption of the   building.
  2. Energy exchanger: At present, the waste heat energy collected from various electrical systems is currently being used to run the cooling devices of the building.  In a very similar fashion,   the warm heat generated from the server rooms can be utilized for warming up the colder sections of the building, thus reducing the use   of room heaters.
  3. Solar energy: The owners of  the office   spaces are being  recommended  to utilize solar  power  for lighting their facilities,  thus reducing  the  power consumption rate  of   the building to a further extent.
  4. Roof top garden: The terrace area of the building can be converted into a  garden  area. Such transformation would not only  make  the  building even more  environment friendly, but  would also  lower  down the temperature  of  the building, thus reducing the usage of air conditioning devices.


Adams, K.M., Hester, P.T., Bradley, J.M., Meyers, T.J. and Keating, C.B., 2014. Systems theory as the foundation for understanding systems.Systems Engineering, 17(1), pp.112-123.

Buyle, M., Braet, J. and Audenaert, A., 2013. Life cycle assessment in the construction sector: a review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 26, pp.379-388.

Cabeza, L.F., Barreneche, C., Miró, L., Morera, J.M., Bartolí, E. and Fernández, A.I., 2013. Low carbon and low embodied energy materials in buildings: A review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 23, pp.536-542.

Domenica Iulo, L., Gorby, C., Poerschke, U., Nickolas Kalisperis, L. and Woollen, M., 2013. Environmentally conscious design-educating future architects. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 14(4), pp.434-448.,. 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2016, from

Hosseinijou, S.A., Mansour, S. and Shirazi, M.A., 2014. Social life cycle assessment for material selection: a case study of building materials. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 19(3), pp.620-645.

Kibert, C.J., 2016. Sustainable construction: green building design and delivery. John Wiley & Sons.

Kobayashi, K., Nagazono, H., Kanemitsu, H. and Inokubo, J., 2014. Promoting Environmentally Conscious Datacenters. FUJITSU Sci. Tech. J,50(4), pp.85-91.

Madurwar, M.V., Ralegaonkar, R.V. and Mandavgane, S.A., 2013. Application of agro-waste for sustainable construction materials: A review. Construction and Building Materials, 38, pp.872-878.

Namkung, Y. and Jang, S.S., 2013. Effects of restaurant green practices on brand equity formation: Do green practices really matter?. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 33, pp.85-95.

Sharma, B. and Gupta, V., 2016. Construction for Sustainable Development–A Research and Educational Agenda. Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research, 2(7).

Srinivasan, R.S., Braham, W.W., Campbell, D.E. and Curcija, C.D., 2012. Re (De) fining net zero energy: renewable emergy balance in environmental building design. Building and Environment, 47, pp.300-315.

Wang, L., Toppinen, A. and Juslin, H., 2014. Use of wood in green building: a study of expert perspectives from the UK. Journal of cleaner production, 65, pp.350-361.

Yudelson, J., 2013. Green building A to Z: understanding the language of green building. New Society Publishers.

Yumino, S., Uchida, T., Sasaki, K., Kobayashi, H. and Mochida, A., 2015. Total assessment for various environmentally conscious techniques from three perspectives: Mitigation of global warming, mitigation of UHIs, and adaptation to urban warming. Sustainable Cities and Society, 19, pp.236-249.

Zuo, J. and Zhao, Z.Y., 2014. Green building research–current status and future agenda: A review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 30, pp.271-281.  

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