Ausgrid (formerly EnergyAustralia) is a major trainer of apprentices in NSW and provides technical training in specialist areas to both staff and external clients. Prior to the construction of the Learning Centre, training facilities were scattered across Sydney and inadequate to meet future demand. The brief was to fulfil a strategic goal of providing a centre of excellence offering a high quality educational environment for apprentices and teaching staff. The centre was designed to consolidate a number of facilities within a world-leading sustainable building and cater for a variety of training, administration and corporate activities.
The 15,000sqm campus-style centre provides a state-of-the-art education facility for one of the largest groups of apprentices in training in NSW. It incorporates a range of flexible teaching spaces including multi-purpose classrooms, workshops, technical labs, research labs and an interactive library. It is also the headquarters of Ausgrid's smart grid operations and Energy Efficiency Centre.
Environmentally responsible design principles were applied from site layout and building orientation to the design of the facades and the selection of materials and finishes.
It is the first project in Australia to be awarded both a 6 Star Green Star Education Design v1 certified rating and an As Built v1 certified rating.
To achieve the rating, the building configuration and architectural design were integrated with the mechanical services to minimise thermal loads on the building. Perimeter shaded walkways and external louvres and awnings significantly reduce peak solar loads while natural ventilation is utilised for walkways, the main entry and circulation areas and the workshops.
The building features a hollow concrete slab cooling system as well as a gas fired tri-generation plant incorporating a 125 kVA combined heat and power unit.
ESD initiatives also include 55 geothermal heat rejection bores; 260 photovoltaic cells; use of low pollutant finishes and installation of VOC and CO2 monitors; a rainwater capture system; grey water treatment and re-use; biofiltration swales and green roof; electric vehicle charging stations; and a Building Management and Control System.
The outcome is a building using approximately 60 per cent less energy and 53 per cent less water compared to a benchmark building.
The 6 Star rating presented a number of challenges including the state of constant flux of many of the design parameters as Green Star initiatives and credits were reviewed and assessed throughout the project. The building design needed to adapt to evolving technologies and initiatives without compromising the original design vision.
Extensive knowledge of products and materials was necessary from the early stages of the design. Evidence of chain of supply and certification of materials to meet Green Star requirements was an essential part of the project. Frequent suppliers were initially unable to provide the required information and extensive consultation with them was required to secure the necessary certifications.
Throughout the project a collaborative design approach was adopted by the architects and engineers to achieve integration of innovative technology and the building design. As many engineering components became the final building finishes, it was also imperative that both disciplines worked together creatively to ensure elements that were selected would meet functional requirements as well as the desired building aesthetic.
RAIA (NSW) Architecture Awards, Sustainable Architecture Commendation 2012
BLUESCOPE STEEL, COLOURBOND ULTRA STEEL
AUSTRAL BRICKS, BOWRAL SIMMENTAL SILVER & BOWRAL BLUE
INTERNAL WALL PANELS
PARCHEM CONSTRUCTION SUPPLIES
RENDEROC FC ARCHITECTURAL
ACOUSTIC CEILING PANELS
DÉCOR SYSTEMS DECORPLY & DECORLUX
WOVEN IMAGE ECHOPANELS
DORMAKABA AUSTRALIA, VARIFLEX
LAMINEX, GREENFIRST REDBACK HPL
ONTERA – MILLIKEN (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD, E-SCAPE
FORBO FLOORING, MARMOLEUM
OCEAN AND MERCHANT FIBONACCI STONE
CLASSIC CERAMICS BASALTINA NERA
CAROMA, LIANO SEMI RECESSED
BRODWARE CITY STICK