Bart Meehan: Sustainably Designed Buildings at the Australian National University
SUSTAINABLY DESIGNED BUILDINGS AT
THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY
VISITING FELLOW AND RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
FENNER SCHOOL OF SUSTAINABILITY AND SOCIETY
“…Structures such as London’s Crystal
Palace and Milan’s Galleria Vittorio
Emanuele II used methods that
decreased the impact of the structure
on the environment. Systems such as
roof ventilators and underground air-
cooling chambers were used to
regulate indoor air temperature.2 In
the early twentieth century, several
skyscrapers such as the Flatiron
Building and the New York Times
Building in New York utilized deep-set
windows and the Carson Pirie Scott
department store in Chicago had
retractable awnings. Both of these
techniques were effective in
controlling interior temperature while
lessoning the buildings’ impact on the
INTRODUCTION TO GREEN
“…From the 1930’s through the
1960’s, the forward thinking
cooling methods …gave way to
some new building technologies
that would change inner-city
dramatically. The invention of air
conditioning, reflective glass, and
structural steel popularized the
enclosed glass and steel buildings
that litter the American city
today. These buildings were able
to be heated and cooled with
massive HVAC systems that
consumed huge amounts of
cheap and readily available fossil
fuels.4 The massive consumption
of energy required to inhabit
these buildings made their
viability tenable and entirely
dependent upon energy
availability and cost… “
“…Around the time that the
“glass box” style high rise had
become the icon of the
American city (circa 1970), a
forward thinking group of
and ecologists5 were
inspired by the growing
and the higher fuel costs that
were prevalent during the
1970s.6 The genesis of these
two scenarios ultimately
resulted in the modern build
WOOLLEY BUILDING, MOUNT STROMLO CAMPUS
Completed in 1995
Natural ventilation with some air-conditioning, high levels of
insulation, unusual shaped window boxes on the Western
façade to reduce heat load and manages stormwater
through surface drainage and retention ponds.
Where it began for ANU…
IAN ROSS BUILDING – College of Engineering and Computer Science
Completed in 2000
Ian Ross Building maximizes passive environmental systems as a means of providing occupant thermal comfort. New walls are either
insulated double brick or reverse veneer for a stable internal environment and minimized heat/cool loading.
A narrow floor plate allows deep penetration of day light into internal spaces with clerestory windows where additional light is
required. Ventilation chimney stacks also double as light wells drawing light deep into the building. A hydronic slab heating system
that is suitable for future integration with solar hot water collection has been installed to heat the building during winter. Slab heating is
a storage heating system that utilizes the mass of the building to dispense heat to the space. The system has been zoned to take into
consideration usage patterns, internal loads and conduction loads on each space. Any solar heat gain is distributed throughout the
building using the water with a reduction on energy consumption of 40-45% and a reduction in installed boiler capacity of 40%.
Two natural ventilation networks exist within the Ian Ross building – a fully automated system and a manually operated system, as well
as a night purge function that has been incorporated and will operate during the high temperature summer periods to purge stored
heat from the building overnight.
JOHN CURTIN SCHOOL OF MEDICAL
Completed in 2007
Several environmentally sustainable design features were
also integrated into the JCSMR.
Materials from the previous buildings demolished on site
were reused where possible.
Large windows allow abundant natural light to shine
throughout the school and automatic lighting control is
installed in many areas.
The building itself is east to west orientated, and an
adaptive air conditioning system is employed with a
passive solar chimney, operable windows, and night purge
The wide concrete stairs leading up to the main entrance
act as a plenum space; fresh, outdoor air is drawn in
beneath the stairs and the 200 seat auditorium is ventilated
naturally, reducing energy consumption.
“Traffic light” system tell occupants when to open or close
Started 2010 - Ongoing
The laboratory areas incorporate a large number of fume cupboards,
which are exhausted via a single manifolded duct, this exhaust system
also includes a thermal recovery coil. This is the first laboratory building
in Australia to incorporate this feature and required the project to seek
a special exemption from the building certifier as it was completed
‘ahead’ of the Australian Standards for Laboratory design.
The building incorporates extremely complex facade elements, with a
mix of digitally moulded precast panels, high performance glazing,
lightweight aluminium panelling installed with complex geometric
patterns and recycled timber sunshades.
ESD initiatives & targets for the Biosciences Building include:
Adaptive air conditioning
Blackwater Treatment plant to recycle waste water for re-use,
Rainwater harvesting and recycling plant,
Lighting control systems including sensors, timers and low energy
lamping with electronic ballasts
The building design meets GBCA 5 star Green Star
A new Central Plant facility constructed to provide hot water for
heating and chilled water supply to service the building (as well as 6
other buildings in the precinct).
JAEGER 8 Research School of Earth
The innovative cooling system utilises the stored rain
water and the basement rock storage to assist with
providing cooled air to the upper levels via thermal
Individual temperature control within each office
Partially exposed concrete ceilings in office areas to
assist with radiant cooling and heating.
Provision of ceiling fans in each office space.
Natural ventilation through operable windows to all
offices. Some windows controlled via actuators to
allow night purging of the building.
Double glazed windows.
Rain Water tank for building cooling and landscape
Recovered material used in construction of façade
5 Star Energy Rating
FENNER SCHOOL OF ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY
Sustainable energy generation
The building has a 40kw PV array that has the ability of generating over
65000 kWh of sustainable energy each year. The design intent was to
enable the generation rate to equal or surpass the energy
consumption within the building resulting in carbon neutral operation.
Efficient heating & cooling
The building has been connected to the new College of Science
central plant which supplies the heating and chilled water for the
conditioning of the building . The waste water from the building Frank
Fenner building is also directed to the Black water treatment system in
the central plant.
Active chilled beams
Active chilled beams provide energy efficient cooling and are also
used in conjunction with an energy recovery system to further improve
the energy efficiency.
Traffic light system
The traffic light system used in the building informs the occupants of
when the outdoor temperature is suitable for natural ventilation, and
when the internal heating and cooling should be used.
Fenner School of Environment and Society
To ensure that the energy being used to heat and cool is fully utilised the thermal
envelope of the building has incorporated Hebel block for its insulation value , along
with the wall and ceiling insulation. Particular attention to detail was required to ensure
the minimisation of gaps to stop leakage. Double glazing and external shading also
play an important role in providing natural light and views while reducing solar gain
and noise infiltration.
Rainwater harvesting system
The rainwater harvesting system and the storm water management system integrates
best practice with bio filtration and provides habitat via the creation of an ephemeral
pond. This site development is monitored via time lapse photography and used as a
A wet land has been created to promote bio diversity and to provide an out door
teaching area. The growth of the wetlands is being monitored and recorded for future
The pattern in the brickwork represents research data in climate change.
THE BUILDING WAS ACCREDITED WITH A 6 GREENSTAR FOR DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
BY THE GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA.
LENA KARMEL LODGE
The building innovatively addresses the challenges of energy, water and
resource efficiency by implementing passive features and behaviour
modification strategies, while also implementing ESD initiatives such as:
• on-site solar photovoltaic panels,
• highly efficient zoned controlled lighting in common areas,
• rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing,
• roof top gardens,
• charging points for electric vehicles and;
• extensive bicycle parking.
SUSTAINABILITY AT LENA KARMEL
Community education and engagement
A number of “fun” initiatives have been
implemented to promote engagement
including formal monthly competitions
between floors of the residence to see which
has the lowest environmental footprint.
These data come from the real time
information that is displayed on the
The dashboard also displays the number of
people who use the central staircases,
representing the data as the number of times
the residents have “climbed” Mt Everest,
instead of taking the elevator.
What happens next? Some questions we are considering
Is innovation in sustainable design still
dependant on cost and/or return on
Does the management and broader
community understand sustainable
design and operations?
How will emerging demands in the
tertiary sector (new research, changing
teaching methodologies and high
volume information processing) influence
sustainable design and operations?
Is industry really committed to innovation
in design and construction?
SESSION: ISCN 2014 WORKING GROUP 1 - BUILDINGS AND THEIR SUSTAINABILITY IMPACTS
MODERATORS: BART MEEHAN AND EDDI OMRCEN
1. Innovation in building sustainability design and operations.
What is "innovation" in building sustainability?
Is it radical changes in design and operations or more gradual evolution that progressively improves on existing designs are as efficient as they can be?
What will a university building/campus look like in 10 years, in 20 years, in 50 years?
What will be the expectations of the community and how will design have to involve to meet those demands?
Presentation: Evolution of sustainable building design at the Australian National University - Bart Meehan (10 minutes)
Presentation: TBA - Eddi Omrcen (Gothenburg University (10 Minutes)
2. Engaging the organisation in innovation.
The group will discuss institutional barriers to establishing innovative design and operations in campus buildings and explore strategies for creating
Presentation: Engaging the community in innovation - Rene Swart (St Stithians College, Sth Africa) (15 minutes)
Presentation: Energy Efficiency (Lighting Upgrade) - Meri Löyttyniemi (15 minutes)
BREAK - 20 MINUTES
3. Creating a knowledge base of best practice
The group will discuss the further development of the ISCN case studies database and how best practice should be assessed, including peer group
evaluation before the publication of the case studies.
The section will include the presentation of the online case study survey tool that has been developed, with the group being asked to provide feedback
Presentation: Building a data base of innovative design and operations - Colin Reiter (University of Melbourne) (15 minutes)