Photo: Courtesy of John Gollings

Living the Green Dream Conference – 16 September 2010 – A post occupancy study at the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Economics and Commerce building has revealed significant environmental and cost savings after provision of integrated services, the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating, or AIRAH, today heard in its Achieving the Green Dream conference in Melbourne.

According to the study, which looked at the performance of building services work designed by WSP Lincolne Scott and Built Ecology, the building consumes 46 per cent less electricity compared with three typical tertiary educational facilities, equating to comparative cost savings of about $260,000 per year.

Director and national leader for Built Ecology, David Jarratt told the conference that the post-occupancy data showed that improvement to electricity services also reduced the building’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning load by a further 33 per cent.

“This is an impressive result, particularly when viewed relative to the very high equipment power consumption in the lower half of the building which is used for teaching, with up to 13 hours of operation a day and computers running 24 hours,” Mr Jarratt said in his presentation.

“On top of that, it’s been achieved without the use of green power, co-generation or renewable technology and with 100 per cent fresh air delivery. It just shows what you can do when you design the right system for the right building.”

Mr Jarratt said Built Ecology provided post occupancy tuning and used authority electricity bills to confirm the building’s system were operating as designed.

He said the building featured significant reduction in electricity use and emissions as a result of chilled beam technology improvements to indoor air quality, 100 per cent fresh air delivery, humidity control and displacement airconditioning in lecture theatres.

There was also “significant reduction in potable water usage through efficient fixtures and fittings, rain water reuse, adiabatic coolers and blackwater recycling.”

Mr Jarratt said the project also used Australian manufactured used passive chilled beams, resulting in a reduction in transport embodied energy and emissions. (Most passive chilled beams are imported, he said.)

He said the 16-storey building was the first Victorian university rated under the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star Education tool and was awarded a 5 Star Green Star Education (Pilot) rating, representing Australian Best Practice.

It provides “state-of-the-art” facilities to students and staff in the Faculty of Economics and Commerce and the Melbourne Graduate School of Management.

Two basement levels, ground level and lower six tower levels provide a range of collaborative and individual teaching spaces, open access laboratories, two lecture theatres and student break-out areas.