Monash render passive house

Monash University will build new student accommodation to Passive House standards, as it moves forward with ambitious sustainability plans.

The university announced this year it would become 100 per cent renewable by 2030, cut out gas and target Passive House for all new university buildings.

This week it followed through, announcing that a new six-storey 150-room student accommodation building at its Peninsula Campus in Frankston would target Passive House and most likely be constructed from cross-laminated timber (CLT), expected to halve embodied carbon compared with a typical concrete structure.

Designed by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects (JCBA) with landscape architecture by Glas Urban, the building will also be gas free, while the Passive House design and rooftop solar is expected to cut grid electricity use dramatically. With the university expected to pursue renewable power purchase agreements, it is describing the building as “net zero ready”.

JCBA said the project would be the largest in Australia to combine CLT and Passive House.

Monash render passive house

Its senior associate Simon Topliss told The Fifth Estate the project comprised 6500 square metres of space, with ground level common space and support accommodation, and five storeys of student housing. Under current designs about 14,000 sq m of CLT will be used.

Mr Topliss said meeting Passive House was a real challenge under Australian conditions as it was the “opposite climate” to Europe where the standard had originated.

“Energy modelling has been the most challenging aspect of the project,” he said.

A focus on solar shading to cut heat loads while optimising design to still provide good daylight amenity has been crucial to meeting the standard, as well as service design and appliance selection.

“Having delivered previous student accommodation for Monash, it’s going to be quite a step up for building performance, and be much more comfortable for students.”

Pro vice-chancellor (major campuses and student engagement) Professor David Copolov said the building was critical in promoting the Frankston/Mornington Peninsula campus.

Monash render passive house

“The availability of quality student accommodation is one of the key components that underpin our desire to establish Monash Peninsula as Australia’s leading centre of allied health education and research, and to expand our campus’ contribution to and engagement with the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula region, including as a source of education, business and allied health graduates,” Professor Copolov said.

“We are especially proud of the environmental features of this exciting new building, whose design gives effect to our strategy for a sustainable future.”

Other sustainability features include rainwater harvesting and water sensitive urban design, including a landscaped dry-creek bed to provide opportunities for recreation, manage storm water flows during high rain events and connect into the campus’ natural waterways.

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  1. David Mercer is your issue that you are not on any of the allied / alumni / graduation programmes ?
    Wake up and smell the coffee.
    They are doing good and we need to applaud and support that. Airline travel will always be required. One day we will have Tesla battery powered planes that will fly themselves and you’ll be able to tick that one off your list but for now … baby steps.
    If one university can actually DO passiv haus and show the country that it works and reduces their running costs then that will open the doors to every university being more comfortable to adopt the technology.
    I’m tired of people saying “Passiv Haus design and construction won’t work in Australia our climate is different”. It works everywhere. The laws of Thermodynamics apply all over this planet. What we can’t seem to put in brochures and on websites is amazing ‘feeling’ when you live inside one of these structures. It is like stepping into a Tesla.
    By the way, I’m also tired of do-gooders but I can’t see that be rectified anytime soon.
    At least Monash Uni will have something to proud of one day soon.
    Best Regards.

  2. This is all very fine at a micro-level. Good publicity. But who is fooled by this superficial PR stuff ? At a far more serious level let us see full annual disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions as a consequence of extensive airline and automobile travel by Monash staff and allied student/alumni/graduation programmes etc. Spruiking “Monash Global”=Monash’s rapidly escalating contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Not a good look for the university. Massive effort needed to lift this game.