The Sir John Monash Centre has combined a range of environmentally-friendly design solutions to help reduce its energy consumption and operating costs.
The Centre is half-submerged into the hill behind the Australian National Memorial, with a grassed roof that pays homage to its historic surroundings. Both of these design elements provide insulation which reduces temperature variations.
In the landscape surrounding the Centre, a network of geothermal piles provides renewable energy and helps reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.
A system of 41 geothermal piles, each 185m long, is driven into the ground and draws on the constant ambient temperature of the chalky earth to heat and cool the building which is heavily reliant on technology.
The geothermal system was co-funded by the European Regional Development fund which was especially interested in the fact that the Sir John Monash Centre is using the geothermal system for cooling, in a part of Europe where it is generally use to heat buildings.
How geothermal piles work
The concrete piles in the landscape surrounding the Sir John Monash Centre are connected to a heat exchange pump that transfers already cooled or heated water from the earth into the building’s mechanical system, reducing energy demands on the mechanical equipment to produce hot or cold air.
The system was incorporated into the early design and construction phase of the building.
As the geothermal piles were built, flexible plastic pipes were enclosed in reinforcement cages. After the foundations were laid, sections of the pipework were plumbed into the building’s heating and cooling systems.
The geothermal system greatly reduces energy consumption and maintains the building’s temperature more economically than a conventional system.
The Concrete Society estimates that for every 1kW of electrical energy used to drive a geothermal heat pump, 4kW of heat energy is delivered.
To help cool the Centre overnight, ventilation grilles open and close according to a thermostat.
The Centre also has a series of water tanks, which collect stormwater run-off, for grey water usage and filling a fire-fighting tank.