The Northern Territory faces one of the most extreme climes in Australia. Stifling hot summers lead to a stereotypically humid wet season. This brings with it added challenges in the construction stages for builders, who have the responsibility of creating environments that are comfortable and can withstand this intense climate.
This is why it has been such a challenge for the territory to create comfortable interior spaces without using high-carbon emitting technologies such as air conditioners.
However, one development is changing all of that. Jacana House, located in Darwin, has been certified by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) as the territory’s first ever 5 Star Green Star building. Achieving a 5 Star – Office Design v2 rating.
This eleven storey, 10,000 sqm commercial office building is the brainchild of architectural firm Woodhead. The firm has a strong reputation in national Green Star firsts, also designing Australia’s first Green Star-rated healthcare facility, NSW’s Flinders Medical Centre which gained a 5 Star – Healthcare Design v1 rating.
Naturally, given the clime, energy efficient temperature moderators were a major focus implemented into the design of the office building. Low – E double glazing has been added to all of the building’s windows. In addition to the glazing, fixed external louvers have been built into to the exterior windows in order to further aid in temperature control by minimising solar gain, whilst maximising interior natural light. Energy efficient air-conditioning has also been added as another way to tackle the extreme heat.
Designed specifically for the building, a desiccant dehumidification system has also been added to further aid in climate control.
Aiding in the insulation of the building, a green roof, and green roof terrace spaces have also been added.
The building’s environmentally sustainable design (ESD) water systems include a grey water system as well as water efficient fittings and a 303 kL rainwater tank.
All of the materials used throughout the construction process have also been chosen for their environmentally friendly components including low VOC and formaldehyde free paints, timber veneers and flooring.
In choosing climate appropriate ESD features, a building’s excessive carbon emissions can be virtually eliminated, as well as their associated costs. Jacana House is proving that even in the most extreme climates, sustainable building is possible. In fact, it can often work to its greatest ability.