The Australian Institute of Management’s (AIM) new building, the Katitjin Centre in Western Australia, is a high-performance, environmentally-friendly educational facility representing AIM’s investment in a sustainable future.
The building has already achieved a remarkable accolade: the first building in Western Australia to be awarded a 6 Star Green Star Education Design v1 certification.
The centre is emissions-neutral, meaning it produces as much energy in operation as it consumes.
Norman Disney & Young (NDY) were commissioned to undertake the sustainability, acoustic and building services consultancies for the project, and throughout the design process worked closely with AIM and the architect (Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland) to ensure that the sustainable initiatives pursued added value to the project. Sustainability in all forms was a major focus for the build.
The design team recognised that thinking green from the outset would allow significant sustainability initiatives to be realised for minimal cost. The appropriateness of this approach was confirmed early on, as AIM WA Executive Director Patrick Cullen explains, “During the tender stage, we put out options for both a 5 Star and a 6 Star rating. There was relatively little financial difference between the two, reinforcing our desire to target the higher 6 Star Green Star rating”.
Fred Chaney, Project Director at Cox Howlett and Bailey Woodland shares these sentiments, “The Katitjin Centre was always going to be a sustainable building. What we needed was a credible benchmark to substantiate the outcomes and ensure a higher level of rigour in the design and delivery process. In Australia, Green Star is that benchmark”.
The 1,400 m2 Katitjin Centre contains nine leading edge training rooms, two syndicate rooms, lounge and breakout areas, and networking and meeting facilities.
The combination of passive design, efficient equipment selection, sophisticated controls systems and extensive photovoltaic technology resulted in a remarkable feat – a building which has been modelled to produce a net negative carbon emission in operation.
”From a design perspective, what’s remarkable about this building is its achievement of a six star rating without compromising the aesthetic value or usability of the facility. The building achieves its targets subtly, yet delivers a dynamic overall impact” explains NDY Perth Director Darrell Williams.
Intelligent site orientation allows the Centre to benefit from high levels of daylight penetration while also reducing the building’s thermal loads. This means the air-conditioning and ventilation system doesn’t need to work as hard, and the lighting system is only used sparingly, which reduces demand in two traditional areas of high energy use.
This orientation, coupled with highly efficient systems, allows the Centre’s remaining energy requirements to be met by the installed solar array.
“The energy performance is above and beyond what we expected” Williams says, ”It demonstrates how far good design can push building performance”.