Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena is the latest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED Gold Certified building in Australia and the fourth within the Melbourne & Olympic Parks precinct.

In 1988, the original COX-designed arena opened its doors for the first time and thirty-two years later successfully continues to host the Australian Open Grand Slam and top international music artists, with the first post-redevelopment tournament beating all previous totals, welcoming 812,174 people. 

The world-class sport and entertainment venue recently underwent an extensive upgrade, designed by COX, and has received LEED Gold Certification for sustainable building practices, use of materials and technology. 

The certification recognises the design measures taken to support the arena’s commitment to environmental responsibility. These measures included macro site planning initiatives such as ensuring excellent connectivity to public transport and the incorporation of innovative wastewater technologies, to more technical elements such as the selection of roof materials that reflect heat rather than absorbing and re-radiating it, therefore reducing the urban heat island effect.

The COX team embedded Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) principles throughout the design of the upgrade from its inception, ensuring that sustainability was prioritised and retained to achieve this outstanding result within a context of existing thirty-year-old building fabric, dated services, and a vast internal volume.

The venue is also committed to improving guest experience through environmental stewardship using LEED, and achieved certification by implementing specific initiatives and sustainability metrics that include:

  • 26.9 percent total energy cost saving
  • 17.7 percent reduction in gas usage
  • 20 percent reduction in water usage, including an 81.83 percent reduction in potable water usage.
  • 83.87 percent of all non-hazardous construction and demolition debris has been diverted away from landfill
  • Low VOC emitting materials throughout the facility
  • 25 percent reduction (or 2100 fewer tons) of annual carbon emissions
  • Design included increased numbers of thermal zones to allow for maximising controllability and thermal comfort.
  • Ventilation rates were increased to provide enhanced interior air quality and the building incorporates airflow monitors and CO2 sensors.
  • The stadium is 100 percent smoke-free.
  • Car park ventilation is designed to be triggered by the CO2 monitors so it runs only when required.

Improvements to the air conditioning system were introduced that enable the system to be scaled in intensity depending on the occupation levels, reducing electricity usage of both fans and cooling plant.

Images: Peter Clarke / Supplied.