EME Design's Mildura Eco Living Centre was the winner of the Small Commercial prize at the 2016 Sustainability Awards. The expert judges noted that "this building embraces sustainable design and construction from start to finish", selecting the project from a strong field of five finalists. Scroll to the bottom to see comments from our jury on this project.
Striving for a new generation learning space, Mildura Eco Living Centre was designed by EME Design for flexibility, efficiency and comfort.
An open ESD textbook for visitors, the building goes beyond the standard passive design response. Mildura Eco marries the latest technological ESD design with natural building techniques and sustainable materials. A subterranean cooling and solar air heating system working in conjunction with an integrated subfloor heat bank, complement natural, and sustainable building materials.
The architecture embraces the temperature profiles of the semi-arid climate and uses them to its advantage, providing the building with phenomenal natural thermal performance with very little help. It demonstrates that sustainability is predominantly achievable without expensive add-ons or specialized plant and equipment.
The dramatic roof plane is the product of extensive solar diagramming. Consideration of prevailing breezes and the dusty nature of the surrounding land was factored in to the design of the building envelop.
This design utilises local earth and rocks, and incorporates other locally sourced materials.
The architecture has embedded within multiple alternatives for passive heat storage - traditional concrete slab, subterranean rock air plenum and earth wall.
As part of the embedded educational aspect the building has two modes of operation: at the change of seasons the building is "dressed" for summer (via two custom made vertical fabric elements protecting the building from the west and east) and these are removed for the colder months. It is planned that this change over becomes a local ritual/celebration/party for people to enjoy and learn.
The entire roof of the building is connected to a 10,000 litre water tank. The collected water will service all water requirements of the building as well as provide water for irrigation of the surrounding landscape. All fittings within the building are water saving, 4 star toilets and low flow taps.
- Under First Rate the building effectively achieved a rating of 8.6 - 9 stars depending on how spaces were allocated function
- First Rate could not add in the benefit of preconditioned sub-slab systems that have been integrated in to the design
- Green Star criteria revision showed in most cases the design exceeds the standards considerably. It could achieve 84 points, well above the 67 points required to achieve 6 stars
- The design exceeds the sustainable scorecard (commercial equivalent of steps) Score Card requirement by more than 60 per cent, achieving 174 points
- A Rock bed thermal storage below the slab vastly improves the building's capacity to store thermal energy and to distribute it later, working for both the storage of heat energy for winter and cool for summer
- Adjustable double layered roof system enables the roof to have two modes of operation, purging solar gain in summer, and increasing heat retention in the cold months
- Minimal embodied energy within the construction of the building by carefully selecting materials, structural systems and method of construction
- Material reuse in the future - although it is hoped the 200-year life span planned for this building comes to fruition
- Local salvage materials were designed-in to the building, as were opportunities for community participation
- Natural ventilation - the placement of windows and the sectional profile of the building enables warmer air to be expelled and ceiling fans provide low air movement for comfort
- Solar Hot water - given the local climate and the modest water demand it is expected that the sun will provide hot water 99 per cent of the time
- Photovoltaic panels - as part of the project and the wider master plan a demonstration solar grid is being installed in phases. This will power the building and/or put power back in to the grid
- Rainwater collection - the entire roof is connected to a 10,000 litre water tank, which services all water requirements of the building as well as provide water for irrigation of the surrounding landscape
- Lighting power density to less than 10 watts/m2
- The daylight strategy eliminates the need for lighting during daylight hours
- An educational purpose, the architecture as a textbook, teaching by doing and showing
RADIAL TIMBER, BATTEN & BOARD RADIAL CUT WEATHERBOARDS
RADIAL CUT SHIPLAP BOARDS, WEATHERBOARDS, ECOPLY
LAMINATED TIMBER SUPPLIES, DURA BEAM
LAMINATED TIMBER SUPPLIES,CUTEK OIL – BLACK ASH
WINDOWS & DOORS
DOUBLE GLAZED TIMBER WINDOWS
DOUBLE GLAZED TIMBER DOORS
NEW EARTH SYSTEMS, SOLAR AIR MODULES (SAM)
10,000L SQUAT RAINWATER TANK (GR10000RWS)
PLUMTEC MILDURA, RINNAI PRESTIGE SYSTEM I, ELEC180L, 1 COLECTOR, 3.6KW UNIT
BORAL CONCRETE, ENVIROBLEND CONCRETE
KNAUF INSULATION,ECO BATTS
COLOURS BY NATURE, LIVOS KALDET WOOD FINISH WHITE THINNED DOWN 50-50 WITH LIVOS WOOD FINISH CLEAR
DMD LIGHTING, LED AND T5 FLURO
DMD LIGHTING, TEMPEST II
"This building embraces sustainable design and construction from start to finish. It is an inspiring example to all building types on what can be achieved in a fluctuating climate at an affordable cost.
"More importantly, MELC integrates ESD into a playful and interactive educational space, facilitating a new way of learning which has sustainability at its very core."
The award for Small Commercial was proudly sponsored by Salt 3