Walert House by Richard Middleton Architects has achieved a 5-Star Green Star design rating.
The residential accommodation for 372 RMIT students uses thermal chimneys, window actuators, solar hot water systems and harvesting of rainwater.
The brief was to design state-of-the-art sustainable accommodation options for students that included traditional shared living experiences within communal apartments that form interactive cohorts over their respective levels, to independent single units that will be available in a range of sizes.
A proposed model for shared student space was incorporated into this project, providing an innovative mix of casual living spaces combined with formal and informal learning zones, all located around a central hub - further promoting a sense of community and shared learning, and ensuring the building is as self-sufficient as possible.
One of the biggest challenges of the project was the location. The building sits along an Aboriginal heritage trail Keelbundoora Scarred Trees and Heritage Trail - named after a Wurundjeri Clan ancestor. It was important that they were respected and uninterrupted and that the building would nestle itself among the trees and form a part of the environment. Any sustainable practices had to ensure they wouldn't disturb any of the area and inflict potential damage.
The building was designed to have cross ventilation between the two wings, so that during the warmer months a cross breeze would cool the building down at night.
All air-conditioning components are within one star of the best available energy star rating. Where HVAC equipment specified does not have an energy star rating, the air conditioning system has an equal or better Code of Practice (COP) than a compliant reference system.
- The 5-Star Green Star Rating Design is delivered through:
Solar-boosted hot water
Underground storm water retention tanks and separate rainwater storage and reuse for gardens and laundries
A large landscape Swale - a water harvesting channel built on the contour of the landscape, for passive water management
Motion detector controlled lighting/air conditioning in common areas
An allowance for future connectivity to tri-gen electricity (RMIT Sustainable Urban Precincts Program)
- All taps rated to 6-star minimums and use of laminated veneer lumber (LVL) throughout the core reduces heating effects of traditional concentrate
VINYL AND INTERNAL WATERPROOFING
PARTITIONS AND CEILINGS