PICAC Narre Warren is Victoria’s first Net Zero Energy education facility developed by Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) in association with IAPMO, an international research and certification organisation.

Designed by FMSA Architecture, the education facility that will provide instruction and training to the next generation of plumbers is highly efficient and self-supporting, generating its own energy and utilising the latest in sustainable building construction methods and components. This is also the third campus that FMSA Architecture has designed for PICAC.

Every element of the facility was selected with consideration to its contribution to the Net Zero Energy equation, and the working components are now on display throughout the open spaces and exterior of the building. The facility includes an auditorium, training rooms, laboratories, workshops, testing facilities, welding and gas fitting facilities and administration spaces.

ThermAFrame products from Alspec were specified for the PICAC Narre Warren project, adding to the green credentials of the Net Zero Energy building. With window and door framing playing a crucial role in temperature control, Alspec’s ThermAFrame products were a purposeful addition to the building exterior. Thermally broken frames deliver insulation and solar protection, and contribute to the airtight environment vital to the performance of a Net Zero Energy building.

Fabricated by Summit Aluminium & Glass, ThermAFrame 150mm centre pocket framing was used for fixed framing, while ThermAFrame 50mm commercial doors and ThermAFrame awning windows added access and opening points.

The ‘thermal break’ in ThermAFrame products is made from a less conductive polyamide material that separates the sections of the window or door frame. The break reduces the ability of the aluminium frame to transfer heat or cold between the interior and exterior sections, contributing to a stable, energy-efficient building environment that relies less on mechanical heating and cooling.

The thermally broken framing adds to the building’s already impressive list of environmental credentials, which include a sophisticated underground geothermal heating system, a solar panel system on the insulated roof, LED lighting, evaporative cooling system and stormwater reuse in toilets.

Photography: Blue Tree Studios