Monash University will build new student accommodation to Passive House standards, as it moves forward with ambitious sustainability plans.
The university announced this year it would become 100 per cent renewable by 2030, cut out gas and target Passive House for all new university buildings.
This week it followed through, announcing that a new six-storey 150-room student accommodation building at its Peninsula Campus in Frankston would target Passive House and most likely be constructed from cross-laminated timber (CLT), expected to halve embodied carbon compared with a typical concrete structure.
Designed by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects (JCBA) with landscape architecture by Glas Urban, the building will also be gas free, while the Passive House design and rooftop solar is expected to cut grid electricity use dramatically. With the university expected to pursue renewable power purchase agreements, it is describing the building as “net zero ready”.
JCBA said the project would be the largest in Australia to combine CLT and Passive House.
Its senior associate Simon Topliss told The Fifth Estate the project comprised 6500 square metres of space, with ground level common space and support accommodation, and five storeys of student housing. Under current designs about 14,000 sq m of CLT will be used.
Mr Topliss said meeting Passive House was a real challenge under Australian conditions as it was the “opposite climate” to Europe where the standard had originated.
“Energy modelling has been the most challenging aspect of the project,” he said.
A focus on solar shading to cut heat loads while optimising design to still provide good daylight amenity has been crucial to meeting the standard, as well as service design and appliance selection.
“Having delivered previous student accommodation for Monash, it’s going to be quite a step up for building performance, and be much more comfortable for students.”
Pro vice-chancellor (major campuses and student engagement) Professor David Copolov said the building was critical in promoting the Frankston/Mornington Peninsula campus.
“The availability of quality student accommodation is one of the key components that underpin our desire to establish Monash Peninsula as Australia’s leading centre of allied health education and research, and to expand our campus’ contribution to and engagement with the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula region, including as a source of education, business and allied health graduates,” Professor Copolov said.
“We are especially proud of the environmental features of this exciting new building, whose design gives effect to our strategy for a sustainable future.”
Other sustainability features include rainwater harvesting and water sensitive urban design, including a landscaped dry-creek bed to provide opportunities for recreation, manage storm water flows during high rain events and connect into the campus’ natural waterways.