Melton, an outlying suburb around 35km to the west of Melbourne CBD, is one of the fastest growing urban districts in Australia. With a low socio-economic profile and rapid growth since the 1990s, providing outstanding community facilities at the same time as meeting a commitment to reducing the municipality’s environmental footprint is high on the agenda for the Melton Local Council.
With their existing library housed in a 1970’s designed and built overcrowded and congested facility, the council committed to providing a legacy for their growing community.
In collaboration with fjmt architects, they embarked on a $20 million design and build project that was ambitious from the outset; to create a 5 Star Green Star Design and As-Built Rated building (against the Green Building Council of Australia Public Building PILOT tool) that would serve the community.
“When we commenced our engagement on this project in collaboration with the Council, we were not able to register on the PILOT program and thus we began the design and documentation phase of the building without having had any contact with the Green Building Council,” says Lance White, Senior Associate, fjmt. “At the beginning of construction the project team embarked on a journey in March 2012 to be added to the PILOT program and became the 14th design project to be added.”
Having had first-hand experience in interpreting the new Green Star Public Building PILOT manual from their specialist ESD Consultants Murchie Consulting, fjmt and the project team had been able to begin the design process in a way that would meet the intended interpretation of requirements.
With their goal to spread their Green Star points across the whole project the team at fjmt were very particular in the specification of products to be used. Knauf Designpanel perforated plasterboard sheets were used in the ceilings and QuadShield (now superseded by Knauf TruRock) and FireShield in the walls.
“One of the important factors when choosing products that boast environmental credentials is that they are 3rd party accredited. The Knauf Designpanel product used in the ceilings, in addition to being 3rd party certified GreenRate Level A, is made up of 90% recycled content, giving it the highest environmental credentials,” says Lance. “This was a significant deciding factor for us. While there were cheaper products available which simply ticked the minimum 40% recycled criteria, and more expensive products with higher recycled content, the Knauf product represented very good value for money given its significant environmental credentials.
The criteria for the Green Star acoustic reverberation control requirement of this multi-purpose building, which houses meeting rooms, computer training rooms, a theatrette, various public spaces and, of course, the library itself, was quite stringent and the Knauf Designpanel product was able to meet this quite easily.
“This building really is a building of the 21st Century,” says Lance. “Working collaboratively with the Council and the main building contractors, ADCO Construction, was the highlight of this project. The Council had absolute faith in the project and showed their commitment by procuring the designs ahead of being able to register for the PILOT program. The final building would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts of Council, ADCO Construction and the fjmt design team. The result is a building that has exceeded even Council’s expectations with over 1000 visitors a day. They have left an enormous legacy for their community and have established a benchmark, which they hope will go a long way to achieving their goal of reducing their corporate greenhouse emissions by 10% by 2015 and being carbon neutral by 2025.”