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East Melbourne Library YEN tour reveals sustainable upgrades

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CIBSE Young Engineers Network Victoria held a site tour at East Melbourne Library this month. The tour was led by Garry Ormston, Principal Architect, City of Melbourne, who led the original design and Linda Longley, Community Heritage and East Melbourne Library Team Leader who works on site.

Designed with local community consultation, the entrance to the library is largely set back from the street, providing a small urban plaza and grand connections to high quality external views from the large south facing fa├žade. The building fabric has been optimised by addressing issues of insulation, shading, daylighting, glazing, thermal mass, natural ventilation and heating and cooling.

A ground source heat pump provides heating and cooling to the building via the ground floor slab. The building is fully naturally ventilated, drawing air through a sub-floor plenum into the building through perimeter vents in the ground floor. Roof ventilators are provided at a high level to exhaust the air. Water is harvested for toilet flushing and garden irrigation via two 7,500 litre pre-cast concrete tanks.  It was the winner of the 2007 IDEA awards for sustainability.

Initially opened in 2006, the space was recently renovated to deal with the changing nature and use of libraries (i.e. more community groups, computer use).Our hosts discussed with the group the original design, hiccups during construction and operational facility lessons learnt; which were particularly interesting considering the mechanical design.
Recent retrofits have also included a substantial amount of PV on the roof, which the council said has added to the reduced ongoing operational costs of the facility. Consistent with the City of Melbourne's zero emission by 2020 target, no gas (non-renewable) resources are provided to the building.

CIBSE ANZ Young Engineers Network run site tours and other technical and social events in chapters around Australia and New Zealand specifically intended for industry professionals under 35 years of age.  YEN membership is free for CIBSE and non-CIBSE members, if you would like to join the CIBSE YEN network in your chapter register online now