How those issues were addressed —

The architectural approach was an holistic one, from environmentally responsible design, to a healthy building for its users, with positive commitments at all levels. The building not only addresses ecological and energy issues, but health, economy and community.

From a global perspective, the intent was to whatever possible, within the given constraints of an existing building and limited budget, to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases. This has been achieved by an array of ESD measures, including solar passive design where possible, supplemented with energy efficient and energy reducing means for active systems where able.

From a national perspective, there was a conscious effort to utilise Australian products in preference to imported products where available, to be a leader in local government, and to contribute to society in a socially responsible way.

From a local perspective, local and regional tradespersons, suppliers and manufacturers were given preference where possible, including the local Builder who won the tender over several larger metropolitan based firms.

The most significant of these is the Geothermal HVAC system, utilising the stability of the below-ground temperature. In a climate with winter frosts and sub-zero temperatures, over 40 degree heat in summer, and a diurnal range in spring and autumn of 20 degrees plus, the geothermal, despite its initial capital cost, incurred a payback of just over four years.

Timescale

The project was engaged in November, 1998, and the first sketch plans presented to Council prior to Christmas that year. Construction documentation was completed for the Tendering process by April, 1999, with construction commencing in May, 1999.

Work was completed in February, 2000 with an official opening by the Premier of NSW soon after. Awards include Banksia 2001 Environmental Awards nomination, the Inaugural 2001 Green Building Awards Bronze Medal, and 2001 RAIA Country Division Awards.

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