Looking through staff lunch room to conference facilities

Project Overview

Trevor Pearcey House is located in Fern Hill Technology Park, Bruce ACT, and is typical of low rise office buildings that continue to be produced throughout Australia. They do not normally lend themselves to refurbishment as they are not the attractive old warehouses given their low level of aesthetic, and environmental qualities and the general level of amenity.  When it is time for upgrading these buildings are normally demolished.

The client, Australian Ethical Investment (AEI) was very supportive in conjunction with the head contractor of the cooperative design approach by which the building has been sculpted into a high class sustainable building which is humane and liveable. The resulting form and appearance is a reflection of all the elements which interact on its design – structure, environment, people and location. It was the first 6 star Green Star building in the ACT and only the third in Australia to achieve the 6 star rating from the Green Building Council. Most importantly the rating was achieved using low-tech design interventions on a conventional construction budget.

The refurbished building has been developed to maximise the use of natural ventilation and lighting and to minimise energy use. This has been done relatively simply by insulating the outside of the existing façade, insulating the existing roof to R6, reorganising and modifying sun shading, replacing existing fixed windows with new double glazed operable windows, exposing thermal mass, improving daylight penetration and reusing materials. Environmental initiatives cover all areas of the building design such as management, waste, transport, water, indoor environment in addition to the systems mentioned above. A 75 per cent reduction in energy use and an 80 per cent reduction in water has consequently been reached.

One of the notable achievements in the building was the amount of recycling achieved. This included metal studs, plasterboard, carpet tiles, doors and door hardware, joinery cupboards, ceiling tiles, glass blocks, insulation, power point plates, cabling, furniture items, and other fittings.

Images: Ben Wrigley