Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Melbourne Council Green Office Building

BioClimatic Section of CH2 BuildingCouncil House 2 is a ten story office building with a six Green Star rating. It is occupied by the Melbourne City Council at 218-242 Little Collins Street, Melbourne and opened August 2006.

The most striking part of the building are six bright yellow wind turbines, designed to exhaust stale air from the top of the building. There is a cryptic mention of the operation of the turbines:
"What is even better is the fact that the generator inside is a direct adaptation of a domestic washing machine motor. Could there be a more appropriate symbol of an intuitive, adaptive design (and one that seems so very Australian)?"

From "CH2", Robert Morris-Nunn, Architecture Australia, January/February 2007
A more technical article indicates they operate as air extractors at night and as elelctricy generators during the day:
"Wind energy is one of the most readily available renewable energy sources. The wind driven turbines proposed for CH2 are designed to perform as ventilators to assist night purge air flow through the building and operate as electricity generators during the daytime. The common wind turbine enhances ventilation about 30 per cent over an open stack (Lechner, 2001). Six wind turbines will be installed on top of the north solar stacks. The wind turbines are predicted to improve the night purge ventilation of the building by about six per cent on windy nights, and will not contribute to ventilation on still nights or during the day (AEC, 2004). During the day the turbines will not assist air extraction, because an internal positive pressure needs to be maintained to ensure indoor environment quality. "

From: CH2 Energy Harvesting Systems: Economic Use and Efficiency, C.K. Cheung, Built Environment Research Group (BERG), School of Architecture and Building, Deakin University
I hope to visit CH2 in the next few weeks and see if the reality is as good as the descriptions I have read. If it is then it would far exceed the much praised "Gherkin" (30 St Mary Axe or the Swiss Re building) in London.

CH2 applies
Biomimicry in its engineering. Perhaps this could also be applied to the computer systems ton control the energy and water saving features of the building, so the building would have a limited artificial brain and would actually think about its environment. This may sound abstract but it could use the techniques developed by Andrew Coward in his book "A System Architecture Approach to the Brain: From Neurons to Consciousness" and course:
This course will teach how to understand the behaviours of complex functional systems in terms of their components, using as an example the problem of relating psychology to physiology for the human brain.

Students will learn how to approach understanding of complex functional systems by means of descriptions on many different levels of detail which can be mapped into each other. This is one of the basic skills needed to understand, design and modify complex functional systems.

The course will be relevant to students interested in designing or maintaining complex functional systems. Using the human brain as the example will make the course relevant to students interested in research on the mammal brain, and students interested in medical studies of the human brain.

From: System Architectural Understanding and the Human Brain COMP3650, Faculty of Engineering & IT, ANU, 2007

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