Thursday, October 18, 2007

Green Buildings in Canberra

Trevor Pearcey HouseKevin Miller, Architect, and Katy Mutton, Interior Designer, talked last night at the at the ACS Green IT Special Interest Group about environmental offices and educational buildings they had designed in Canberra recently.

Kevin and Katy are from Collard Clarke Jackson Canberra Pty Ltd, who undertook an award winning sustainable refurbishment of Trevor Pearcey House for Australian Ethical Investment.
Kevin talked about progress with environmental design since the completion of the ANU - Ian Ross Building and other projects.

One insight was the practicalities of computer versus human control of temperature in a building. The Ian Ross building has electrically operated windows which open and close under computer control. There are switches for the occupant to override the automated system, but Keven commented that the control was not fine enough. The AEI building, in contrast has some windows under automated control and some which can be opened by hand. The manual windows are design to provide a small amount of extra ventilation, without confusing the automated system.

Another insight was with the reuse of existing materials. Katy pointed out that much of the furniture and fittings of the existing AEI building were repaired and reused. This was mostly cost neutral: the material costs were lower as they were recycled, but more work was needed to make them usable.

I asked Kevin about the design of flexible learning centres for universities equipped with computers, and he commented that they had studies these for secondary schools and much of this should be applicable to universities.

The next meeting of the Green IT Special Interest Group is Reducing The IT Sectors Carbon Footprint with Michael Smith, Wednesday 21 November 2007.

Trevor Pearcey House is named in honor of Australian computer pioneer Dr Trevor Pearcy, who led the team which built CSIRAC, the fifth stored program computer in the world (and the oldest still in existence).

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