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Green architecture – Melbourne Convention Centre

By Damir Beciri
26 July 2009

melbourne-convention-center-1When it comes to convention centers the Melbourne Convention Centre is a convention center like no other – Australia’s premier convention center. An innovative design concept by NH Architecture and Woods Bagot turns traditional convention center design inside out and presents a building that is distinctive and worthy of its prime riverfront location in the South Wharf precinct. It also managed to set a new world benchmarks as the first convention center to be awarded a ‘6 Star Green Star’ environmental rating by the Green Building Council of Australia.

The center is also raising standards to new heights in innovation, technology, imaginative catering and service options. The green building’s innovative sustainable design and operational features ensure the comfort of delegates and protection of the environment go hand-in-hand. Displacement ventilation takes care of low level air delivery and high level air exhaust in the plenary hall and foyer areas provide effective air flow with high indoor air quality at low energy consumption. The glass facade allows availability of natural light to the foyer and pre-function spaces. This reduces the need for artificial light and provides good thermal qualities during the winter.

Solar hot water systems can offset more than 40 percent of general hot water requirements and can provide 100 percent of public amenity hot water requirements. Light fittings have been selected and positioned in order to minimize resource and energy consumption. For instance, energy efficient lighting is achieved with daylight and motion detection control features.

A black water treatment plant collects building waste water and some storm water to provide treated water for toilet flushing, irrigation and cooling towers. Radiant slab heating and cooling in the foyer (with pipes in the concrete floor carrying hot or cold water to heat or cool the slab) provides a more comfortable internal environment with good thermal comfort levels. Carbon dioxide monitoring and control is part of air conditioning systems and ensures fresh air is continually delivered to the convention center.

And all of those features were achieved with usage of carpets, paints, adhesives and sealants that are low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and the use of low emission building materials. They also used FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) timber, which is environmentally friendly, rather than non-renewable timber. Usage of sustainable furnishings and floor covering and substitution of PVC with more environmentally-friendly materials were also applied.

The Melbourne Convention Centre is fully integrated with the exhibition center, creating the largest combined exhibition and convention facility in Australia. Thirty-two meeting rooms of various sizes, a grand ballroom and a state-of-the-art plenary hall that can be divided into three self-contained, acoustically separate theaters, offers clients unlimited options in event planning.

The most sophisticated but simple to use audio visual, communications and information technology available is inbuilt into every meeting room of the new convention centre which significantly reduces the normal additional costs associated with the provision of this level of technology. New self prompting ‘smart lecterns’ offer event organizers and guest speakers unprecedented self-manageable capabilities all monitored in-house via centralized or satellite control rooms.

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