The training hub is new 3000 sqm purpose designed four storey sustainable skills training facility comprising classrooms, specialist training areas, multi-purpose laboratories, training plant rooms and a lecture theatre. It is a purpose-built facility for hands-on “green” skills training on both passive environmental building strategies and in emerging environmental technologies for the residential and commercial construction sectors. This building has been designed to display and allow interaction, monitoring, testing, modification and expansion in the building and service components by both staff and students. To accommodate the learning aspects associated with the high functional requirements the building has been designed inside out, back to front and upside down (apologies to Dr Seuss), plus you could say that it is ‘half finished’. Circulation is on the outside and open to the environment with class rooms internal, allowing inspection of the facade and structural systems whilst providing sun shading; classrooms are orientated south to reduce heat load in summer whilst providing high levels of day lighting; the ventilation system and plant rooms are located at the bottom (basement and ground floor), matching the basic principles of thermal buoyancy; services and pipe work are semi-hidden and colour coded to allow visibility of the inner workings of the building. The building is like a mechanical clock with a glass face.
The facility is intended to incorporate the latest sustainable technologies within a thermally passive building fabric. Therefore, the passive systems in this case are seen as just as important as the technological aspects and as a combined tool, allows analysis of the benefits of varying modes of operation to achieve maximum benefit. A simple example is the installation of four different types of water efficient taps within the amenities to analyse water use. Sustainable technologies include grid connected solar power generation, battery testing, trigeneration micro turbines, absorption chillers, solar hot water systems, ceramic fuel cells, multi-fuel boilers, gas-fired boilers, geothermal cooling using a pond, different types of chilled beams, displacement ventilation, rainwater reuse, on site black water treatment, low energy light fittings including LEDs and a comprehensive monitoring system. All elements are fully automated and in conjunction with the actuated windows and ventilation stacks, transform the building into a living breathing environmentally sustainable machine (a machine to study in). The exposed nature of the building and the main training plantroom easily allows for the removal and replacement of old technology.
The building has the capacity to export more energy than it uses, and it is also water positive, it has a large amount of recycled materials including, brickwork, carpet tiles, timber, steel reinforcement, glass acoustic tiles, polyester insulation, rubber and cork flooring.
It has received a 6 Star Green Star Education Rating from the green building council.