The Geolyse designed Green Skills Trade Education Centre building (known as the GS-TEC), provides a 'signature' building - in terms of energy efficient sustainable construction whilst delivering a strong design statement. The building consists of a new administration and training centre for the Western Institute of TAFE's Manufacturing, Engineering, Construction and Transport faculty with an overall area of 987m².
The Green Skills Trade Education Centre on Forest Road, located within TAFE Western's Forest Road campus in Orange is the first of its kind and will be a showpiece for environmentally sustainable educational buildings for the region.
It is comprised of four main components:
- Administration - 148m² - provision of naturally lit and ventilated general office space for the staff within the faculty;
- Green Skills Trade Education - 120m² - provision of classrooms for the educational components of the faculty, again with natural ventilation & lighting;
- Renewable Energy Electrical - 382m² - providing both practical and theoretical learning areas in a comfortable naturally lit & ventilated environment; and
- Gallery: located on and extending the length of the Southern elevation it has been designed to provide natural light & ventilation into the southern side of the building and provides general access throughout the building.
The building is leading the way in Orange with sustainable architecture well underway for the first Green Star Certified Educational facility in regional NSW. This involves rigorous formal assessment of its environmental attributes by the Green Building Council Australia, taking into account many environmental aspects including the energy and water efficiency of the building.
Some of the sustainable inclusions within the Green Skills building are:
- 90% of the construction and fit-out was undertaken by local contractors and suppliers;
- The building is correctly oriented to the North and protected from the South;
- The building is heavily insulated, using different construction methods to achieve this;
- The buildings’ heating requirements rely solely on solar heated water pumped through pipework in the floor slab;
- Instead of air-conditioning, the building is passively cooled using the earths’ stable temperature to cool the air. Air is pumped underground through a series of pipes, down to depths of three metres to be cooled by the earth before it is then pumped into the building;
- The facility has the capacity to store 120,000 litres of water and is completely self sufficient from this perspective, except for drinking, it requires no water from the town supply;
- An 8kW solar panel array provides a significant amount of the buildings’ energy needs;
- All materials used within the building have low environmental impact, including extremely low VOC paints, carpet with high levels of recycled content, wool based insulation, etc.
The general structure and skin of the building is of a steel portal frame, infilled with either clad stud framed walls, blockwork or reverse brick veneer construction. All framed walls, both internally and externally, are to be heavily insulated as do the metal sheet roof and lined ceilings. External finishes include polished blockwork, low reflective metal sheet and FC cladding. Internal finishes include polished concrete floors, plasterboard and plywood lined walls and ceilings (both suspended and raking) together with carpet and resilient finishes where required.