Case study: RMIT Design Hub

University achieves water-sustainability goals.


Figure 4: This photo shows the active facade of the RMIT Design Hub building. The movable glass disks pivot to either shade or allow sunlight to reach the building to help maintain indoor temperature conditions, thereby reducing energy and water use for hThe RMIT University Design Hub was developed in Melbourne, Australia, to support the university's position as an internationally renowned leader in design education and research and encourage industrial collaboration (see Figure 4). Water sustainability was intrinsic to the building design, with an integrated rainwater collection scheme collecting rainwater from the main building roof as well as the expansive forecourt area. An analysis of the water demands for RMIT Design Hub identified that toilet flushing is the highest portion of the demands (44%) and the greatest opportunity for water savings. Therefore, the reclaimed water is treated and reticulated throughout the building for toilet flushing.

The stormwater runoff from the forecourt area is passively treated through media filtration at the source, eliminating the need for a mechanical plant, reducing the overall energy demand, and providing water suitable for toilet flushing. The building includes provision for connection to an external precinct-wide recycled water system as well as provision for exporting wastewater if required, providing the facility with flexibility and future integration within the wider precinct and RMIT campus. These measures provide average water savings of 268,000 gallons per year. The water-sustainability initiatives have been an integral part in the facility being awarded a 5-star Green Building Council Australia Green Star building rating.

Peter Harbour is a senior scientist at CJ Arms and Associates.


Robyn Overall is water sustainability scientist at CJ Arms and Associates.

No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Commissioning lighting control systems; 2016 Commissioning Giants; Design high-efficiency hot water systems for hospitals; Evaluating condensation and condensate
Solving HVAC challenges; Thermal comfort criteria; Liquid-immersion cooling; Specifying VRF systems; 2016 Product of the Year winners
MEP Giants; MEP Annual Report; Mergers and acquisitions; Passive, active fire protection; LED retrofits; HVAC energy efficiency
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing Arc Flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Putting COPS into context; Designing medium-voltage electrical systems; Planning and designing resilient, efficient data centers; The nine steps of designing generator fuel systems
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
click me