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.

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.
How to use IPD; 2017 Commissioning Giants; CFDs and harmonic mitigation; Eight steps to determine plumbing system requirements
2017 MEP Giants; Mergers and acquisitions report; ASHRAE 62.1; LEED v4 updates and tips; Understanding overcurrent protection
Integrating electrical and HVAC for energy efficiency; Mixed-use buildings; ASHRAE 90.4; Wireless fire alarms assessment and challenges
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
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.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me