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PICAC Learnability, Narre Warren, VIC

Alspec’s ThermAFrame doors, windows and fixed glazing add to the environmental credentials of Victoria’s first Net Zero Energy education facility.

The next generation of plumbers are set to learn their trade at Victoria’s first Net Zero Energy education facility. This Net Zero Energy building is highly efficient and self-supporting, generating its own energy and utilising the latest in sustainable building construction methods and components.

Operating as a visual and hands-on textbook where trainee plumbers can see concepts in action, the facility in Narre Warren was developed by Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) in association with IAPMO, an international research and certification organisation. It is the third campus FMSA Architecture have designed for PICAC.

Every element of the facility was selected with consideration to its contribution to the Net Zero Energy equation, and the working components are now on display throughout the open spaces and exterior of the building. The facility includes an auditorium, training rooms, laboratories, workshops, testing facilities, welding and gas fitting facilities and administration spaces.

With window and door framing playing a crucial role in temperature control, Alspec’s ThermAFrame window and door framing products were a purposeful addition to the building exterior. Thermally broken frames deliver insulation, solar protection and contribute to the air-tight environment vital to the performance of a Net Zero Energy building.

ThermAFrame 150mm Centre Pocket framing was used for fixed framing needs, while ThermAFrame 50mm Commercial Doors and ThermAFrame Awning Windows added access and opening points. In ThermAFrame products a “thermal break” made from a less conductive polyamide material separates the sections of the window or door frame. The break reduces the ability of the aluminium frame to transfer heat or cold between the interior and exterior sections. This contributes to a stable, energy efficient building environment, with less reliance on mechanical heating and cooling.

The thermally broken framing adds to the building’s already impressive list of environmental credentials. The foundations overlay a sophisticated underground geothermal heating system which was incorporated into the building piles and uses a Ground Source Heat Pump to adjust internal temperatures by heating and cooling the ground slab. A solar panel system on the insulated roof generates electricity, full LED lighting minimises energy use, evaporative cooling system provides air conditioning, and storm water is used for toilet flushing.

Project Name: PICAC Learnability
Project Address: 7/11 Fullard Rd, Narre Warren VIC 3805
Architect: FMSA Architecture
Builder: Hutchinson Builders
Fabricator: Summit Aluminium & Glass
Applied Finish: Black - Dulux
Photography: Blue Tree Studios Pty

Alspec Products Used:
150mm Centre Pocket Thermally Broken Framing
Thermally Broken 50mm Commercial Door
Thermally Broken Awning & Casement Window