Inveresk Apartments

The Inveresk apartments is a student housing building that integrates sustainable structure, fabric and infrastructure technologies into its design. Located in Launceston and forming part of the University of Tasmania, the innovative building contains 120 apartment units across 3 stories. The units consist of a series of modular, prefabricated timber apartments built into a predominately timber structure. Facades will mostly comprise of either corrugated steel or timber cladding.

eTool were tasked with completing Life Cycle modelling of the building to both inform design teams and complete the Materials Life Cycle credit as part of the Green Star certification. eTool conducted a whole of building Life Cycle Assessment on the building and presented the findings of 11 environmental impact categories. The credits awarded for life cycle assessment contributed towards the overall awarding of 5 star Green Star ‘As Designed.’ eTool modelling software eToolLCD is compliant with the international standard EN 15978 methodology and the scope and system boundaries align closely with the requirements for the Green Star Materials Life Cycle credit.

Results Summary

Impact Category Unit                   % Saved Against Green Star Benchmark
Global Warming Potential kg CO2e /m2

60 %

Stratospheric Ozone Layer Depletion mg CFC11e/m2

1 %

Acidification kg SO2- e/m2

38 %

Eutrophication kgPO4e/m2 27 %
Tropospheric Ozone Formation Potential kg C2H4 e/m2 42%
Abiotic Resource Depletion kg Sbe/m2

61 %

Human Toxicity mDALY/m2 -4 %
Land Use m2 /year deprived arable/m2 -110 %
Fresh Water Depletion m3/m2 34 %
Particulate Matter kg PM2.5e/m2 1 %

Project features

Design life

The project was assessed according to the Green Star Materials Life Cycle credit and has a proposed design life of 60 years. The building is expected to provide living space for a longer period of time particularly given the modular design as units can be transported to new sites at the end of the buildings life. However, Green Star requires all buildings that are assessed for the credit to assume a 60 year design life.

Materials

A unique foundation system whereby timber piles are hammered into the ground significantly reduces impacts associated with foundations. Timber has also been utilised extensively across wall and floor elements with Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) used in elements that require more structural strength such as stairwells. Windows are timber framed, double glazed and finishes such as Forbo flooring and Interface carpets have been specified, which both have Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) completed on them.

Operational Energy

The following innovative energy strategies provide significant savings over a business as usual BCA compliant design:

  • Improved thermal control due to high spec building fabric – 8 star NAThers (6 star is required for BCA compliance);
  • Individually controlled with thermostat and link to key card occupancy;
  • Centralised bank of split CO2 heat pumps providing hot water, and;
  • T8 CFLs and LED lighting throughout.

Benefits of Student Life

When impacts are measured in terms of unit impact / m2 of net dwell-able area, the functionality benefits of the design are truly captured.  For example, the design does not incorporate car park bays which largely aids to the overall performance improvement due to the savings in materials for foundations and car park structure as well as operational energy for ventilation and lighting.

The students living in this accommodation will not only have a low carbon footprint for housing, but will also benefit from the close proximity of basic amenities and work and thus will achieve a low impact lifestyle overall. Further, the benefits of using a very small space for sleeping and instead, opting for larger communal courtyards and social spaces, go beyond a purely environmental benefit.  Afterall, didnt we all have more fun when we were students with a thriving social life?

This assessment was conducted by  Pat.

Pat Hermon