Sustainability Learning Centre

Greening Australia, the Tasmanian Department of Education, CSIRO Education, Independent Schools Association of Tasmania and Catholic Education Office partnered on this fantastic project to deliver innovative and inspiring sustainability educational programs for children of all ages in Hobart. An eTool LCA was conducted in May 2012 when the Sustainability Learning Centre was already under construction and the centre opened in early November 2012.

  • Assessment : June 2012
  • Completion : November 2012
  • Client : Greening Australia,Tasmanian Department of Education, CSIRO Education.
  • Architect: Morrison & Breytenbach
  • Location: Hobart, Tasmania

Results Summary

Total CO2e / Year / occupant (kg CO2e)% Saved Against BenchmarkeTool
Embodied Carbon6,60852 %
Operational Carbon-5,920111 %
Total Carbon68899 %

Project features

Design life

Extended design life due to custom architectural high quality design.


Use of low carbon materials. ClinkaBloks for example, reduced the embodied carbon by approximately 11tCO2e compared to standard 500 x 300mm concrete footings. Other materials used included recycled timber and recycled metal cladding, representing 4t CO2e and 15t CO2e carbon savings over the design life respectively. Light frame timber construction with low embodied carbon.

Operational Energy and Thermal Performance

Results achieved an eTool gold medal rating and represent a fantastic 111% saving when compared to a benchmark in the same climate zone (with solar PV and hot water taken into account). Typically HVAC is the largest energy user in commercial buildings. The energy demand of the Sustainability Learning Centre has been reduced through the use of passive heating and cooling systems including:

  • Cooling in summer provided by stored cooled water circulated through the under floor radiant piping. The water itself is cooled at night by reticulation over the roof.
  •  Heating through passive solar walls incorporating thermostat operated fans distributing warm air from the wall cavity into the building when appropriate.
  • Heating through passive trombe walls to store heat in the masonry behind glass.

In addition to the passive systems, the heating load is met by a waste vegetable oil burner in conjunction with underfloor heating.  Although this has a similar primary energy requirement to fossil fuels, it’s much lower in life cycle carbon emissions (there are still some emissions relating to the production and transport of the biofuels). Water heating is provided primarily with solar collectors, and a number of energy efficiency measures are incorporated into the design, the effectiveness of these will be monitored and optimised with the Building Monitoring System.

Renewable Energy

24kW of solar PV grid connect system to produce more energy than the building will need and feed substantial amounts of power back into the grid, offsetting even more carbon. Oil burning hydronic floor heating system which uses recycled cooking oil to heat. The heating efficiency has been maximized by using Clinkafill as a bulk fill under the concrete slabs. Solar hot water system with electric boost.

More Info

eTool have also completed a fully compliant, peer reviewed EN15978 report for the buildings Green Star certification (achieving the maximum 7 points).  See here for the full report.

This LCA study was commissioned by Clinka Australia, contact them to find out more about their innovative building materials.  To find out more about the project, visit Greening Australia. For more information on the building design contact morrison & breytenbach architects. Alternatively please contact eTool to arrange a cost effective assessment or training on how to achieve best practice in low carbon building design.

This assessment was conducted by Henrique Mendonca.