ACU (Australian Catholic University)

ACU Alum

Issue 3, Summer 2012

Easy being green


Climate change, the carbon tax, rocketing energy prices and an unpredictable water supply – it’s easy to find a reason to ‘go green’. Sara Coen finds out why life’s a breeze in ACU’s newly opened Daniel Mannix Building.

Comprising a 300-seat lecture theatre, specialist-learning facilities in health sciences and psychology, a fitness centre, chapel and rooftop garden, The Daniel Mannix Building (TDMB) at ACU’s Melbourne Campus isn’t your average study venue.

It’s one of Australia’s most sustainable structures – designed not only for low environmental impact, but also for comfort and wellbeing. Earlier this year the building was awarded the maximum 6 Star Green Star* – Education Design v1 Certified rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.

TDMB will enable ACU to continue its rapid expansion in nursing, paramedicine, midwifery, exercise science, occupational therapy and psychology – and greatly increase research capacity in those areas.

Staying comfortable

The heating and cooling system is designed to adapt to the natural seasons, weather cycles, and the general flow of people in the building. Temperatures are regulated between 21 and 25 degrees all year round – so the building will be cooler in winter and warmer in summer.

An under-floor vent system is the key to comfort in the new building. When the temperature hits 25 degrees, cool air flushes through vents integrated into the carpet tiles; and the vents pump warm air out when the temperature drops to 21 degrees.

There are no individual thermostats to control – and the temperature of the air in the vents is set automatically at a central point.


There is enough natural light in the building for staff and students to work adequately most of the time without depending on artificial light.
The building’s floor-to-ceiling windows and unusually high ceilings allow natural light to reach across the floor into offices, staircases and break-out spaces. Artificial lights are only needed on extremely overcast days and at night.

The artificial lights are controlled by light and movement sensors fitted throughout every floor – switching lights on as the sun fades, and off during bright daylight.

Lecture theatres

Wireless access will be available for mobile devices in the lecture theatres.

A range of automatic sensors will detect the number and location of people in the theatres, and adjust the amount of ventilation, heating and cooling accordingly. This will minimise energy consumption and ensure staff and students get plenty of fresh air.

Ride your bike

Melbourne’s Principal Bike Network – a set of arterial roads suitable for cycling – provides direct access to TDMB along Brunswick Street.

The building provides space for more than 150 bikes, along with shower and change facilities for staff and students.

For further information on The Daniel Mannix Building visit

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