In July 2022 the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre’s (PICAC) Narre Warren campus completed 12 months of consecutive monitoring, demonstrating it is on track to receive a Net Zero Energy (NZE) certification.

Once certified, PICAC will become Victoria’s first NZE training facility. To recognise this milestone, we’re throwing back to a roundtable discussion we recorded in mid-2020, as Victoria settled into what became a series of pandemic lockdowns. The lead consultant team and client behind this landmark $30 million project met via videoconference to discuss the project and the fiscal and architectural merits of Net Zero investment. Key participants from PICAC, Foreground Architecture (then FMSA Architecture), Norman Disney & Young, and Hutchinson Builders examined learnings from this key infrastructure project, and how built environment professionals might help governments and industry to chart a course for the difficult years ahead.

PICAC Narre Warren is the first building in Australia to integrate foundation screw piling with geothermal exchange to manage its heating and cooling requirements. These foundations include 192 13-metre deep energy piles, and 28 geothermal bores drilled to a depth of one hundred metres to facilitate the heat exchange. A rooftop solar PV array generates up to 275Kw of electricity for the building on this 2.5Ha site. The project received $500K in support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

View the video in full here:

Roundtable participants:

Host: Jo McErvale, Word to the Wise

Shayne Le Combre, CEO, PICAC

Professor Tony Arnel, (Former) Global Director Sustainability, Norman Disney & Young

Peter Sandow, Principal, Foreground Architecture (formerly FMSA Architecture)

Bernie Nolan, Team Leader, Hutchinson Builders

Marcel Van Vliet, Construction Manager, Hutchinson Builders

Blue Tree Studios