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Melbourne airport | Aviation and transport architecture

Sustainable airport design

Creating a sustainable airport for Melbourne

In 2006 Architectus began designing an extension to Melbourne Airport’s Terminal 2 which would ultimately provide five new international gates by 2011.

The $110 million development, carried out in two stages, is founded on the sound environmental principles of providing a high performance building skin which can protect the interior from climatic conditions and then using low energy systems to maintain the interior environment.

Being sited within an airfield presents environmental challenges such as the inability to open the building’s skin for ventilation due to the noise emitted by the aircraft and the building’s orientation being pre-determined by the existing runway alignment and aircraft parking positions.

The Melbourne Airport T2 Expansion included 41 000 m2 of new space and 8000 m2 of refurbished area providing five new international gates, new outbound passenger processing area, extensive baggage conveying and sorting systems and a world-class retail precinct.

At the time of design there wasn’t a Green Star rating tool specifically for Airports and in 2006 the ‘Public Buildings’ tool was not yet in use. The design team used the available Green Star rating tools for office and retail projects to benchmark the environmental performance of the development and estimated the building would achieve between 4 and 5 Stars with the following environmental initiatives implemented:

  • Hydronic heated and chilled slab, with low velocity tempered air supply
  • Air supply economy cycles utilise free outdoor air-cooling when ambient outdoor conditions permit
  • Recirculation cycles on air supply when building occupancy is low-monitored by C02 sensors.
  • High performance double glazing to all facades
  • Glare control through internal blinds which track the sun’s movements and are controlled by roof-top weather station.
  • Highly insulated building skin
  • White roof to limit solar gain

Hydronic floor coils cool and insulate the slab mitigating radiant heat from the windows.

  • 3D thermal, daylight and energy modelling of internal environment
  • Rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing, landscape irrigation and airfield dust suppression
  • Low water use sanitary fittings and fixtures
  • Hot water for the public toilet facilities is solar pre-heated for energy saving
  • LED lighting
  • DALI lighting control, interfaced with BMS
  • All lighting and ventilation systems able to be switched in zones when gates are not in use
  • Recyclable carpet with recycled content
  • Water based paints
  • Sealants and adhesives with Low Organic Volatiles (VOC)

High performance glazing to all facades with integrated shading reduces solar gain.

Melbourne airport Summer response - daylight exposure

Rainwater harvested from the roof is collected in tanks and used for airport dust control and is filtered and reticulated for use in toilet flushing.

Melbourne airport | Water management techniques


Melbourne airport | Water management techniques
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Melbourne airport | Water management techniques
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Melbourne airport | Water management techniques
Principal Ruth Wilson awarded Life Fellowship by Australian Institute of Architects