The Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) Narre Warren campus is the first Net Zero Energy education and research facility in Victoria. The training facility, designed for the plumbing industry, will generate all energy required to support the operation of the building on site through the incorporation of several renewable energy technologies.
The Narre Warren facility is shared by PICAC and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO). IAPMO are one of the world’s leading plumbing product certification agencies and the Fullard Road site will house IAPMO R&T Oceana’s new research centre and product testing laboratory.
PICAC’s students and the plumbing industry as a whole will benefit from sharing the facility with IAPMO as innovation and evolving technologies can be identified quickly as they progress through the IAPMO certification process. This uniquely positions PICAC to proactively address industry training needs early in the life-cycle of new plumbing products and technologies.
PICAC Narre Warren is the first facility in Australia to utilize building foundation screw piling to source geothermal energy for the buildings heating and cooling requirements. 192 x 13 metre deep energy piles and 28 geothermal bores were drilled to a depth of 100 metres using a new specialized Commachio drill from Italy. Together the 220 wells are used for the Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) system to heat and cool the building. The GSHP system integrates thermal heat loops within the structural screw piles for geothermal heat exchange.
There is a Solar PV array comprised of 770 panels generating up to 275kW of electricity installed to contribute to the energy needs of the building.
The energy-efficient design maximizes northern exposure to both the ground and first floor. The design incorporates deep overhang on the north and vertical shaded glazing to help deal with unwanted solar heat gains and glare while allowing solar access.
The building features an insulated wall design that consists of a building shell comprising precast sandwich panels on the ground floor and a lightweight metal cladding composite wall system on the first floor. This insulation system will achieve an R-value which will exceed the requirements of the National Construction Code and assist in maintaining thermal comfort.
In March 2019, the Net Zero Energy systems (solar PV and Geothermal heating and cooling) were commissioned and tested. The site then undertook a comprehensive energy efficient assessment to inform the Net Zero Energy accreditation. The test involved thermal imaging cameras being used to detect any heat loss from the building over an extended period of time.
PICAC Narre Warren Campus facilities