Genia McCaffery Centre

This building was originally the caretaker's on site. Now it has been sustainably retrofitted - with VOC-free paint through to passive solar design, solar heating system and a recycled rainwater re-use system...


Sustainable Features

Check out some of these sustainable features below, come see how they all work, plus how you could apply them to your home.


Sustainable Timber

A minimum of 95% of timber used in the refurbishment is either post-consumer recycled or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.

Water Saving

Toilets on the site are flushed using recycled rain water, saving thousands of litres of drinking water each year. The rainwater is collected in a 50,000 litre tank located underground. In addition, 4-star WELS scheme rated toilets have been installed in the Centre. These use only 3.5 litres of water per flush, compared with 12 litres per flush for a traditional toilet.

Electricity Generation

Sixteen photovoltaic solar panels are installed on the roof of the Centre, generating 2.96kWh of electricity at peak output. During the year the panels will produce more than 3000kWh of electricity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the Centre by 2.7 tonnes annually.

Hot Water

Water is heated primarily by the sun, using evacuated tube solar hot water system. It is gas boosted. Gas is no longer recommended as a suitable energy source for hot water generation, because electrical sources are both cheaper and require no fossil fuels. Renewable heat from heat pumps, or integrated rooftop hot water systems are most effective and cheapest options in the vast majority of cases.


The Centre has been designed to maximise the use of natural ventilation, though when necessary, mechanical cooling with reverse cycle air conditioners is used. Wind-assisted turbo ventilators drive air through the Centre and ceiling-mounted fans increase cool air movement in summer. The balcony and louvers on the western side of the building protects it from hot afternoon sun.


The ceilings and walls of the Genia McCaffery Centre for Sustainability have been insulated using batts made out recycled polyester content to R5. A well insulated house can be up to 10C warmer in winter and up to 10C cooler in summer.


The building is heated using renewable heat. The heat is harvested from the outside air and transferred inside using the reverse cycle air conditioners (RCAC). RCAC is the cheapest heating and much cheaper than gas. The hydronic heating system was previously heated with gas boosted solar, but not used anymore due to the high cost of gas and associated carbon emissions.


Paint used in the cottage is 100% Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) free. VOC are potentially dangerous chemicals commonly found in household finishes, furnishings and products.

Glazed Windows

The glass in some of the windows is coated in an ultra-thin layer of metal, called low E (emissivity) which acts as a reflective shield, re-radiating warmth back into the rooms in winter and deflecting summer heat. Windows in the display room have an added layer of Perspex (Magnetite panels)  for a very effective method of double glazing.

Natural Daylighting System

Lighting in the rooms is assisted by the installation of tubular skylight systems, which direct daylight through a skylight in the roof via a highly reflective tube, lighting up a room and helping to reduce energy consumption.


The building and the site overall features LED lighting which replaces the fluorescent, CFL and metal halide. LED is cheaper and contains no toxic metals such as mercury which is in all fluorescent lights. Please bring your old fluoro bulbs and tubes to the coal loader for recycling / materials recovery.


Low-tech solutions with enormous benefits for comfort, acoustics and energy cost savings. Ours are made using recycled street banners.



There are extensive displays about various aspects of sustainability, which are renewed on a periodic basis. Copies of the display information are available at the Centre to take away, or download copies here.


Meeting Facilities

The Genia McCaffery Centre (and a number of other facilities at the Coal Loader) can be booked for meetings and other events.