Genia McCaffery Centre for Sustainability

Come along and find out from the Centre how you can make changes to your own house to make it more sustainable.

The Centre has been refurbished - from the VOC-free paint used on the walls through to the passive solar design, solar heating system and recycled rainwater re-use system.


Sustainable Features

Check out some of the Centre's sustainable features below. Visit the Centre (refer opening hours) and see for yourself how it all works and how you could apply this 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
Hot water for the building is generated using a solar-boosted, integral heating and hot water storage system. The system includes a thermal storage tank which stores heat from solar collectors and an instantaneous gas-fired hot water heater to generate additional heat if required. All the hot water piping and fittings are insulated to minimize heat loss from the system.

The Centre has been designed to maximise the use of natural ventilation, so that no air-conditioner is required. 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 of a minimum 85% recycled polyester content. A well insulated house can be up to 10C warmer in winter and up to 10C cooler in summer.

The building is primarily heated using a hydronic system. Hot water is heated by the sun through solar panels on the roof. The water is then circulated through insulated pipes through a series of radiators which warm the room. It is gas-boosted during the evening and during the day if there is insufficient sunlight.

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, which acts as a reflective shield, re-radiating warmth back into the rooms in winter and absorbing the heat from outside in summer.

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 a range of energy efficient light fittings, including compact fluorescent, LED and sensor operated styles.

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.

Resource Room
The Resource Room has friendly staff available to assist with your enquiries. There are also public internet facilities available with links to useful websites. A Reference Library is under development with interesting information relating to all aspects of sustainability.

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