ECNT submitted the following letter to Minister Eva Lawler, Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis and the Vice Chancellor at Charles Darwin University, Scott Bowman regarding the energy efficiency of the new Charles Darwin University Campus under construction.
Re: Charles Darwin University Campus under construction
The Environment Centre NT (ECNT) wishes to express our concern around the Charles Darwin University Campus under construction in Darwin City. Being one of the key initiatives to be delivered under the Darwin City Deal, a collaboration between the Australian and Northern Territory Governments and the City of Darwin Council, this project has the capacity to become an industry leading example of energy efficient design and performance in a tropical city.
As far as we are aware, there has been no public announcement around whether or not the infrastructure project will adhere to current minimum standards under Section J of the National Construction Code, of which the NT is currently exempt.
The planning proposal was granted on special ministerial consent by the Minister for Renewables and Energy; Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics; Environment; Water Security; Climate Change; and Essential Services, the Hon. Eva Lawler, just before the 2020 NT election. This proposal demonstrated a building that received a great deal of commentary around its seemingly unsuitability for our tropical climate and no mention of the energy performance. Construction is currently underway according to Charles Darwin University Facebook page, and yet the public planning submissions received, relating to energy efficiency, have never been publicly addressed.
ECNT strongly recommends that this publicly funded multi-million dollar project goes well beyond the minimum standards mandated under Section J in the National Construction Code, and seeks to attain NaBERS and Green Star ratings of excellence. This education institution project will become a landmark within our Darwin CBD. This is a rare and exciting opportunity to demonstrate the possibilities of what can be achieved in our tropical climate as we collectively strive to achieve climate resilient, energy efficient buildings in a city that is already stocked with some of the most energy hungry buildings in the world and is experiencing 44 days over 35 degrees per year.
ECNT requests a response around what the energy efficiency performance of the building will be, and whether it will adhere to or improve upon minimum standards currently mandated under Section J of the National Construction Code, despite the NT being exempt.