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Adelaide University Innova 21

Innova21, the University of Adelaide’s New Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Science incorporating world-class sustainability features.

Adelaide University Innova 21



















Innova21 the University of Adelaide’s New Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Science. Innova 21 is the first building to be awarded a 6 star Green Star Education v1 rating, through incorporating world-class sustainability features.

Innova21 building is the flagship in the University of Adelaide’s current facilities expansion program. Designed by local architectural firm DesignInc, the $100 million facility belies its simple rectangular footprint belies the innovation applied within its walls and foundations that saw it become Australia’s first 6 star Green Star Education v1 rated building.

The eight-storey 14,000 sq m building provides enhanced staff and student amenities and incorporates computer laboratories, teaching spaces, an exhibition area, café with 24-hour access to major resources and support facilities.

An array of environmentally sustainable design (ESD) initiatives have been incorporated, among them the use of active slab technology, under-floor air distribution utilising 100 per cent fresh air ventilation, geothermal loops within the basement diaphragm wall, and a Tri-generation plant. Thermal chimneys, a low E double-glazed curtain wall, programmable DALI lighting system and rainwater harvesting add to the building’s sustainability credentials.

The university’s commitment to achieving its goal of a 6 star facility filtered down through the whole design team, with an integrated approach applied to the project’s design and development from an early stage. Brian McDonnell associate Director of services engineers Umow Lai says this gave us a mandate to push the envelope in all facets of the building’s environmentally sustainable design, as well as electrical, mechanical, ICT, security and audio visual design. 

Umow Lai’s approach to achieving these system design goals saw the early involvement of the mechanical services contractor, Watson Fitzgerald & Associates that allowed for a value management in conjunction with Umow Lai and the builder, Hindmarsh Constructions. This early collaboration delivered financial savings that did not affect the design intent

The DesignInc Architectural team considered the overall energy target being sought and included, 
the high performance façade and shading system which reduced the building’s initial energy consumption. A range of low-energy systems were then incorporated into this design, focused on ensuring a quality indoor environment for occupants. Among these was an under-floor air distribution (UFAD) system, utilising 100per cent outside air system to provide a single pass of air circulation.

The Under Floor Air Distribution systems a pumps air into a floor void which is delivered to the conditioned space, in this case by Holyoake Floor Swirl Diffusers FSD. This type of system effectively flushes the warm second-hand air up to the unoccupied zone above 1.8m. This reduces the conditioned volume of air required and provides a cleaner, fresher air environment for occupants. The UFAD was chosen to complement the active-slab technology.