Frank Fenner Building

The Frank Fenner building is home to Fenner School of Environment & Society and the ANU Climate Change Institute. It was designed to demonstrate best-practice in sustainable building design and integration with the landscape.

The building achieved a 6 star Green Building Council of Australia Green Star rating (design and as built), which places it as a 'world leader'.

The building incorporates a number of elements of sustainable design, including high-grade insulation, double-glazed windows, passive ventilation systems, as well as highly-efficient cooling/heating systems. Electricity comes from an extensive photovoltaic array on the roof.


Sustainable energy generation

  • The building has a 40kw PV array that has the ability to generate over 65000 kWh of sustainable energy each year.

Energy efficiency

  • Ventilation and lighting systems are deactivated when the buildings are not occupied.
  • Traffic light indicators are is used to inform occupants when the outdoor temperature is suitable for natural ventilation, and when the internal heating and cooling should be used.
  • Thermal envelope. Hebel block was used in the construction of the building because it has good thermal properties. Double glazing and quality ceiling and wall insulation is also installed. Particular attention was paid to ensuring gaps were minimised to prevent air from leaking.

Efficient heating & cooling and excellent thermal comfort

  • Shading was designed to maximise winter sun while minimising sun penetration in summer.
  • Sealing the building envelope prevents unwanted heat loss or gain.
  • Heating and cooling from a centralised plant. The Fenner building is connected to central plant which is the centralised heating and cooling system for the College of Science.
  • Active chilled beams were installed instead of conventional fan coil units, providing very energy efficient cooling. The active chilled beams are also used in conjunction with an energy recovery system which is used to preheat incoming air improving energy efficiency.

Water management

  • Grey and black water are gravity fed to the University's black water treatment plant. It is then used for flushing the College of Science toilets.
  • Rainwater tanks have been installed to capture rainwater from the roof which means no potable water is used for landscaping.
  • Stormwater is used to create an ephemeral pond. Overland water flows around the site is diverted into bioswales, creating an ephemeral pond. The water is then filtered naturally through the ground and eventually ends up in Sullivan's creek. The pond provides habitat for wildlife and is linked into biodiversity corridors on the ANU campus.

Outdoor learning

  • An outdoor learning space with Wi-Fi connectivity provides an outside alternative to classroom-style teaching.
  • An ephemeral pond is monitored via time-lapse photography and used as a teaching resource.