Stantec-engineered ANMF House earns Passive House Certification

Susan Bender
Jun 6, '23 8:46 AM EST

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) House has been officially certified by the Passive House Institute, guaranteeing achievement of the strictest requirements in the world for energy efficiency of buildings. This is the first certified passive house building from Stantec’s Australia operations. Stantec Australia provided mechanical, electrical, fire protection, acoustic, audio visual, and hydraulic engineering as well as specialist lighting, vertical transportation, and sustainability services.

Passive House is a specialized approach to building design and construction which minimizes heating and cooling system needs while prioritizing occupant comfort. Passive house approaches can result in energy savings of up to 90% with benefits to occupant comfort and health. Because of its thermal efficient building fabric, high degree of air tightness and heat recovery ventilation, ANMF House’s mechanical air-conditioning system requirements were reduced by half compared to a conventional building.

Preserving heritage while embracing sustainability The design team, in close collaboration with the client, used passive house design principles to optimize the challenging existing heritage rendered brick façade. It established a compliant electrical and mechanical design to mitigate site capacity load issues and maximize the useable floor space. Additionally, the designers used sustainable building techniques, such as using cross laminated timber for the building’s upper floors, to provide additional significant reductions of its embodied carbon (carbon emitted during a building’s construction).

“It requires continuous involvement from the entire project team during design and construction to ensure all aspects of the building are robust, well documented, and meet the strict requirements set by the Passive House Institute, the premiere building efficiency green rating tool,” said Paul O’Brien, sustainability project technical lead for Stantec. “The outcome delivers comfortable indoor environments while preserving the important heritage nostalgia and reducing its carbon footprint and ongoing costs.”   

ANMF House provides short-stay accommodation for its members—nurses, midwives and carers —on the edge of Melbourne’s central business district. There are 29 rooms over six floors exclusively for ANMF members and was designed as a nurturing place to “care for the carers.” The building has been shortlisted in this year’s Australian Institute of Architects’ national awards program in the sustainable architecture category of the Victorian Architecture Awards.