projects » precinct energy project (PEP)

Precinct Energy project (PEP)
City Street Dandenong
Nervegna Reed + pH Architects
Co-Generation Plant,
Client: Places Victoria
Year completed: 2012
Photos: John Gollings

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precinct energy project

The Dandenong Precinct Energy Project (PEP) is a flagship project in the implementation of low carbon energy generation in Victoria, and aims to provide a focal point for the regeneration of downtown Dandenong. The P.E.P. will supply the buildings in a 7 hectare redevelopment precinct with electricity and heating thermal energy (Cogeneration) in the form of hot water with twice the efficiency of a typical gas fired power station, with correspondingly reduced carbon emissions. In addition, some buildings will utilize the hot water produced to run absorption chillers to provide cooling, resulting in even greater efficiencies, and further reduced emissions.

The P.E.P. aims to provoke discussion about the environment, society’s power consumption and our future in a warming world in a fun way, without preaching. The Rorschach super-graphic, the big power-points, the big switch, the removable astro-turf wall (where the engines can be removed for maintenance), the “circuit diagram” lighting display and the giant “cogeneration diagram” on the north elevation are images intended to encourage free association and further investigations. The frieze utilises engineers notations for the machinery inside and aims to educate children and adults about the production of cogeneration energy. The moving dot matrix display on the front canopy displays information about power production, consumption and green house gas savings from the building.

The introduction of Cogeneration into the urban fabric has resulted in a new type of public building. To effectively utilize waste heat generated by the cogeneration electricity production process, and to minimise the extent of the underground pipe network, the site must be centrally located. The PEP is situated on the corner of Station North Plaza and the City Street Mall (soon to house the new Municipal Centre). On a pivotal and highly constrained site we have endeavoured to give the building a highly sculptural form and to activate the surrounding area, while allowing for the stringent requirements of the “green machine” inside.

2013 Shortlist - Sustainability Award - RAIA