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New-look old RAH site to showcase sustainable urban development


The developers for the proposed $1 billion redevelopment of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site aim to achieve energy efficiency beyond carbon neutral.

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Their plans include a number of innovations, among them a local zero-carbon energy network extending to the adjacent university precincts and one of the world’s first large-scale zero carbon central energy plants, which would provide electricity and hot, chilled and recycled water to all buildings on site.

Success would see the project accredited as C40 Climate Positive under the global C40 Urban Planning & Development Initiative, which recognises the most ambitious urban low-carbon projects.

To date only six projects around the world have achieved full C40 Climate Positive accreditation, including Barangaroo in the Sydney CBD and Victoria Harbour at Docklands in Melbourne.

Details of the environmental features planned by the preferred developers, Commercial & General and John Holland, were released by the State Government today. More than 25 energy specialists would be brought together to design and develop the showcase infrastructure.

“We have a bold and ambitious goal for Adelaide to become the world’s first carbon neutral city and innovative developments like this are helping lead the charge towards this one day becoming a reality,” said Premier Jay Weatherill.

“We need genuine, practical and long-term measures to reduce emissions and I congratulate the developers of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site for their vision and commitment in this area.”

The new-look RAH site would also be only the third in Adelaide to achieve a 6 Star Green Star sustainability rating, joining the Tonsley Precinct on the old Mitsubishi site and the Bowden Urban Village.

The connection is the architects. The overall architectural vision of the Commercial & General and John Holland proposal has been led by the Adelaide studio of international design practice HASSELL, who were also responsible for the Bowden master plan, while local landscape architects Oxigen were involved with Tonsley.

HASSELL also designed SA Water House in Victoria Square, which was Australia’s first 6 Star Green Star commercial development.

To achieve the vision for the RAH redevelopment, it is proposed that renewable energy experts would develop on-site generation with rooftop and building integrated photovoltaic systems, while the plant would use advanced battery technology.

Solar thermal energy would be harvested on-site to pre-heat water supplies and the plant would be connected to the state’s renewable energy network, including solar farms built by local innovators.

Together the high-tech central energy plant and local electricity system would help cut the cost of utilities for building occupants, and possibly the broader university precinct, while also supplying energy back to the grid.

“The development would be one of the most environmentally ambitious projects in the world, in turn showcasing South Australia as a global leader in renewable technologies and the industries of the future,” said Urban Development Minister Stephen Mullighan.

“This proposal promises to turn what is currently a closed off concrete jungle into a world leading, carbon neutral, publicly accessible space with a wealth of on-site innovations designed to showcase and road test sustainable technologies of the future.”

Solstice Media has partnered with the South Australian Government to provide information about the transition to a low-carbon economy. Read more stories like this here.


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