In the original building, steel trusses have been exposed to assist airflow, with changes to the skylights also helping - the new windows venting hot air and allowing fresh air to enter and cool the building. The windows operate automatically, guided by temperature and wind direction. Exposed concrete ceilings in the extension contribute to mild temperatures.
Whilst the services zone may appear as a three-storey space from the outside, the upper two levels are in fact one, acting as a stack ventilator shaft for the greater library structure. Fresh air, drawn from the cooler, south side of the building, is channelled over an external pond and waterfall, then on up through the services zone, which acts like an air cooling tower.
The extension also addressed issues of water usage, with 2,500 litre detention tanks installed to capture rain water off the library roof. This water is then utilised for flushing toilets, at the same time reducing strain on the building's storm water system saving the AUT in both water and waste water charges.
Energy efficient light fittings reduce power usage for the building with a combination of local and automated controls meaning lights are only on when needed.
In addition to maximising energy efficiency now, the building design is also future-proofed for additional changes. While the concrete cooling vents are only in place on the ground level of the IT zone, holes have been punched through the steel structure, allowing for similar inclusions on the upper floor when this, too, becomes home to computer laboratories. This zone has a special cooling focus due to its high heat gain from the computers and high occupancy rate.
"From interconnecting voids, to the rain water catchments, every element of this upgrade offers a direct response to its environment and use," says den Breems. "It is also an educated response to the future."