Case Study
City of Monash – Eastern Innovation Business Centre (EIBC)

The Eastern Innovation Business Centre (EIBC) was created to act as a small business incubator, particularly focusing on providing incubation and acceleration services to founders of accelerating ventures, future-focussed professional service providers and corporate innovators.

The building provides a highly innovative, sustainable and comfortable base to facilitate, inspire and grow innovative small businesses and start-ups to achieve great success.

The building and site integrate ecologically sustainable design in the form of renewable energy, passive solar design, integrated water cycle technology, indoor environmental quality, water sensitive urban design and advanced sustainable material and equipment technologies.

The project aimed to integrate sustainable design throughout the building and surrounding landscape. Modelling was undertaken during the design stage to achieve NABERS 5 star across Energy, Water and Indoor Environment.

Optimisation of the Building Management System (BMS) is ongoing to achieve continued operational savings. Council continuously analyses data to determine the building’s operational performance.


5a Hartnett Cl, Mulgrave VIC 3170

Development size

Whole site – 5334sqm
Building footprint – 1237sqm
External works including bio lake – 4097sqm

Project team

Project Manager: City of Monash

Architect: City of Monash

Landscape: City of Monash

Services engineers: Meinhardt

Civil & Structural engineer: Irwinconsult

Builder: Lloyd Group Pty Ltd


August 2015

Completion date

June, 2015


Modelling was undertaken to develop a design which would achieve a NABERS 5 star rating.


Total project cost – $4.8M. Operational cost savings ~$3300 per m2.

Selection of key sustainable design commitments

ESD Modelling was also done in order to enhance the possibility of achieving a 5 star NABERS rating. The ESD consultant, Irwinconsult, provided modelling and advice during the design process to enhance the sustainable design elements.

Challenges in achieving the sustainable design features of the building included:

  • Constructing and commissioning new technology and water systems that are highly innovative (some being the first of their kind).
  • Ensuring every item is being built to specification throughout the process. Collaboration between the architect and builder throughout the building process was key to achieving this.
  • Budget restrictions influenced ESD decisions during the design phase. A geothermal heat pump with an in-slab heating/cooling system was originally purposed in lieu of a conventional heating/cooling system. Many factors influenced the decision to move towards an alternative ESD system instead.

The EIBC provides an example of how sustainability and innovation can be incorporated into building design, the result being of great value to the community, environment and the future of the built environment.

Key learnings from building occupancy will inform the renovation of the neighbouring Tom Morrissey building.

Indoor environment quality

In order to maintain a happy, healthy and productive workspace the design and construction of the building included various strategies relating to Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ). To achieve thermal comfort, target levels for ambient temperature are 21 to 24°C, in accordance with NABERS Indoor Environment targets.

To maintain high indoor air quality, the building has been provided with both passive and mechanical systems to keep the air fresh. The BMS automated night purging system, which releases hot stale air over summer, contributes an estimated 12% energy consumption saving.

The glazing design and skylights have been designed to maximise natural daylighting within the constraints of the project to provide a more productive and pleasant working environment and minimise artificial lighting energy use. 

Preference has been given to materials with low VOC and formaldehyde materials as well as cradle to cradle materials.

The external green walls on the north and west façade provide beneficial shading to the building in the warmer months. The internal green wall in the reception area is irrigated from the rainwater harvesting system and provides benefits for improved air quality and local micro-climate, including removing trace organic pollutants and volatile organic compounds.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficient features include:

  • A 60kw solar power system has been installed which provides 80% onsite energy use.
  • Energy efficient heating and cooling using a high COP heat recovery VRF (variable refrigerant flow) technology.
  • BMS automated passive ventilation system with operable roof and highlight windows assisted by large sweeping fans to help circulate clean fresh air.
  • BMS automated night purging system to release hot stale air over summer contributing to estimated 12% energy consumption saving.
  • BMS automated highly efficient LED dimmable and motion controlled lighting throughout.
  • Northerly solar orientation with interlinked naturally shaded indoor/outdoor spaces
  • Operable windows throughout which automatically shut down the heating and cooling system to provide ventilation and enhance individual user comfort and climate.
  • Maximised use of natural light and natural ventilation assisted with large sweeping fans.
  • Solar shading through the inclusion of thriving vertical living walls to the north and west facades.
  • Thermal bridging has been extensively avoided.
  • Heavily insulated and sealed walls and ceilings achieving high R-values all year round.

Water efficiency

The grey water treatment system harvests grey water from the internal shower and basins within the EIBC building. The grey water is re-directed to the north bio-filter (raingarden) and utilised to irrigate an in-ground living wall on the North elevation. The grey water is fed into a bio-filter and is naturally treated through plants and a series of specialist media layers within the bio-filter. There is a substantial research partnership with Monash University testing the viability of natural bio-filters and WSUD planting in order to treat light grey water.

The project harvests rain water from the new buildings roof in an estimated 40,000 litre capacity of storage tanks. This water is used for internal toilet flushing and for irrigation of the internal green wall and external living wall on the South elevation, and for general site irrigation use.

Other water initiatives include:

  • Landscaping utilises native and drought tolerant plants and natural swales.
  • Permeable parking bays with integrated passive rain gardens.
  • Water efficient fittings and fixtures have been used throughout the building.

Stormwater management

The storm water harvesting system connects into an existing 800mm dia. storm water drain that also collects from 6 hectares of industrial run-off. Raw storm water from this drain is pumped to a 30m2 bio-filter (raingarden) and is naturally treated through both plants and a series of specialist media layers within the bio-filter. The treated water is then gravity fed via a cascade to a 300m2 ornamental storage lake. This retention lake reduces pressure in high flow events and assists with site irrigation needs. The lake also helps create biodiversity, habitat, and recreational space for the wellbeing of neighbouring industrial and residential areas. The overflow of the lake diverts the clean and treated water back to ‘Mile Creek’ adjacent to the site.


Preference was given during the design and research phase of the project to materials which demonstrated environmental and health benefits. Some of these materials and products included various Dulux Paints, Knauf Plasterboard and Blue Sky Thermal Batts Insulation.

Bolon flooring and various office furniture from Living Edge, Space Furniture and Schiavello were selected for long life, recyclability and for cradle to cradle credentials. Timber was also sustainability sourced.

Blinds from Skygroup Blinds from 100% recycled PET bottles were used, and concrete contained 30% recycled fly ash.


The building contains secure bicycle parking, shower and change rooms, and bicycles available for shared use between occupants.

Waste management

The project required responsible recycling practices to be performed by the builder during construction. Recycling and rubbish reporting was an assessment requirement that had to be submitted with each progress claim.

Many materials selected either contained recycled content or were recyclable at the end of their life. Preference was given to these materials during the design and research phase of the project.

During operation, the building has on-site waste and recycling collection points, a worm farm and compost bin to divert food waste from landfill.

Urban ecology

The grey water and rainwater harvesting and treatment systems assist in reducing pollutant loads entering the adjoining creek system and prevent erosion during high flow rain events.

The stormwater harvesting and bio-filtration system also creates a living evergreen west facing façade and gravity feeds a lake system generating biodiversity, habitat, and recreation. Landscaping utilises native and drought tolerant plants and natural swales.


The Integrated Water Cycle Management (IWCM) initiatives are highly innovative as they aim to utilise waste water in new ways. They are also part of a collaborative research project with Monash Council and Monash University which uses the project as a live testing ground for a highly innovative natural grey water recycling system.


Ongoing improvements are being made with regard to occupancy behaviour to further achieve sustainable outcomes. Onsite clients are encouraged to consider the environment in the disposal of waste and in the use of resources.

Green cleaning and maintenance products, practices and materials, including window cleaner and detergents are used throughout the building.

Lessons learnt

One of the significant successes of this project was the great partnership and involvement between council, the architect and the builder. This collaboration enabled a discussion around the future savings made possible by having a lower impact building and the consideration of this when allowing for the capital costs of the ESD features. It also ensured that items were built to specification throughout the process.

Case Study
City of Monash – Eastern Innovation Business Centre (EIBC)

The Eastern Innovation Business Centre (EIBC) was created to act as a small business incubator, particularly focusing on providing incubation and acceleration services to founders of accelerating ventures, future-focussed professional service providers and corporate innovators.


Eastern Innovation Business Centre. Architect: City of Monash. Photography: Cloud 9 Photography

“The EIBC’s sustainable design and operation means affordable places are provided for businesses to thrive, with no energy bills or data costs for users … It is bright, engaging, and comfortable and an impressive place where they can welcome their clients too. In the EIBC, the City of Monash has demonstrated that they are a municipal leader in sustainable commercial development.”

Danielle Storey, CEO Eastern Innovation Business Centre