Engineering design for an off-grid campus.

Cranbrook School, Wolgan Valley.



SERVICES | Mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, ESD

LOCATION | Wolgan Valley, NSW

Cranbrook School is an independent day and boarding school for boys (Pre-School to Year 12). The new campus development is situated in the secluded location of Wolgan Valley in the Blue Mountains, provides an immersive learning experience for students in a stunning environment.

JHA Consulting Engineers provided multidiscipline building services design for this unique project which involved the design of the off-grid campus in a remote alpine site in the Wolgan Valley. Electricity being the only service available on site this project focussed heavily on integrating environmental sustainability principles into the facilities design.

The project, designed by Andrew Burns Architects, consists of the main building (including reception, kitchen & dining space & social space), teaching spaces, observatory, a camping area for 100 pupils, staff meeting spaces, an outdoor education area, as well as accommodation facilities for pupils and staff.

The availability of potable water was critical to the feasibility of this project so JHA focussed on providing highly efficient fixtures, as well as extensive recycling of on-site black and grey water for toilet flushing, laundry and irrigation. The huge roof area was utilised for the collection of rainwater and a 70m deep bore waterhole was constructed, able to pump water at one litre per second.

As no sewer was available on the site our Hydraulics team designed an aerated system for the treatment of the wastewater, this approach allowed for the recycled water to be re-used for irrigation of the landscaping.

Images used with kind permission by Andrew Burns Architects

The accommodation buildings are each fitted with a wood-fired hydronic heating system to provide both space heating and domestic hot water. The systems empower students to facilitate the heating of their spaces by loading the wood-fired stoves. It also provides an alternative energy source for heating to conventional gas-fired systems.