La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, Australia

Tetra Tech’s High Performance Buildings Group served as the sustainability consultant and provided acoustics, audiovisual, communications, fire protection, security, vertical transportation, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) services.


  • Size: 11,000 square meters (118,400 square feet)
  • Construction Cost: AUD$100 million (USD$67.6 million)
  • Client/Owner: La Trobe University, Novated to Watpac Construction Pty Ltd
  • Architect: Lyons Architects
  • Contractor: Watpac constructions
  • Completion Date: 2013

As sustainability consultant on the project and facilitator between all the design disciplines, Tetra Tech engaged and guided the design team in determining the most appropriate design solution using the Green Star pathway and documentation matrix, to establish a clear design framework from the outset. The Tetra Tech design team adopted an integrated platform for 3D design using REVIT software. This management aspect of our involvement was fundamental to the successful delivery of this project, and the ultimate achievement of a 5 Star Green Star rating.

Several interconnected engineered solutions support the sustainability initiatives throughout the facility. As a result, LIMS consumes approximately 45 percent less energy than a standard education building. Tetra Tech achieved this by reducing the energy requirement of the building, in part by using occupancy-dependent lighting and air-conditioning, by designing a highly efficient energy system, and by maximizing the reuse of energy available onsite. All of these elements add to the sustainability of this facility.

The electrical design provided by Tetra Tech is particularly innovative. Power is derived from the campus cogeneration plant, which utilizes waste heat to generate high-temperature hot water and combined with a natural gas driven central cooling plant that provides the bulk of the building’s heating and cooling needs. Approximately 70 percent of the building cooling capacity is provided by absorption chillers. Water efficient design is also a key aspect, with two 50,000-liter rainwater harvesting tanks employed for water recycling. Wastewater associated with laboratory processes is part of a closed loop, which collects the water in a settling tank for filtering, to avoid any discharge.

Some of the key features of the LIMS building facility for which Tetra Tech provided engineering services include:

  • Equipment Barn accommodating Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) equipment and facilities, Mass Spectrometry (MS) facilities, Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP), Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAS) room, and X-Ray diffractometer facilities
  • Biology and Chemistry Teaching Laboratories, autoclave rooms, centrifuge rooms, -80°C (-112°F) freezer rooms, dark rooms, and a main Auditorium/lecture theatre