After more than 18 months, the City of Melton, located on Melbourne’s western fringe 35 kilometres from the CBD, has officially inaugurated its new sustainable Library and Community Hub.

The building, designed by FJMT (Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp) Architects, is Australia’s first Green Star library, earning a 5 Star Green Star – Public Building Design PILOT rating from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA).

“The Melton Library and Community Hub is more than a repository for books. It’s a place for the community to gain insight and inspiration into the benefits of working in or visiting a sustainable building,” said GBCA chief executive Romilly Madew.

“These benefits range from reduced costs to a healthier, more productive place to learn. On a purely practical level, the new library will save almost $30,000 each year on utility costs when compared with other similar sized buildings that aren’t built to Green Star benchmarks.”

Melton City Council Mayor Kathy Majdlik explained that the community has been growing approximately by 42 families per week over the last year and she said that this increase has brought many challenges and opportunities for innovative projects.

“Melton City Council is very proud of the new Melton Library and Learning Hub and its 5 Star Green Star rating,” she said.

Melton Library and Learning Hub Project

Melton Library and Learning Hub Project

“It is a central focus for lifelong learning and community activity and we will educate our residents on the sustainability aspects of the building and encourage them to apply them at home where they can.”

The new building, which is more than four times bigger than the old one, incorporates a large range of spaces spread over two levels, including an 80-seat auditorium, community programming spaces, services and facilities, workshop spaces, ICT classrooms, 11 meeting spaces that can be booked for multiple activities, and a coffee and snack shop.

Though the library is situated close to public transport, it has on-site parking for 50 cars and 30 bicycle racks.

The project also features a children’s area with a specially designed outdoor sensory garden, a renewed and extended magazine area, a chill-out and games area for youngsters and a large family and local history area. In addition, new materials have been added to the library’s collection.

The design places an emphasis on sustainability, achieving an 82 per cent reduction in potable water use compared to a standard building, and a 43.7 per cent reduction in total CO2 emissions. Those measures are expected to result in savings of $29,800 a year.

Melton Library and Learning Hub Project

Melton Library and Learning Hub – Inside

In addition, a whopping 92 per cent of the materials that were part of the old buildings on the site were recycled.

The Melton Library and Learning Hub was built thanks to $4 million in funding coming from the Federal Government’s Regional Development Australia Fund, $1.25 million contributed through the State Government’s Living Libraries Infrastructure and Community Support Funds and $85,000 from Western Water under the Grant for Water Sustainable Urban Design program.

“When building projects are funded by public money, councils must be able to demonstrate the value of their investments and the accountability of taxpayers’ dollars. A Green Star rating gives the people of Melton confidence that their community’s assets will deliver ongoing operational efficiencies and long-term value,” Madew said.